Your bodies depend on some crucial hormones, which help with functions like burning calories, controlling the heartbeat, etc. An underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism, common among women, means that their body doesn’t produce sufficient amounts of those important hormones. Two of your body’s vital functions, including the heart rate and the body temperature, depend largely on these two hormones.
The thyroid is a small butterfly-like gland that sits at the base in the front of your neck. It produces important hormones, thyroxine, and triiodothyronine, which play a major role in your health and metabolism.
Hence, it is important to opt for thyroid function tests and seek effective treatments in time to protect and enhance your health.
Early Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
The hormone deficiency and its severity determine what symptoms one may experience in hypothyroidism. The problems set in gradually, spanning across years often for some women. Due to this, it is easy to overlook subtle health changes, such as weight gain or fatigue.
Some may pass certain signs as merely the signs of age, but it may be the thyroid acting up in truth.
The common symptoms include:
- Enlarged goiter
- Impaired memory
- Decreased heart rate
- Hair thinning
- Irregular or heavier than a usual menstrual cycle
- Swelling, stiffness, or pain in your joints
- Excessive levels of blood cholesterol
- Muscle weakness
- Puffy face
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Increased cold sensitivity
Why Women are at Higher Risk
Hyperthyroid is a more common disease among women, although others can have it too. In this condition, the thyroid gland, out of overactivity, produces more thyroid hormone, thus rendering the woman hyperthyroid.
The most common cause of these in women is an autoimmune condition we refer to as ‘Graves’ Disease.’ In this, the antibodies accelerate hormone production by targeting glands. Perhaps an abnormal response from the autoimmune system triggers this problem. You will find it most common among women over twenty years.
Some factors that increase this risk in women include:
- Recent childbirth or pregnancy
- Physical or emotional stress
- Autoimmune disorders
- Age-generally women below forty develop this
- Gender biases of this condition-it develop in women more than men
- Family history.
How is it Treated
For hypothyroidism, the standard treatment includes using the synthetic hormone levothyroxine for the thyroid daily. These include Synthroid, Levo-t, and others. With the oral medication, you will reach adequate hormone levels and reverse the symptoms and progression of hypothyroidism.
Once proper treatment begins, patients begin to feel better soon after. Their bodies feel lighter as the medicines continue lowering the excessive cholesterol levels resulting from the disease while reversing weight gain.
If you’re taking levothyroxine as treatment, you will most likely have to continue it for life. The doctor may only need to check your TSH levels each year to change the dosages.