MBBS & Post Graduate Course in Diabetology, Fellow of Academy of General Education (FAGE), CCEBDM, Certificate course in management of Thyroid disorders-CCMTD, RSSDI life member
You correctly answered out of 5 questions
What are the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism?
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Thyroid hormone controls metabolism and in people with less amount of this hormone, symptoms pertain to overall reduced metabolism. This leads to reduced metabolism leading to weight gain or difficulty to lose weight, intolerance to cold, etc. There is also a generalised feeling of tiredness and weakness. In women, more than 40 years of age, unexplained weight gain should lead to suspicion of hypothyroidism.
What are the risk factors for hypothyroidism?
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Hypothyroidism affects females more than males, about 90% hypothyroid patients are women. Add to this other factors like a geography that has less of iodine and women over the age of 40 and with a strong family history. Though the symptoms are not strongly indicative, these factors surely point to a diagnosis of hypothyroidism.
What are some of the indications to alert that you could be suffering from hypothyroid
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As there are no specific symptoms that indicate hypothyroidism, the above should be watched for by any individual, if they have a family history of hypothyroidism or in an area where there is a prevalence of hypothyroidism. It affects all metabolic processes and so all body symptoms react in different ways when there is less of the hormone. Sudden change towards cold intolerance is very strongly indicative of hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is always due to iodine deficiency
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Though the thyroid hormone requires iodine for production, there could be non-iodine related thyroid deficiency. This is most commonly due to Hashimoto s disease, which is an autoimmune disease. There are antibodies produced against the thyroid hormone, leading to less production of the hormone. There could be other causes like exposure to toxins, but these two cause the majority of hypothyroidism in the normal population. After 40 years of age, women should get their thyroid levels checked as part of the annual screening.
People with hypothyroidism requires medication on a chronic, long-term basis.
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The current efficient way to handle hypothyroidism is to take a supplement chronically. This ensures the metabolism is restored, and surprisingly, almost all symptoms disappear, including mood changes and menstrual changes. The daily required dosage is very less, and depends on if there is any hormone still produced by the thyroid. The dosage will need to be revisited based on serum hormone levels. To ensure you are receiving the right dose of the hormone, get the serum hormone levels checked periodically.