In our last blog post, entitled ‘What is a Thyroid, and What Does it Do?‘ we covered the basic functions of the thyroid, as a gland that produces thyroid hormones which regulate metabolism and other bodily functions.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, which occurs when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone.
Hypothyroidism — not to be confused with hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid — can be caused by a variety of conditions, from inflammation of the thyroid gland, to too little iodine in the diet, to medications, radiation treatment, thyroid surgery, or a host of other factors.
When the thyroid isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone, known as thyroxine or T4, your metabolism slows down and your body reacts in a number of different ways.
Symptoms of HYPOTHYROIDISM can include any or all of the following:
- Fatigue, loss of energy
- Increased need for sleep
- Slowed heart rate
- Low body temperature, increased sensitivity to cold
- Weight gain, difficulty losing weight
- Constipation or hard stools
- Abnormal menstrual cycles
- Diminished libido (sex drive)
- Slowing or slurring of speech, hoarseness
- Puffiness/swelling in face, hands, or feet
- Sadness, depression, irritability
- Memory loss or fuzzy thinking
- Dry, rough skin and brittle nails
- Persistent cold sores, boils, or breakouts
- Bruising/clotting problems
- Dry hair, hair loss, itchy scalp
- Muscle weakness, muscle aches, headaches
- Pain, stiffness or swelling in joints
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Allergies that appear or get worse
- Elevated levels of bad cholesterol
If you’re experiencing a combination of these symptoms, you may be suffering from hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid.
Left untreated, hypothyroidism can have long-term consequences for your health. But the good news is that hypothyroidism can often be treated fairly easily.
The endocrinologists at Palm Beach Diabetes & Endocrine Specialists, PA (PBDES) specialize in treating all types of thyroid disorders. Our physicians are board-certified in endocrinology and metabolism, and have extensive clinical practice, research and teaching experience. Contact one of our four southeast Florida offices today — in West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Jupiter or Wellington.