A hypothyroid is a person suffering from a common thyroid problem called hypothyroidism. Also called underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism is a disorder that is characterized by abnormal level of thyroid hormones in the body, which is too low. In effect, the gland’s functioning becomes slows and eventually it affects other body functions like one’s metabolism. Moreover, hypothyroid patients are more likely to gain weight due to the decrease in the metabolic rate. However, this gained weight may be lost when the thyroid gland goes back to normal.
Thyroid in Control
When a person is under hyperthyroidism, the metabolic rate is decreased. With this, hyperthyroid individuals are associated with weight gain. The weight gain is said to be relative to the severity of one’s condition. Unlike normal cases, the cause of this sudden weight gain is said to be complex and is does not have any connection to excessive fat accumulation; rather it can be traced to excessive accumulation of water and salt. However, it should be noted that if weight gain is the only symptom observed, then there could be a possibility that it is not caused by the thyroid alone but with other factors as well.
As to hypothyroid and weight loss, it should be understood that according to studies, thyroid hormones are used as weight loss agent in the past. This works by having an excessive thyroid hormone treatment resulting to cause weight loss. However, research also shows that once these hormones will be used up, the weight loss will be regained and is can result to loss of muscle proteins. Consequently, it may lead to other metabolic problems in the future.
Interesting Questions about Thyroid:
The basic goal of treatment is to return thyroid hormone levels to normal.
Hyperthyroidism makes the body work too fast because there is too much thyroid hormone in the blood. Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Graves’ disease occurs because of a problem in the body’s immune system: antibodies are produced that overstimulate the thyroid gland.
Patients who are hyperthyroid from taking too much thyroid hormone need only to have their dosage properly adjusted.
Patients whose hyperthyroidism is caused by transient thyroiditis usually do not require any of the treatments described below, since their condition gets better on its own.
Treatment for hyperthyroidism from Graves’ disease, toxic autonomously functioning thyroid nodule, or toxic multi-nodular goiter may include one or more of the following:
Radioactive iodine (I131)
Radioactive iodine shrinks an enlarged thyroid or toxic nodule or nodules that are making too much thyroid hormone. This treatment is safe and is widely used in adults with hyperthyroidism.
* Radioactive iodine (I131) is the treatment of choice for the majority of the endocrinologists in this country. It is an effective, simple, safe way to treat patients with Graves’ disease or other forms of hyperthyroidism. Patients often have fears and misconceptions about using radioactive iodine.
* Studies have been done since the 1940’s on patients receiving this treatment. Treated patients, their children, and their grandchildren do not have an increased incidence of cancer, leukemia, etc.
* There are no increased instances of birth defects in children born to mothers who have had this treatment and waited the recommended time before becoming pregnant. (Pregnancy should be avoided for at least six months after the treatment.) As a matter of fact, fertility is often restored to women whose infertility is due to hyperthyroidism. Treating the disease also lessens the chance of miscarriage.
* Pregnant women should not be given radioactive iodine for any reason. If a patient has any doubt as to whether she is pregnant, treatment (and testing) with radioactive iodine should be delayed.
* Hospitalization is not required in order to treat hyperthyroidism with radioactive iodine.
* Radioactive iodine treatment ablates the thyroid gland (turns it into something like a dried-up raisin). Patients wishing to avoid destruction of the gland should know that the thyroid gland frequently “burns out” within 15 years even without treatment.
* Radioactive iodine does not cause a person to gain weight. However, because Graves’ disease increases the metabolism, patients should keep in mind that they cannot continue to eat the way they did while hyperthyroid. Because of changes in the metabolism after hyperthyroidism is treated, many patients will gain weight . This weight can be lost through diet and exercise once the thyroid levels are normalized.
Antithyroid drugs, such as propylthiouracil (PTU) and methimazole (Tapozole®), are used in patients with Graves’ disease and, less commonly, in other hyperthyroid patients
In some cases beta-blocking drugs are prescribed to treat the symptoms of hyperthyroidism while waiting for one of the above treatments to work.
Your doctor will be able to discuss the benefits and risks of each treatment.
Many patients treated for hyperthyroidism become hypothyroid. They will need to take thyroid hormone pills for the rest of their lives. In addition, they will need to see their doctor at least once a year.
® Tapozole is a registered trademark of Jones Medical Industries.
Signs and symptoms of Hyperthyroidism may include:
- fast heart rate (100-120 beats per minute or higher)
- slightly elevated blood pressure
- nervousness or irritability
- increased perspiration
- muscle weakness (especially in the shoulders, hips, and thighs)
- trembling hands
- weight loss, in spite of a good appetite
- hair loss
- fingernails partially separated from finger-tips (onycholysis)
- swollen fingertips (achropachy or clubbing)
- retracted (pulled back) upper eyelids
- skin changes
- increased frequency of bowel movements
- goiter (an abnormal swelling in the neck caused by an enlarged thyroid gland)
- in women, decreased menstrual flow and less frequent menstrual flow
- in men, slight swelling of the breasts
- in Graves’ disease: thick or swollen skin over the shin bones (pretibial myxedema); eyes that seem to be popping out of their socket (exophthalmos).
Most of these conditions will return to normal after the hyperthyroidism is treated. Certain others may be treated separately.
Called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, it is by far the most common form. It begins so slowly that most people don’t know anything is wrong. Over time, the disease destroys thyroid tissue until permanent hypothyroidism results. Some patients with Hashimoto’s have normal thyroid functions (euthyroidism) with a goiter.
It’s a less common form, with far fewer cases than in chronic thyroiditis. Often caused by a viral infection, the disease lasts for several months. Subacute thyroiditis is painful, causing a tender, swollen thyroid gland with pain throughout the neck. The pain usually responds to treatment with aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs. At first, gland destruction causes the release of stored thyroid hormones, inducing temporary hyperthyroidism. A month or two later, the patient may become hypothyroid, because the thyroid has been damaged and its hormone reserves used up. Most patients return to normal within six to nine months, but the hypothyroidism could be permanent.
It causes a painless swelling of the thyroid gland. When this disease occurs after pregnancy, it is called postpartum thyroiditis. The course of painless thyroiditis is otherwise similiar to painful subacute thyroiditis.
A rare disease, is caused by an acute infection. Patients with the disease become very sick and have a high fever. The neck is red, hot, and very tender. Acute thyroiditis is a medical emergency and must be treated with antibiotics and surgery.
Have more questions? Need more answers? Check our Full Thyroid FAQ
Hypothyroid and Pregnancy
According to ehealthmd.com, hypothyroidism may develop before or after pregnancy. In addition, it may also affect a woman’s capability to become pregnant. Hypothyroid pregnant women can become infertile as this condition prevents the production of eggs. Also, they are more likely to develop a high risk of miscarriage. In other cases, pregnant women may have high blood pressure and premature delivery causing the unborn baby to have under developed intellectual ability.
With this, pregnant women should take proper medication to prevent hypothyroidism as thyroid medication is safe to take even in pregnancy stage. This way, unwanted problems for the unborn child will be prevented.
Thyroid FAQ & Links to Related Articles
|There are four parathyroid glands that are normally having the size of a single rice grain. In some normal cases, they can be as big as the size of a pea.|
|Also called underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism is a disorder that is characterized by abnormal level of thyroid hormones in the body, which is too low.|
|The thyroid is a butterfly (pear)-shaped gland, it consists of 2 symmetrical lobes joined by a central isthmus that normally covers the 2nd & 3rd tracheal rings.|
|Congenital hypothyroidism is a thyroid gland disorder that may lead to deafness or mental retardation if left undetected.|
|Hypothyroidism can cause depression. Most people don?t realize that this feeling is depression caused by the thyroid gland not functioning as it should.|
|Papillary thyroid cancer is one of the thyroid cancer types. This type of thyroid cancer arises from the follicles in the thyroid gland.|
|The thyroid gland is located immediately below the larynx on each side of and anterior to the trachea. It is one of the largest of the endocrine glands|
|These thyroid hormones are responsible in regulating the body?s metabolism, which is how much food will be broken down into useful energy for consumption.|
|When the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, one may suffer from hyperthyroidism.|
|The thyroid stimulating hormone is produced by the pituitary gland. The thyroid stimulating hormone promotes the growth of the thyroid gland.|
|Thyroid hormones are chemical substances produced by the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck.|
|Natural thyroid supplements are helpful as a remedy to thyroid disorders. Its natural ingredients assure one of its safeties in taking it.|
|The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland that is the primary responsible in regulating the body?s metabolism.|
|Thyroid surgery is used to treat people with thyroid problems such as thyroid cancer, thyroid nodules and hyperthyroidism.|
|Thyroid tests or thyroid function tests are done to check the thyroid function in one?s body. A doctor will be able to determine and diagnose the thyroid disorder.|
|Treatment for thyroid disorders should be done to prevent unwanted results caused by the severity of the condition. Consult a physician for more of these treatments.|
|Thyroidectomy is a surgical process wherein the whole or a part of the thyroid gland is removed. This surgical process is used to treat thyroid disorders.|
|Having an underactive thyroid is a minor problem but it seeks proper attention to avoid further health problems. Consult a physician about any thyroid problem.|
|Low thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, is a condition where the thyroid gland is under active.|
|Following a healthy meal plan, exercise and proper medication goes hand in hand to treat hypothyroidism. Consult a physician for a more individualized plan.|
|Each thyroid cancer treatment depends on the type of thyroid cancer and the extent or stage of the thyroid cancer one is suffering from.|
|Parathyroid hormones are considered to be the most important endocrine regulator. It basically regulates the calcium and phosphorus concentration in the body.|
|Studies show that since 1925, the standard treatment for parathyroid disease is to surgically remove the parathyroid gland(s) which are overproducing parathyroid hormones.|
|Parathyroid adenoma is a small tumor of the parathyroid gland and is known to be the most common disorder of the gland.|
|Medullary thyroid cancer is one of the types of thyroid cancer. This type of thyroid cancer is more common in women than in men.|
|Most people don?t feel any symptoms. Others can just lose weight and just feel depressed for no reason at all.|
|Suppose you go in for a routine checkup and your doctor decides to test your thyroid function. You?ve experienced no thyroid disease symptoms|
|Hypothyroidism develops for over a long period of time. It?s normally from several months to even several years.|
|People who are suffering from hypothyroidism are advised to get plenty of exercise and have a balanced and healthy diet. The diet must be rich in protein and iodine.|
|Self medicating one?s thyroid disorder with hypothyroidism diet pills without proper information of the diet pill does not address the problem.|
|Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid gland is overactive and produces too much thyroid hormones more than the body needs.|
|Hypothyroidism is one of the chronic diseases in the world. Hypothyroidism is also known as underactive thyroid; hypo means under or below normal.|
|Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a type of thyroid cancer that is rare and aggressive. It affects the thyroid gland and most especially its function.|
|Problems arise if the thyroid gland is overactive or underactive. There are three common thyroid disorders. These are hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and the thyroid nodules.|
Thyroid Hair Loss
|Hair loss may happen for so many reasons but it is commonly associated to thyroid problems such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.|
|Thyroid Function Tests are the different tests conducted to assess and determine the cause of an individual?s thyroid problems.|