What is hypothyroidism.

The function of the thyroid gland is to produce hormones that regulate the body's metabolism. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone, and therefore, it affects the way the body uses energy, and negatively impacts other systems in the body.

 

In some people, thyroid gland becomes overactive, and produces too much of the hormone. As the result, the metabolism speeds up, also negatively affecting normal organ functioning. This condition is called hyperthyroidism.

Who is affected.

Hypothyroidism is a lot more common than hyperthyroidism, occurring 10 times more often. Both conditions have a strong genetic link. If someone in your family had thyroid problems, your chances of having thyroid disease are increased. In addition, women are about six times more likely to suffer from hypothyroidism then men.

Thyroid disease becomes more prevalent with age, with most patients diagnosed after the age of 40; however, younger patients are not uncommon as well. It has been estimated that as may as 13 million Americans may have thyroid disease, but they are not aware of it. Another study has estimated over 15% of women over the age of 65 suffer from hypothyroid.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor memory
  • Muscular aches and cramps
  • Heaver menstrual flow
  • Brittle fingernails
  • Slower reflexes
  • Sluggishness, sleepiness
  • Depression
  • Cold intolerance
  • Weight gain
  • Enlarged thyroid gland

Treatment

Most commonly, hypothyroid is treated with a daily supplement of the lacking hormone(s). Periodic doctor visits are required to monitor the dosage.