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Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland, located in the front of the neck just below the larynx, secretes hormones that control metabolism. These hormones are thyroxine and triiodothyronine. The secretion of T3 and T4 is controlled by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, which is part of the brain. Thyroid disorders may result not only from defects in the thyroid gland itself, but also from abnormalities of the pituitary or hypothalamus.

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      11.01.2013 14:21
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      My experiences with hypothyroidism

      Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid (a gland in your neck) stops producing thyroxine. Now, this probably doesn't mean much to you - but you may have heard of diabetes or Addison's disease (JFK had this, interestingly) - and while insulin and adrenaline, or their defiency, can only cause changes in certain tissues in the body, thyroxine can effect all of them - reproductive, digestive, muscle tone, brain chemistry, ect. However, hypothyroidism isn't fatal, unlike untreated diabetes or hypoadrenalism.

      Hypothyrodism, in general, effects "older" women - women who have had children or women entering or leaving menopause. This is because hormone fluctuations such as the change of life or childbirth can instigate an autoimmune response, where the body attacks the thyroid gland.

      However, this disease can effect anyone, regardless of age or gender, as even babies can be born with hypothyroidism (cretinism).

      As exciting as your body attacking your organs sounds (I imagine it was very CGI inside your imaginations for a second) the onset of hypothyroidism is a very gradual disease. Other reasons for developing hypothyroidism is the treatment for hyperthyroidism involving radiation therapy (typical), and other conditions effecting the pituitary gland and/or hypothalmus.

      My experience with hypothyroidism started when I was a young teenager, and after a sports injury that healed up well, I began to feel generally tired, cold, and I put on weight. This was during the summer holidays - a period I think of as lost time, as it was almost exclusively spent sleeping - and after seeing the doctor and undergoing tests, I was put on a low dose of thyroxine (levothyroxine, 25 micrograms). Unfortunately this didn't do much for me, but the treatment had to be slow or I'd risk developing hyperthyroidism - which is much more dangerous than having too little thyroxine in your system.

      I missed so much school that I had to drop out: I couldn't concentrate in class, I kept falling asleep, I'd feel just terrible. I remember walking down the corridor in between classes and feeling so heavy - as if I was dragging along a dead twin inside me, was the thought I had. Meanwhile I was undergoing more and more tests - blood tests, MRIs, CTs, x-rays, insulin tolerance tests (both long and short), psychological tests, ultrasounds on my ovaries - it was hell. I was constantly bruised or pinpricked and I wasn't feeling any better for it. I was bullied by my psychologist. My endocrinologist scratched his head. My hair started to fall out, so I had to cut it short. I had to deal with my parents' disappointment over my grades and school situation. I also had to come to terms with the fact that I can never have children.

      In a last bid to try and get some results from my testing, I was put on x3 of my usual dose of thyroxine. I don't really remember much about this - I couldn't sleep, weight dropped off me and I became gaunt, I had conversations with people that I didn't remember (and didn't make much sense), and I lost the ability to concentrate - couldn't read, couldn't watch TV, couldn't do anything. 5 years later, I am now on a much lower dose of thyroxine and I am slowly beginning to get back to normal.

      All in all, I think hypothyroidism deserves more awareness than it currently has. A problem with hypothyroidism is the symptom of depression - hypothyroidism can cause depression by messing up healthy brain chemistry, but frankly, hypothyroidism is a depressing illness all on its own. While this is not a fatal illness, it is a life-changing one, and personally I experienced next to no support from the education system, my endocrinologist, or my parents. I know if I had had diabetes instead, the situation would have been very different.

      If you have any symptoms I've mentioned here - and there's a lot I haven't, but a quick Google should search them out - it's worth getting tested. Subclinical hypthyroidism (hypothyroidism that isn't "bad enough" to need treatment) is always worth keeping an eye on, because things can change very quickly in response to stress, pregnancy, or illness/injury (autoimmune problems often start with an injury or a flu-like illness). It's just a quick blood test to make sure you're healthy.

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        29.11.2010 14:50
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        A condition affecting the thyroid that can be controlled.

        Hypothyroidism happens when your thyroid gland stops producing sufficient Thyroxine.
        It is a progressive disease so you can have it for years and not know it.

        Some of the symptoms are:
        Fatigue
        Feeling weak
        Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight
        Coarse, dry hair
        Dry, rough pale skin
        Hair loss
        Cold intolerance (you can't tolerate cold temperatures like those around you)
        Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
        Constipation
        Depression
        Irritability
        Memory loss
        Abnormal menstrual cycles

        My story
        At the end of last year (2009) my hair started to thin and I put it down to stress at first. I then started coming home from work and going straight to bed, sleeping for 8 or 9 hours then when waking up feeling like I had had no sleep at all. My entire family were telling me to get my thyroid tested as we have a strong family history of thyroid diseases all on the maternal side of my family.

        With working full time I was always "going to go and make an appointment to see my GP" but never did. When I finally went I told him my symptoms, periods being weird and irratic, tiredness, feeling weak all the time and with my family history and symptoms he agreed to a blood test. My TSH was 14.98 (normal range is 0.5 - 5.0), with hypothyroidism TSH is always higher, hyperthyroidism TSH is really low. With this I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and I am now on Levothyroxine 75mcg daily, I will have to take this everyday for the rest of my life but at least it is a condition that can be easily treated. I feel a lot better on this med but I do know it does not suit some people. I will have to have blood tests every year so they can either increase or decrease my dosage of Levothyroxine. People on Levothyroxine are told their TSH should be 1 or thereabouts.

        I hope anyone reading this with symptoms of this should be given a blood test and treatment started.

        Thanks for reading

        This review is also on ciao under the same screen name

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          05.11.2010 12:03
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          Hypothryoidsm is when you have an underactive thyroid gland. This means your thyroid gland stops making as much thyroxine as your body needs.


          I had some problems with my thyroid back in the early 90s when I kept feeling tired all the time and I was suffering from depression. My doctor tested me and said my thryoxine levels were a bit low but nothing to worry about but made me an appointment to see a doctor at the hospital for a more involved diagnosis. By the time my appointment came round I was pregnant with my youngest daughter and the consultant told me that I should wait and see what happens after my preganancy as hormone levels can change whille pregnant.


          After I had had my daughter my symptoms seemed to disappear although I did have a weight problem, one which I have had all my life from teens onwards. I got on with my life and eventually managed to lose the weight and was feeling fine with my body. I had a new job which was quite strenuous work, I was working in a stock room in a large clothing shop which involved lifting heavy boxes all day long so was a very physical job. I was surprised there for to find that my weight was creeping up gradually even though I was doing so much physical work all day long and not really over eating.


          I finally had to stop working due to my tendons all giving way in my arms and I had joint problems in my legs and back too. My doctor (a different one now than I used to have) decided to do a blood test to check everything out and said that my thryroxine levels were quite low and that she was going to start me on taking some thyroxin replacement tablets. She told me I was suffering from Hypothyroidism and that I would need to take the medication for the rest of my life. She also told me that I would be entitled to free prescriptions from now on due to this condition. She explained that my thryroid would probably stop making the thyroxin altogether one of these days and that I would have to have check ups every so many months to check my dosage was right and then have it upped if neeeded.


          I came home and looked on the internet to see what symptoms came with this condition as I had been suffering for a while with quite a few different symptoms and found a list as long as your arm.


          The main ones were the weight gain and the tired ness, plus feeling cold all the time. But also the joint pain could be caused by this. Some other symptoms that I suffer from are very dry coarse skin especially on my face which is really horrible, it gets very sore and I have to have this waxy stuff to spread over the sore bits after washing as it gets so dry it can crack and open. I also suffer from short term memory loss and have to put reminders on my phone for things I have to do the next day, even things like my other half might ask me to get something from the shop or cook something special for his dinner and by lunch time I would have forgotten it so I need to either put it on my phone or make a note somewhere.


          I hate having this condition, I often wish I could wind back the time to when I didn't have it as although I am taking the replacement thyroxin I still suffer badly from a lot of the other symptoms and I find that my family dont seem to recognise it as being a condition and can't understand what I am going through especially with things like always feeling cold or tired. My other half is one of those who is always sweating even when its snowing out side and he sits around in doors in a pair of shorts and no top and theres me wrapped up with two jumpers and a blanket over me and he just keeps saying you can't be cold as its baking in here and there's me shivering like anything. I do get quite upset sometimes as I try to explain but he just doesn't seem to understand that just because he is hot doesn't mean I am too. I hate being cold, its a terrible feeling when you just can't warm yourself up.


          Also with the tiredness, I find that in the mornings when I just take my tablets I am at my best and can get on with things around the house or go out shopping (although I can't carry much home due to my arms and shoulder joints being so bad), but my other half is not a morning person and when he is off work he likes to have a lie in and then go out lunch time. By about three o'clock in the afternoon I am absolutely exhausted if we have been walking round the shops and it is as much as I can do to get back to the car. I usually need to find a seat somewhere so I can sit and wait for him which is fine in the summer but horrible in the winter when I am already suffering from the cold. I find that the little bit of warmth my body ahs made while walking around disappears in minutes once sitting. It is really ruining my quality of life as I can't be motivated to do much at all in the afternoons due to feeling so tired and we rarely go out in the evenings anymore unless I had a really restful day.


          I just hope that may be someone reading this who knows someone else who suffers like I do and doesn't understand what we are going through will be able to may be understand a little better. There are so many other symptoms that come with this condition that I haven't even started on. Some people are lucky and find that the medication takes away all the symptoms but there are many of us sufferers who still have them.


          Thanks for reading xx

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            15.08.2010 23:37
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            My experience of Hypothyroidism.

            I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism at the age of 15.

            I would have to be different, wouldn't I?!

            I was just about to take my GCSEs at school, and I'd been feeling really sluggish for a while. I had started to gain weight gradually, and I'd been unable to wake in the mornings as well, and started to go to bed at 7, or take a nap when I got home from school. My skin became dry and flaky and I had recurrent pains in my wrist which turned out to be carpel tunnel, linked to my hypothyroidism. I also had really bad periods, but to this day I'm not sure if that's something else. I really noticed something was wrong with me when I couldn't survive without wearing my north face body warmer - it was winter and, yes, it was cold, but I felt it especially; my hands and feet like icicles even when wearing thick socks and Ugg boots. My mum, who is also my GP, took my blood and had it tested for anaemia, but when the results came back, it turned out that I was badly hypothyroid (if you can put it that way).

            Hypothyroidism is basically when the body is lacking in thyroxine - HYPO means lacking, HYPER means in excess. Thyroxine controls the metabolic rate of the body, which in turn controls burning of calories, your temperature, in a way- how quickly your body functions. I'm not going to go into specifics because it's easy to google that, but I have a type of autoimmune hypothyroiditis. This means that I have antibodies in my body which are attacking my thyroid and breaking it down. These antibodies attack my thyroid because I have too much tsh - thyroid stimulating hormone. When that goes down to a normal level - when I am replacing my thyroxine with synthetic thyroxine which i take in tablet form - the antibodies apparantly don't attack my thyroid as much. Or so I was told.

            Being 15 and hypothyroid seemed like a death sentence to me. At the time I felt very ill because I was tired and cold all the time, and didn't want to do anything other than sleep. I thought it would ruin my chances of becoming a doctor (well at that time i wanted to be a vet but changed my mind, similar idea) because I had no stamina. Now I am 17 and am on 200micrograms daily of synthetic Thyroxine which I get on prescription. Lucky for me, that means I get my prescriptions free for life! My hypothyroidism is getting to be under control now, but it's still not quite there. I am still finding it difficult to regulate my temperature and often take naps, but I've lost a bit of weight since starting treatment and feel much better than I did a few years ago.

            For your information, here are some of the side effects of hypothyroidism:
            tiredness, weight gain, constipation, aches, feeling cold, dry skin, lifeless hair, fluid retention, mental slowing, and depression, a hoarse voice, irregular or heavy menstrual periods in women, infertility, loss of sex drive, carpal tunnel syndrome (which causes pains and numbness in the hand), and memory loss or confusion in the elderly.

            Living with hypothyroidism has its trials and tribulations, but in the end, I'm thankful that I'm living with a treatable condition, and not something much worse. I'm one of the lucky ones, and I tell myself that every day. After all, taking a few pills every day for the rest of my life reminds me that I'm lucky to have the rest of my life ahead of me.

            Here's the British Thyroid Foundation address, if you need any information:
            PO Box 97, Clifford, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS23 6XD
            Tel: 01423 709 707 and 01423 709 448
            Web: www.btf-thyroid.org

            Thanks for reading.

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              23.01.2009 01:40
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              Well I was never going to be ill like a normal person!

              When I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism late in 2008 I was a bit surprised, I hadn't been feeling unwell, or at least in any way that couldn't be put down to being a busy mum of 3 children, one of which was less than 6 months old at the time. I hadn't even attended to doctor for any condition of my own so was slightly taken aback when, after examining my little girl and advising me on her treatment, he asked me to tell him about my thyroid, as far as I was aware there was no problem and so I just stared back at him slightly dumb struck, after an examination of my neck and thyroid gland he informed me that there were a lot of nodules on the gland and I would need not only a blood test but an ultrasound scan on the gland in order to rule out the presence of any cancerous growths. And so I left the surgery that day with a daughter who was on the mend but a whole list of appointments for myself and a condition I never even knew I had, we presumed the gland would be over active rather than under active based on my "symptoms" but we would have to wait for the test results to be sure.

              2 weeks later I found myself at the local hospital awaiting the scan, it felt strange being there as the only occasions I've visited before were during my 3 pregnancies, at least with those scans you were likely to see something nice and positive,but this scan was very different, during my pregnancy scans I was spoken to and guided through what was going on, I saw what was being shown by the scan, the whole atmosphere was warm and friendly, this time though i lay in silence as the phonographer scanned my neck, he asked few questions and was not allowed to describe what he was doing or what he could see, I left knowing as little as when i went in and would have to wait up to 2 weeks before my results were ready. My blood test was a week later, a simple matter of drawing the required amount of blood but my least favorite part of the whole process as I'm not a fan of needles, my veins always deflate, my blood pressure drops and occasionally I even faint! Not my idea of a fun day out.

              Eventually all my test results were ready and so I made my appointment to go over the results, I had Hashimotos disease, a fairly common condition of the auto immune system that causes the Thyroid to attack itself, leading to not enough of the thyroid hormone, Thyroxine, being produced. I was informed that I would require medication for life as well as regular blood tests and checkups, at 27 it was quite a daunting fact, not least because I'm not the greatest person at remembering such things as medication but also because i have no real way of knowing how the condition will change and develop over time.


              The Thyroid Gland and its hormones-
              The Thyroid gland is located in the neck of both men and women, shaped like butterfly wings it is just below the larynx and sits over the windpipe like a bow tie. The function of the gland is to produce the hormone Thyroxine, it is not known the exact purpose of the hormone but it is carried around the body in the bloodstream and helps keep the metabolism working at the right speed.

              The Thyroid gland is under the control of the Pituitary gland, the Pituitary produces a hormone called TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) which increases the amount of thyroid hormone released from the gland. If the level of thyroid hormone falls the pituitary gland releases more TSH in order to increase the level and vice versa, this results in a relatively constant level of the hormone released. However the pituitary is under the influence of the hypothalamus and the amount of TSH released can be increased if the hypothalamus releases TRH (THS releasing hormone)

              All of this becomes even more complicated when you realize that the thyroid hormone comes in 2 forms, commonly known as T3 and T4. The gland releases both types into the blood stream but the dominant hormone is T4 which gets converted into T3 by the tissues. When the tissues alter the way in which they convert the T4 they produce an ineffective hormone called Reverse T3, this means that there will be less thyroid activity in the tissues even though the amount in the blood stream is correct.
              It is these differing levels of T3 and T4 which are monitored to detect Hypothyroidism (as well as Hyperthyroidism, over active gland) and are constantly monitored to ensure correct medication levels.

              Hyperthyroidism-
              There are several forms of thyroid problems that can lead to Hyperthyroidism. Around 1 in 50 women and 1 in 1000 men develop an under active thyroid with it becoming more common with increasing age. It can however occur at any age and can effect anyone.

              Simple Goitre- swelling of the gland thought to be caused by lack of iodine in the diet, it is usually unnecessary to treat a simple goitre but some cases may need to be treated with thyroid hormone tablets.

              Endemic Goitre- once again a swelling in the neck caused by a lack of iodine in the diet, this may lead to a deficiency in the thyroid hormone and may require the addition of iodine in the diet to treat the condition. In both cases of goitre the swelling should ease with treatment.

              Dyshormonogenesis- an inherited abnormality in the way the gland makes the hormone. A low level of hormone in the system causes the same effects as Myxoedema (see below) often with a large goitre, thyroid hormone tablets will be required for treatment.

              Congenital Hypothyroidism- failure of the foetal thyroid to develop, severe mental and physical complications will develop but with early diagnoses during pregnancy and treatment normal development can still occur.

              Myxoedema- Inadequate hormone levels are produced usually caused by auto immune failure or Hashimotos disease, the thyroid is either attacked and cells destroyed or a long term inflammation occurs causing thyroid failure. Condition develops slowly and will require replacement of the hormone in tablet form.

              Symptoms-
              There are many different symptoms and not all of them will occur in every patient, some are more common than others, they include

              Dry, rough skin
              Tiredness
              Intolerance to cold
              Increase in weight
              Constipation
              Hoarse voice
              Deafness
              Swelling of the gland
              Lifeless hair
              Fluid retention
              Mental slowing, memory problems
              Depression
              Irregular/heavy menstrual periods in women
              Infertility
              Loss of sex drive
              Carpal tunnel syndrome

              Treatment-
              The most common form of treatment for hypothyroidism is hormone replacement in the form of Levothyroxine (thyroxine) tablets daily. The required dose will vary depending on the level of deficiency and will often require monitoring and alteration of the dose in order to find the correct level for the individual. Most adults require between 50 micro grams and 150 micro grams but will be started off on a lower dose which will be altered over time. Personally I was started of on 25 micro grams once a day for 2 weeks, after 2 weeks I had to double the daily dose until 10 weeks later after the first of my 3 monthly blood tests.

              The condition itself is easily treatable and may not seem all that dramatic considering how common it is in women however if left untreated it can lead to several health problems, you may have an increased risk of heart disease, suffer an enlarging of your heart, if you are pregnant or fall pregnant you are at higher risk of pre-eclampsia, anemia, premature labour, low birth weight, stillbirth and serious bleeding after birth, there is also the very rare complication of a hypothyroid coma. Naturally with treatment there will be little or no risk of these complications, which in themselves are quite rare, and missing one or 2 tablets will not cause too much harm, however it is not a condition to take lightly and you should never stop taking your medication or try to self medicate, always discuss such moves with your GP.

              Providing you are correctly taking your medication your symptoms should eventually go.

              Women suffering hypothyroidism who fall pregnant may need to increase their dose, they may need their TSH levels checked around every 2-3 months during the pregnancy and once 2 months following the delivery in order to check they are receiving the correct level of medication. 10% of women who have recently had a child will find themselves suffering post-partum Thyroiditus which can be an under active or over active gland, the condition will clear in up to 18 months in 80% of cases and will be treated in the same way as regular hypothyroid cases.

              My Thyroid and me-
              As I said earlier discovering i had hypothyroidism was a bit of a surprise to me, yes I had recently been feeling tired but I put that down to a young baby who slept poorly and 2 very active children, I also felt nauseous a lot but connected that to the tiredness and lack of sleep. After the initial suspicion over my health arose I resigned myself to the fact that I would be hyperthyroid and have an over active gland, after all any symptoms I could attribute to a thyroid problem were those for hyperthyroidism........intolerance to heat, tiredness, anxiety, increased appetite, weight loss............. my doctor was as surprised as I was when he read out the results but at least I had the reassurance that it was simple to treat, would not require an operation and most importantly was not cancerous, as a young mum to 3 small children it was a possibility I hadn't wanted to consider.

              After being taken through the results and what it would mean for me I was prescribed a low dose of Levothyroxine to take daily, it could take as much as 2 weeks to start showing effects at which point I needed to double the daily dose, 10 weeks later I needed another blood test and they will continue every 3 months until my hormone levels even out, then the tests will be reduced even further to once a year, which can't come soon enough for me. It was just over 2 weeks when I started to feel some positive effects from the medication, the swelling in my throat had gone down and swallowing felt easier even though I'd never noticed how bad it had become before, I stopped feeling sick so often as well which made daily life a lot more pleasant, however I couldn't shake the fear that I had been suffering symptoms for the opposite condition, my medication was designed to increase my hormone levels, if I should have been gaining weight as a result of the condition but was now taking tablets that would put an end to that would I start suffering weight loss instead? I started weighing myself regularly and my fears were soon realised as over a period of 5 weeks i lost over 5lb, that may not seem like a lot in terms of loss over time but I was already dramatically underweight for my height and fighting to maintain the weight I was, even the Christmas period saw me lose weight . I soon noticed other changes which included dry skin on my hands and intolerance to the cold where before I loved the cold weather, these smaller changes are bearable although unfortunate, the weight loss however is a real concern and I am having to closely monitor what I eat making sure I have more than my recommended daily allowance of calories etc...

              It is uncommon but not impossible for a sufferer of a thyroid condition to experience the symptoms of the reverse condition but I have no short term or immediate way of knowing how the medication will effect me and my weight in particular, I try to take my medication every morning before breakfast although there have been occasions where I have forgotten, I have a terrible memory for such things and of course I have a lifetime of pharmacy visits ahead, at least by the time I'm 50 I should be used to taking the pills daily! I've come to terms with the condition and while I don't appreciate getting it so young I know it's treatable and I can get on with my life almost as if there were no problem at all. It has had the strange effect of bringing out peoples concern for me though, my mother is constantly fussing over me making sure I'm taking the tablets, ensuring I'm eating lots etc.... and even my mother in law asks how I am whenever she calls, it's funny how being "ill" can make people treat you differently.

              I might not like having the condition but I'm stuck with it, there are far worse things I could be going through and as long as I can enjoy my life and my wonderful children then that's all that counts!

              For anyone reading this who like me is young and suffers the condition you should know you're not alone, just as anyone with reverse symptoms is not. I have researched the condition a lot and visited many forums but have yet to find many people suffering the condition like I do, I just want to reassure others like me, you're perfectly normal!








              For information on the thyroid and it's conditions visit-
              www.Thyroid-info.com
              www.Thyroid.org
              www.endocrineweb.com
              www.medicinenet.com

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                22.04.2006 18:41
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                an illness that can be controlled.

                I was discovered as being Hypotheroidal about six years ago, and have often questioned the treatment that I receive, and the purpose of the thyroid, how it works, what it does, and all the answers that I have been given in the past were technical ones that were perhaps beyond my limited knowledge of human biology. I wanted someone to tell it to me straight and this review is my attempt to aid someone else facing the same dilemma.

                WHAT IS THE THYROID ?

                The thyroid is located in the neck region and produces hormones that balance up the metabolism of a human being. In simple terms, this dictates how tired or how energetic we are.

                HOW DOES IT WORK ?

                The thyroid has two important factors. When a blood test is done, there are two levels which are measured. One is the rate at which the brain dictates to the thyroid gland how much hormone to produce and the other is the actual hormone that is free flowing in the body. Taking a look at my blood test, it is much easier to see and understand on a French blood test. I could not understand why one was high and one was okay, and my doctor explained this in very simple layman terms this week which was a super way of demonstrating the readings that people get on blood tests and makes the whole working system of the thyroid easier to understand.

                Basically, the brain tells the thyroid to produce hormone. Sometimes when the thyroid is not working properly the brain is knocking at the doot saying "come on work will you", and the thyroid (or pituataru gland) doesn't answer, so that the levels of what is called TSH rise too much and need controlling with a drug that is called thyroxine. Its almost as if there is no one at home in the gland and thus the level is ever increasing until corrected.

                On the blood test below, you can see what the normal levels are supposed to be and what mine are, and although the balance is not too bad at the moment, there is indeed a need for an increase in thyroxine to normalise the activity of the messages going to the thyroide.

                WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HYPOTHYROIDISM ?

                The majority of people who are touched by hypothyroidism are in their fifties, although an early menopause can also cause the thyroide to malfunction. If you think that by this time in your life, your body is a little worn out and need of a service, you are probably right and it is worthwhile checking if you experience any of the following symptoms, although these can have other causes, so the checking out would consist of a blood test to eliminate the possibility of hypothyroidism.

                Intolerance to cold is a particular one that I noticed first.
                Tiredness and lethargy are other signs.
                Constipation.
                Muscle Cramps.
                The inability to feel fresh after a good night sleep
                Slow and sluggish metabolism.

                DO SYMPTOMS DIFFER FROM PERSON TO PERSON ?

                Yes of course they do, although most of the above are relevant in my case, and if I notice changes in any of them, I do report to the doctor for what is called a control, or another blood test.

                HOW IS IT TREATED ?

                Hypothyroidism is easily treated these days with a treatment called Thyroxine. This speeds things up and puts your body back into action and it is very important that the levels of thyroxine are monitored monthly at first, and then on a three month basis, to ensure the stability of the treatment. Thyroxine in excess can be extremely dangerous, can cause palpitations, and hot sweats and actually endanger life, so that the regular check ups are essential.

                ONCE TREATMENT STARTS - IS IT CONSTANT ?

                My treatment is for life, although I have noticed that my levels change from time to time and the medication has to be adjusted. One of the things I hate about taking medicines is that I feel that introducing a cocktail of fabricated substances into the body cannot be healthy. I have been warned to take this medicine at all times, have missed the odd day or two by accident without consequence, but an interesting thing happened when I started to treat myself (under the supervision of my doctor) with natural kelp. This can be found in health food shops, although I would advise patients with hypothyroidism not to self dose as this could indeed be dangerous. Hand in hand with your doctor, you can slowly introduce kelp and what happens is that it reduces the level of fabricated medication that I need to take, which I feel is good news for my body.

                LATER STAGES OF HYPOTHYROIDISM

                The symptoms listed above are ones that a person has in the early stages of detection. Later, skin flakes, you find that hair loss happens, numbing sensations occur in arms and legs occasionally, but none of this is as drastic as it sounds, as most things can be balanced by good diet, and products that are easily available to help the body replenish things that it lacks. For example, a shampoo that thickens can help with hair loss, and there are many creams aimed at older people that will help their skin flakiness to stay at a minimum.

                WHO GETS HYPOTHYROIDISM ?

                Believe it or not, the majority of people suffering this are us women. Insuline dependent individuals can also suffer from this, and it does happen to be heritary although it can skip generations. It can occur in men as well as women, and also in children, although the majority lie within the area of women just before or just after the menopause. Did you know that one in five women will actually suffer from this after the age of sixty ?

                SO HOW DOES IT AFFECT ME AS AN INDIVIDUAL ?

                Actually, it makes my life a little more logical. Once the diagnosis was confirmed, it explained a lot of the tensions and stresses I was feeling, negative feelings, maybe even depression, and made me feel good about myself because I had an explanation. It is a relatively easy illness to treat and to keep under control, and the medicine does not have any nasty side effects in my particular case.

                WHAT WOULD I SAY TO THOSE WHO THINK THEY MAY BE SUFFERING ?

                Don't suffer. There is no need to. Go and see your doctor, get a blood test and sort out whether you have this illness or not. If you have, treat it logically, and put up with the occasional blues that actually indicate its time for another blood test. It is not drastic, and certainly the diagnosis of my illness explained so many of the negative feelings I had and the lack of energy I put down to other things.

                LAST WORDS

                This is an everyday illness which is controllable and not drastic. I have been treated and will continue to be treated for the rest of my life, and compared to other illnesses of greater significance, I would say that the hypothyroide patient has only these things to worry about.

                1. regular blood tests to check the body's levels.
                2. learning the ability to recognise what your body is saying to you.
                3. Understanding either yourself or those around you that suffer from such an illness and treating your body in the best way that you are able under the supervision of a caring doctor.

                The rest is a doddle !!!

                Rachel

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