Overview of an Underactive Thyroid Gland

The condition of having an underactive thyroid gland is caused when the thyroid gland produces less than normal amounts of hormones. This can lead to a multitude of different symptoms that come about gradually and may not be spotted for many years. One cannot prevent an underactive thyroid from developing however treatment is usually successful through the use of hormone tablets. The hormones tablets are taken daily and make up for the lack of hormone thyroxine that the thyroid gland should be producing. Although both genders can be affected by an underactive thyroid gland, it is most common in females.

The thyroid gland

Located in front of the trachea (windpipe), the thyroid gland is a small gland that resembles the shape of a butterfly. It produces hormones that directly affect your body’s ability to regulate metabolism. If the thyroid gland produces low amounts of hormones, body functions slow as they cannot gain the energy they require.

Causes

The vast majority of underactive thyroid glands are caused by damage to the thyroid gland. This can be through the body’s own immune system attacking it, or by treatment for thyroid cancer or an overactive thyroid gland damaging it by accident. Iodine deficiency in a person’s diet can be a cause of an underactive thyroid in parts of the world, but this is rare in the United States. If you require U.S drugs for treatment of an underactive thyroid gland, consider using an international pharmacy.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland are:

  • Tiredness
  • Weight gain
  • Feelings of depression

Other symptoms include

  • Muscles aches and cramps
  • Constipation
  • Irregular or heavy periods
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Dry skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Children who have an underactive thyroid gland can have slower development and growth than normal.
  • Teenagers typically experience puberty earlier when suffering with an underactive thyroid.
  • An underactive thyroid gland in an elderly person may cause memory problems.

Diagnosis

Underactive thyroid glands are diagnosed through a blood sample where your hormone levels are measured. This is called a thyroid function test.

Treatment

Daily hormone tablets should be taken to cope with an underactive thyroid. In most cases this enables the patient to live a full and fulfilling life. The hormone tablets are called levothyroxine and contain the proper levels of thyroxine that your thyroid gland should be producing.

Left untreated

An underactive thyroid gland when left untreated can have serious implications for the patient. Women can have issues in pregnancy and both males and females can find themselves getting heart disease, goitre, or even myxoedema coma. If you think you are showing symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland, you should seek help from a medical professional.

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