Low Thypoid Hormones(Hypothyroidism)-How it affects | Dr Chen Tai Ho | Malaysia

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Low Thyroid Hormones (Hypothyroidism) – How It Affects You

by | Dec 26, 2014

Hi everyone, I hope you’ve all had a relaxing and fulfilling Christmas holiday with your family and friends. Today, I would like to bring some awareness to the topic of hypothyroidism, also referred to as low thyroid hormones. Let’s take a look.
What is it?
Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormones for your body. Your thyroid is a gland located in your neck that produces hormones controlling your body’s usage of energy. Naturally, if it there are a lack of thyroid hormones in your body, you will begin to feel lethargic and weak.
Your thyroid is responsible for producing hormones needed to manage your energy levels (pic from jillianmichaels.org)
This can cause several issues, and if treatment is not sought out, it can even raise the levels of cholesterol in your body. For pregnant women, the potential damage is much worse as the lack of hormone may cause harm to your unborn child! Signs that you may be suffering from hypothyroidism include the inability to withstand the cold, dry skin, struggling to think clearly, problems with memory, nails that break easily, constipation, or irregular menstrual cycles.
Constant tiredness or lethargy is a common symptom of hypothyroidism (pic from lastvitamin.com)
What is the Cause?
Both children and adults can develop this problem, although it is more likely for older adults. Women above the age of 60 are the most susceptible, and there is a higher possibility of suffering from hypothyroidism if your family has a history of it.
Older women are at a higher risk of developing hypothyroidism (pic from puregoodness.net
A common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a condition which subverts the body’s natural immune system. This unfortunately leads to antibodies being produced which target and eventually destroy the thyroid tissue over time. As a result, there is a lack of thyroid hormones that are produced, causing more health problems for the individual. Other causes that may lead to this include thyroid surgery which removes part or all of the thyroid gland, radioactive iodine therapy which is usually used to treat hyperthyroidism (the production of too much thyroid hormone), or radiation which can treat various cancers, e.g. Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Other causes include infections from viruses, select medicines, and excessive iodine in your diet. In very rare cases, a malfunctioning pituitary gland or hypothalamus results in less hormones that control the thyroid being produced, or congenital hypothyroidism – babies born without a working thyroid gland.
What Happens?
Hypothyroidism in children is generally rare but if untreated, it can damage the brain which leads to slowed development and even intellectual disabilities (for infants under the age of 3). For older children, it generally slows down physical growth and puberty.
Adults are more likely to suffer from hypothyroidism, and in many cases, the symptoms develop gradually and may even be completely unnoticeable for years. If it continues to go undetected, it may lead to myxedema. This results in an increased level of fluid surrounding the lungs and heart, and also slows down your thought process and muscle reflexes.
Hypothyroidism can slow down your muscle reflexes (pic from remycarreiro.com)
A more serious condition is myxedema coma, which is rare but can develop if hypothyroidism goes unnoticed for several years, gradually worsening over time. You may lose consciousness on occasion, suffer from hypothermia, or even develop breathing and heart complications.
In less severe cases, you may experience increasing bouts of forgetfulness (dementia) or higher levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, which can heighten the risk of heart diseases or strokes. Sleep apnea is also a possibility, which causes a temporary lapse in breathing for approximately 10 seconds or longer in your sleep.
Forgetfulness is one of the symptoms to look out for (pic from minddisorders.com)
Hypothyroidism is not a condition to be taken lightly and you should ensure your well-being by getting tested if there is any suspicion of this condition, or the symptoms showing up.

In my next blog post, I will outline and explain the idea of bioidentical hormones, which can be used to treat and address the problem of low thyroid hormones.


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