What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid disease or low thyroid, is a disorder of the endocrine system in which the thyroid gland does not make enough of thyroid hormone. Both women and men can be affected.

The thyroid gland is located in the front lower part of the neck. The thyroid gland creates a number of hormones. The 2 main ones are T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). They control the way the human body uses energy. The hormones travel through bloodstream and affect nearly every part of the body, including the heart, brain, muscles, and skin.

This is why hypothyroidism usually affects the entire body and has symptoms that develop over time and make the condition hard to notice. It can make a person feel tired and weak. Other symptoms include feeling depressed, having memory problems, not thinking clearly, having dry skin and brittle nails. A lot of people with hypothyroidism think that they are just getting older or get tired naturally.

A person of any age and gender can be diagnosed with hypothyroidism. However, women 60 and older have the highest risk when it comes to this decease.

Hypothyroidism can’t be cured, but it can be treated with a synthetic thyroid hormone called levothyroxine. It is taken orally to restore normal hormone levels, reversing the symptoms of hypothyroidism. It also gradually lowers cholesterol levels that have occurred because of hypothyroidism. The treatment is usually life long, but needed dosage may change. This is why it is common for Hypothyroidism patients to have to check their thyroid gland hormone level every year. The level of thyroid hormone in your body is checked by having a simple blood test. 

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