The thyroid is a small gland located at the base of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. The thyroid produces two hormones called T3 and T4 that act to control our body’s metabolism, including how fast you can burn calories and how fast your heart beats.
A thyroid that works properly will produce adequate amounts of hormones to keep your body’s metabolism at a rate that is neither too fast nor too slow. When the thyroid produces fewer hormones than necessary, keeping our metabolism slower, we call it hypothyroidism; When it produces more hormones than necessary, speeding up too much of our metabolism, we call it hyperthyroidism.
The following is a collection of the main doubts about hypothyroidism.
To learn more about thyroid and its diseases, we also suggest reading:
1) What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?
The main symptoms of hypothyroidism are asthenia, dry skin, constipation (constipation), increased cholesterol (read: HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides), changes in menstruation, weight gain (not enough to cause obesity) , Cold intolerance, hair loss, and goiter.
It is important to note that not all patients with hypothyroidism have all these signs and symptoms
2) What is goiter?
Goiter, also known as chatter, is a bulging of the neck region caused by enlarged thyroid volume. The goiter arises mainly in cases of hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism or thyroid nodules.
3) What are the symptoms of goiter?
The goiter patient usually has symptoms of the disease that is causing the goiter, usually symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. The goiter itself does not usually cause symptoms unless it is very large. Goiters like the one pictured above are not large enough to marry compressive symptoms such as hoarseness, difficulty swallowing or breathing.
4) What are the main causes of hypothyroidism?
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Other causes include iodine deficiency, surgical removal of the thyroid and destruction of the thyroid by radiation are other common causes.
5) I have gained a lot of weight in the last few years and I feel unprepared. Can this be hypothyroidism?
It can, but it is often only a reflection of a sedentary lifestyle. Poor diet and lack of physical exercise cause weight gain and a feeling of permanent laziness. Hypothyroidism-related weight gain is usually related to fluid retention rather than to fat accumulation. In fact, it is very rare for hypothyroidism to cause obesity and the majority of overweight and thyroid dysfunction patients do not notice a large change in the percentage of fat after controlling for hypothyroidism.
6) How is the diagnosis of hypothyroidism made?
Through the dosage of thyroid hormones. Usually we dose TSH and free T4. In hypothyroidism, TSH is high and normal or low free T4 (read: TSH AND T4 FREE – Thyroid tests).
7) What are normal TSH values?
The inferred and superior limits of TSH usually vary between laboratories, but are generally around 0.5 mU / L and 4.5 mU / L. Values below 0.5 mU / L suggest hyperthyroidism; Values above 4.5 mU / L suggest hypothyroidism.
8) What is subclinical hypothyroidism?
We call it subclinical hypothyroidism when the patient has high TSH, normal free T4 and no symptoms of hypothyroidism. More than half of the patients with subclinical hypothyroidism usually develop hypothyroidism in fact in a period of 10 to 20 years (read: SUBCLINICAL HYPOTHYROIDISM).
9) When is treatment for subclinical hypothyroidism indicated?
There is still much controversy over the benefit of treating subclinical hypothyroidism. Currently there is consensus only in the following cases: TSH greater than 10 mU / L, high titers of anti-TPO, pregnant women, women with difficulty becoming pregnant or people with very high cholesterol.
10) What are anti-thyroglobulin and anti-TPO antibodies?
Anti-thyroglobulin and anti-TPO are autoantibodies that our body produces inappropriately against the thyroid. They are present in almost all cases of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Patients with subclinical hypothyroidism but with high titres of these antibodies present a high risk of progression to clinical hypothyroidism (read: ANTIBODIES AND TIREOID: anti-TPO, TRAb and anti-thyroglobulin)
11) Hypothyroidism can cause difficulty in getting pregnant?
Yes. Hypothyroidism changes the menstrual cycle (read: MENSTRUAL CYCLE | FERTILIZER PERIOD) that can cause infertility. Even if the patient can become pregnant, hypothyroidism increases the risk of miscarriage.
In men, hypothyroidism is a cause of infertility because it changes the morphology of spermatozoa.
12) Hypothyroidism causes sexual impotence in men?
Yes, in addition to causing decreased libido and difficulty in ejaculating. (Read: SEXUAL IMPOTENCE Causes and Treatment)
13) How is hypothyroidism treated?
The treatment is made with levothyroxine, a synthetic form of the hormone T4. The goal of treatment is to keep TSH below 5 mU / L (read: LEVOTIROXIN (Puran T4) – Indications and side effects).
14) How long does the treatment of hypothyroidism last?
In the vast majority of cases the treatment is indefinite. Hypothyroid cases that heal over time are rare.
15) What is the best time to take levothyroxine?
Fasting, before breakfast.
16) My cholesterol is too high because of hypothyroidism. After starting treatment will it improve?
Yes, but generally the best results occur in those with TSH greater than 10 mU / L.
17) Can levothyroxine women breastfeed?
Yes, it only takes medical follow-up to avoid high doses of the drug.
18) I have several symptoms of hypothyroidism, but my TSH and T4L are normal. Can I have hypothyroidism anyway?
No. Your symptoms have another cause. And in these cases it is no use to use levothyroxine, since the medicine does not improve the symptoms in these cases.