The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck. It serves a number of functions among which producing thyroid hormones is one. Thyroid hormones regulate many things in the body including metabolism, so an imbalance can affect many aspects of life. Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is a condition that occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough of certain thyroid hormones.
WHO IS AT RISK FOR HYPOTHYROIDISM?
Women, especially those over the age of 60, are at an increased risk of developing hypothyroidism. Those who have a family history of hypothyroidism, have an autoimmune disease, have received radiation therapy in the neck or radioactive iodine, have had thyroid surgery, or have had a baby within the last 6 months are also at an increased risk.
The symptoms of hypothyroidism vary depending on the severity of the hormone deficiency. Because the symptoms of hypothyroidism often increases gradually over time, it can make them easy to miss. Common symptoms include:
Weight gain and/or difficulty losing weight
Increased sensitivity to cold temperatures
Muscle aches and joint stiffness
Heavier than normal or irregular periods
Slower than normal heart rate
If left untreated, hypothyroidism may even lead to heart problems, goiter, mental health issues, and infertility.
Diagnosis and Hypothyroidism Treatment
Hypothyroidism is diagnosed based on symptoms and the results of a blood test which measures your level of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and sometimes another thyroid hormone called thyroxine. Hypothyroidism is treated with an oral synthetic thyroid hormone which your doctor can prescribe. When you are first on this medication, you will work closely with your doctor to make any necessary adjustments to dosage in order to reach ideal hormone levels.
How PlushCare Works
1. Video chat with a doctor and send in pictures of your rash. 2. The doctor can tell you what the rash is, and prescribe any needed medicines. 3. Pick up your prescription at your pharmacy, and even get a signed doctor's note for school or work.