Hypoactive thyroidism is an event that occurs when the thyroid gland does not respond to the pituitary gland. When this occurs, it is referred to as hypothyroidism and means insufficient hormones are being produced in response to the stimulating hormones of the pituitary gland. Unfortunately, this disease requires lifelong treatment in order to replace the hormones that are not being produced.
The hormones secreted by the thyroid are:
Thyroxine (T4), which contains four atoms of iodine. Triiodothyronine (T3) has three atoms of iodine attached.
The livers job is to transform thyroxine to its active form called Triiodothyronine. The variation of these levels determines which thyroid disease is present. Both of these hormones work together to determine how much energy your body burns. A fluctuation of these hormones can affect both men and women in the areas of sleep, weight, menstrual changes and erectile dysfunction.
Another hormone involved in this process is thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), manufactured by the pituitary gland. When thyroid hormone levels in the blood are low, the pituitary gland releases TSH, which stimulates the thyroid to produce and secrete more hormones.
There are some symptoms of hypothyroidism that can often be overlooked or mimic other conditions. These are commonly referred to as Subclinical hypothyroidism and include:
Fatigue Intolerance to cold Dry and/or pale skin Hair loss and brittle nails sore muscles, slow movements and weakness Hoarse voice a change in facial expression Depression Memory deficits and difficulty in concentrating Increased weight Constipation fertility problems and increased risk of miscarriage heavy, irregular or prolonged menstrual periods Bradycardia (slow heart rate)
The term Goiter refers to a swelling of one or both lobes on either side of the thyroid gland located on the lower part of the neck.
Hypothyroidism is more common in older people. Women are more likely to be affected than men. Autoimmune conditions such as diabetes, vitiligo, and Addison’s disease. Certain medications, such as lithium carbonate (psychotropic med) and amiodarone (for the heart) Inefficient amount of iodine Autoimmune Hashimoto’s thyroiditis Problems with hypothalamus or pituitary gland.
Hypothyroidism is diagnosed by testing the blood TSH levels and thyroid hormone levels in the blood. A diagnosis of autoimmune hypothyroidism is usually determined by the presence of certain antibodies in the blood, which show as a problem with autoimmunity.
Treatment for Hypothyroidism involves replacing the thyroid hormones that are absent. This is easily accomplished by taking oral levothyroxine. The dosage will need to be adjusted by your physician to get the correct dosage for you. Regular blood testing will be required to check hormone levels. Medication will then be adjusted accordingly. Medication and treatment for underactive hypothyroid will continue for the rest of the patient’s life. Once the correct dose of thyroxine replacement has been determined, yearly blood tests will be needed to ensure appropriate hormone levels are maintained.
Fetal thyroid development occurs after the 12th week of pregnancy. Until then the fetus depends on the mother’s thyroid hormone levels for nervous system development. The mother can feel safe in taking her thyroid supplements. She needs it for her health, as well as for the health of the developing fetus.
Anyone who is planning on having a baby and is diagnosed with hypoactive thyroid should let their doctor know of their future plans. This will allow for her health to be at optimum performance.
Barb Hicks is a licensed registered nurse who is passionate about writing and sharing her knowledge. She has an online classroom at Clivir.com where she contributes more articles about Thyroid Disease Medication and Hypoactive Thyroid Symptoms.