It is known as hypothyroidism when the thyroid does not produce and release enough thyroid hormone into your bloodstream. The result of low thyroid levels is a slower metabolism. Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, can make you feel exhausted, put on weight, and have trouble handling cold weather.
What causes low thyroid levels or hypothyroidism? Keep reading to find out.
What is Hypothyroidism or Low Thyroid Levels?
When you have hypothyroidism, your metabolism slows down because your bloodstream doesn’t have enough thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism, also referred to as underactive thyroid disease, is very typical.
Myxedema is the medical term for abnormally low thyroid levels. Myxedema is a hazardous illness that can result in significant symptoms like:
The body’s low temperature.
- Heart failure
Myxedema is a severe type of hypothyroidism. It is life-threatening.
Hypothyroidism is generally a highly curable disorder. You can manage it with consistent drug use and follow-up visits to your doctor.
What Causes Low Thyroid Levels?
Hypothyroidism might have a primary or secondary cause.
Primary Causes of Hypothyroidism
A disorder that directly affects the thyroid and makes it produce insufficient amounts of thyroid hormones is considered a primary cause. Primary causes of hypothyroidism are far more prevalent. The following are some of the other leading causes of hypothyroidism:
- Thyroiditis (thyroid inflammation)
- Hyperthyroidism treatment (radiation and surgical removal of the thyroid)
- Iodine insufficiency refers to a lack of iodine in the body, which your thyroid needs to produce hormones.
- Hereditary disorders (a medical condition passed down through your family)
- Thyroiditis occasionally develops during pregnancy (postpartum thyroiditis) or due to a viral disease
The most typical of these root causes is Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder. This inherited illness is also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (passed down through a family).
The thyroid is attacked and harmed by the body’s immune system in Hashimoto’s disease. As a result, the thyroid cannot produce and release adequate thyroid hormone.
Hashimoto’s Disease in Pregnancy
Women who experience hypothyroidism while pregnant typically have Hashimoto’s disease. The thyroid is attacked by this autoimmune illness, which causes thyroid destruction. When that occurs, the thyroid cannot create and release sufficient thyroid hormones, affecting the entire body.
Hypothyroid pregnant women may feel exhausted, struggle to handle chilly temperatures, and get cramping. The growth of your unborn child in the womb depends on thyroid hormones. These hormones aid in the brain and nervous system’s development.
It’s critical to manage your thyroid levels throughout pregnancy if you have hypothyroidism. The brain may not grow properly in your baby if they don’t get enough thyroid hormone during development; this could lead to problems later. Hypothyroidism during pregnancy can cause issues including miscarriage or preterm labor if untreated or not adequately addressed.
Secondary causes usually cause the pituitary gland to fail, which prevents it from sending stimulating thyroid hormone (TSH) to the thyroid to regulate thyroid hormones.
Pituitary or hypothalamic abnormalities are the leading causes of secondary (or central) hypothyroidism. TSH levels can, however, also be normal or even a little increased. Because of this, TSH is frequently an unreliable indicator of secondary hypothyroidism and shouldn’t be used to gauge how well these patients’ thyroid replacements are working.
What are the Symptoms of Low Thyroid Levels?
Hypothyroidism symptoms typically appear over a long period, sometimes years. They may include:
- Numb or tingling hands
- Weight gain
- Pains and aches all over the body
- Muscle weakness
- High blood cholesterol levels
- Intolerance of cold surroundings
- Coarse and dry skin and hair
- Noticeable decline in sexual interest
- Unusually heavy and frequent menstrual cycles
- Physical alterations in your face (including drooping eyelids, as well as puffiness in the eyes and face)
- Hoarser and lower voice
- Unusual forgetfulness (brain fog)
How is Hypothyroidism Diagnosed?
Hypothyroidism can be challenging to identify since its symptoms are similar to other diseases. If you experience any hypothyroidism symptoms, consult your healthcare professional.
The stimulating thyroid hormone (TSH) test is the primary blood test to identify hypothyroidism. Your doctor may also ask for blood tests to rule out conditions like Hashimoto’s disease. During a physical examination at your consultation, your doctor might be able to feel the thyroid if it is enlarged.
What Happens if Low Thyroid Levels are Not Treated?
Hypothyroidism can develop into a serious and life-threatening medical disease if you do not receive treatment from a healthcare professional. Your symptoms could worsen if you receive no treatment and could include:
- Developing mental health issues
- Difficulty breathing
- Inability to keep a healthy body temperature
- Cardiac issues
- Acquiring a goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland)
Myxedema coma, a dangerous medical condition, is another possibility. When hypothyroidism is not treated, this may occur.
How to Treat Low Thyroid Levels?
The most common procedure for treating hypothyroidism is replenishing the hormone your thyroid is no longer producing. Typically, a drug is used for this. Levothyroxine is one drug that is frequently utilized. By increasing the amount of thyroid hormone your body has when taken orally, this drug balances your levels.
The condition of hypothyroidism is treatable. To balance your body’s hormone levels, however, you must take medication regularly for the rest of your life. You can live a healthy life with careful management and follow-up meetings with your healthcare practitioner to ensure that your therapy is effective.
Is Hypothyroidism Preventable?
There is no way to prevent hypothyroidism. Watching for hypothyroidism symptoms is the best approach to avoid obtaining an extreme version of the ailment or having the symptoms seriously affect your life. The best course of action if you notice any hypothyroidism symptoms is to speak with your healthcare physician.
Concerned About Low Thyroid Levels? Call Health and Wellness Medical Services
You can detect and treat low thyroid levels with the aid of Health and Wellness Medical Services to keep yourself healthy. To learn more, call the office at 434-933-3318 or visit their website. Our addresses are 1171 North Main Street in Madison, VA 22727, and 1560 Insurance Lane in Charlottesville, VA 22911.