Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. It is the most common thyroid disorder.
What is the Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the middle of the neck, The thyroid produce the thyroxin hormone (T4), which regulate how the body uses and stores energy (also known as the body's metabolism).
Causes of Hypothyroidism
In approximately 95 percent of cases, hypothyroidism is due to a problem in the thyroid gland itself and is called primary hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
The symptoms of hypothyroidism vary widely; some people have no symptoms and identified on screening tests for potential hypothyroidism. The symptoms of hypothyroidism are generally nonspecific.
- Fatigue, sluggishness, slight weight gain, and cold intolerance.
- The skin may become dry and thick. The hair may become coarse or thin.
- Hypothyroidism can lead to mild swelling around the eyes.
- Hypothyroidism slows the heart rate and Symptoms can include fatigue, shortness of breath with exercise, and decreased ability to exercise.
- Hypothyroidism slows the actions of the digestive tract, causing constipation.
- In women, menstrual cycle irregularities, infertility and increased risk for miscarriage during early pregnancy.
Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism
The most common blood test for hypothyroidism is thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH is the most sensitive test. Thyroxine (T4), may also be measured to confirm and assess the degree of hypothyroidism.
Treatment for Hypothyroidism
The treatment for hypothyroidism is thyroid hormone replacement therapy. This is usually given as an oral form of T4 (levothyroxine). T4 should be taken once per day on an empty stomach (ideally one hour before eating. (
Duration and dose
an initial dose of T4 and then retest the blood level of TSH after six weeks. Most people with hypothyroidism require lifelong treatment, although the dose of T4 may need to be adjusted over time.
Women often need higher doses of T4 during pregnancy. Testing is usually recommended every four weeks, beginning after conception, until levels are stable, then once each trimester. After delivery, the woman's dose of T4 will need to be adjusted again, usually returning to the pre-pregnancy dose.
Dr.Tamer Saber – Endocrinology Consultant