Low Thyroid

This condition happens when your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone.

This condition happens when your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone.

The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck. Low thyroid levels happen when the gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This is called hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormones help control how the body uses energy. They are also associated with managing body temperature, muscle function, heart rates and mental functioning. When there is not enough thyroid hormone, a person may experience the following symptoms:

  • Feeling tired and/or weak
  • Problems with cold temperatures
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain, even if not eating more
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Depression
  • Hoarse voice

Newborn babies are screened for hypothyroidism shortly after birth.

Problems with low thyroid hormone levels happen more frequently in women than in men. This can cause women to have problems with their menstrual periods and can lead to infertility issues. Sometimes the symptoms of low thyroid hormone levels can be confused with symptoms related to aging.

  • The diagnosis is made by taking a blood sample to measure the level of thyroid stimulation hormone (TSH) in your blood. The level of other thyroid hormones may be measured as well.
  • If your thyroid hormone level is low, you will need to take thyroid hormone pills for the rest of your life.

If you believe you have low thyroid levels, contact your healthcare provider.

  • Bring a copy of your medical history (past illnesses, surgeries, and hospitalizations).
  • Ask family members if they have had problems with low thyroid.
  • Make a list of your medications (including over-the-counter).
  • Write down any questions, symptoms or concerns you want to talk about.
  • If your healthcare provider prescribes a medication, ask for a generic one. If your doctor says that he prefers a brand name medication, ask why a generic medication is not right for you.

Here are some questions to ask your healthcare provider.

  • What is my diagnosis? What risks are associated with my diagnosis?
  • What treatment, if any, are you recommending? What options are available?
  • What are the possible side effects?
  • What tests do I need? What is the reason for those tests? Will the test results change my treatment plan?
  • What are my follow-up plans and what symptoms should I report before my next appointment?

Source UHC.com

Also known as:

Weight Gain
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone
Thyroid Releasing Hormone
Thyroid Gland
Low Thyroid

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