What is the thyroid?
The thyroid is a gland in the neck that releases hormones that regulate our metabolism. Growth and energy levels are important parts of our metabolism that are controlled by thyroid hormones.
The main hormones made in the thyroid are thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3).
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is where the thyroid gland does not work effectively enough and does not release enough hormones. As these hormones are not released in to the blood stream metabolism slows down.
Hypothyroidism is more common in women than men. Around 5-10% of women suffer with hypothyroidism which is the most type of thyroid condition.
A blood test is used to determine if someone has hypothyroidism. An ultrasound or scan may also be used.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism
As hypothyroidism leads to a slowing down of metabolism symptoms are reflective of this.
- Weight gain
- Feeling cold
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Swollen neck due to enlarged thyroid gland
Causes of hypothyroidism
- Iodine deficiency – iodine is required to make T4 and T3
- Medicines – lithium and amiodarone can interfere with the making of T4 and T3
- Pituitary gland disorder
- Hypothalamus disorder
- Hashimoto’s disease
Treatment of hypothyroidism
Thyroxine tablets may be prescribed by your Doctor if it is determined that you can not make enough of this yourself due to one of the disorders mentioned above. This treatment is usually needed for the rest of your life and is monitored through blood tests and improvement in symptoms to determine the dose needed.
If it is determined that there is an iodine deficiency supplementation may be used.