Is It Really Hypothyroidism?
An underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. Initially, hypothyroidism presents minimal symptoms, but over time can lead to obesity, infertility, heart disease, and joint pain. Early recognition of the symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland can help prevent irreversible damage.
Bodyweight, metabolism, and the thyroid are intimately connected in a complex system. The thyroid gland regulates metabolism. A low basal metabolic rate (BMR) is one sign of an underactive thyroid. Weight can vary by the severity of the thyroid disorder. An additional 5-10 pounds of weight can be a sign of excess salt and water retention in the body.
The thyroid’s hormone production is directly linked to the body’s energy levels. An underactive thyroid can lead to fatigue, weakness, and a general tired feeling. Individuals may also feel nervous and moody. Left untreated, hypothyroidism can increase cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.
A healthy thyroid ensures calories are consistently burned, producing heat. In people with an underactive thyroid, fewer calories are burned due to the low basal metabolic rate. Hypothyroidism reduces the brown fat burned that generates heat. Cold sensitivity could be a sign of an underactive thyroid.
Muscle and joint aches and weakness
An underactive thyroid can lead to the breakdown of body tissues like muscle to gain energy. The condition known as catabolism reduces muscle strength, which can lead to aching muscles. Muscles are more likely to ache after a strenuous workout in individuals with hypothyroidism. When weakness is increasing, patients should seek medical help.
The thyroid gland also regulates the hair follicles. When the thyroid is underactive, hair follicles can’t be replaced fast enough. Hair follicle stem cells have a short lifespan. Hypothyroidism causes slow hair growth and hair loss. In some individuals, hypothyroidism can cause coarsening of the hair.
Seek medical help
Hypothyroidism can start as a mild inconvenience, but can quickly reduce a patient’s quality of life. Blood tests can help determine hormone levels and the type of treatment needed. Synthetic hormones can regulate hormone levels and induce quick-acting effects. An underactive thyroid can be managed with professional help. For more information, speak with a healthcare provider.