Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of the hormone thyroxine. This can result in a number of symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, and depression. Hypothyroidism is typically treated with medication, and most people with the condition are able to lead normal, healthy lives. However, if left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to more serious problems, such as heart disease and infertility. If you suspect that you may have hypothyroidism, it’s important to see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.

Who is affected by Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is relatively common, affecting about 4% of adults in the United States according to the American Thyroid Association. Women are about 5 to 8 times more likely to develop hypothyroidism than men, and the risk increases with age, with women over 60 years of age being the most commonly affected.

Who is at risk for Hypothyroidism?

Risk factors for hypothyroidism include:

  • Autoimmune disease: Autoimmune diseases are conditions that occur when your immune system attacks your own body. Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism.

  • Certain medications: Certain drugs, such as lithium and interferon, can interfere with the production of thyroid hormone.

  • Radiation therapy to the neck or head: This treatment can damage the thyroid gland and lead to hypothyroidism.

  • Pregnancy: Pregnancy can cause changes in the levels of thyroid hormone in your body. This is usually temporary and goes back to normal after the baby is born. However, some women develop permanent hypothyroidism after delivery.

  • Family History

  • Iodine deficiency

  • Pituitary disorder

  • Autoimmune disease: Autoimmune diseases are conditions that occur when your immune system attacks your own body. Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism.

  • Certain medications: Certain drugs, such as lithium and interferon, can interfere with the production of thyroid hormone.

  • Radiation therapy to the neck or head: This treatment can damage the thyroid gland and lead to hypothyroidism.

  • Pregnancy: Pregnancy can cause changes in the levels of thyroid hormone in your body. This is usually temporary and goes back to normal after the baby is born. However, some women develop permanent hypothyroidism after delivery.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism?

The thyroid gland plays an important role in regulating the body’s metabolism, so a deficiency can lead to a wide range of symptoms. 

Common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Fatigue

  • Weight gain

  • Constipation

  • Dry skin

  • Cold intolerance

  • Joint pain

  • Muscle weakness

  • Irregular menstrual periods

  • Depression

  • Heart disease

  • Fertility issues

  • Hair loss or dryness

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Puffy face

How is Hypothyroidism Diagnosed?

If you suspect that you have hypothyroidism, it’s important to see your doctor for a blood test. The most common way to diagnose hypothyroidism is through a blood test that measures levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH levels are typically high in people with hypothyroidism. Other tests that may be ordered include a free T4 test, which measures levels of the main thyroid hormone in the blood, and a Thyroid antibody test, which can help to identify an autoimmune cause. With proper treatment, most people with hypothyroidism are able to manage their symptoms and live healthy lives.

What Prescription Medications Treat Hypothyroidism?

Thyroid replacement therapy involves taking synthetic thyroid hormones (Levothyroxine/T4, Liothyronine/T3, or a combination of both) daily. In most cases, thyroid replacement therapy is lifelong. However, some people may only need to take medication for a short period of time until their thyroid levels return to normal. speak to your doctor if you think you might benefit from thyroid replacement therapy.

How can I manage my Hypothyroidism with a health lifestyle?

While medication can help to correct the hormone imbalance, there are also lifestyle modifications that can be helpful. For example, regular exercise can help to increase energy levels and promote weight loss. In addition, eating a healthy diet rich in iodine can help to support thyroid function. Finally, avoiding stress can also be beneficial, as stress can worsen symptoms of hypothyroidism. By making these lifestyle changes, people with hypothyroidism can often improve their symptoms and quality of life.

Hypothyroidism

Top Hypothyroidism Medications

Levothyroxine 75mcg tablet
Levothyroxine Sodium
Generic for Synthroid
$9.00*
Liothyronine Sodium Tablets 5 mcg
Liothyronine Sodium
Generic for Cytomel
$25.00*
NP Thyroid 90 mg
$159.00*

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