Hypothyroidism slows you down
Your thyroid is a gland in your neck that makes a hormone called the thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones affect different parts of your health. They can raise or lower your heart rate, speed up or slow down your metabolism (how fast your body uses energy) and affect your body temperature. When your thyroid doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones, you have a condition called hypothyroidism.
Women and people older than 60 are more likely to have hypothyroidism. You may also be at a higher risk if you have a family history of thyroid problems.
Most of the time hypothyroidism is caused by an autoimmune disorder, which happens when your body’s immune system attacks your own cells. Thyroid surgery or other thyroid treatments, like radiation therapy, can also cause hypothyroidism.
What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?
Symptoms can be hard to spot since they’re different in every person and are similar to symptoms of depression. You may notice the following symptoms start slowly:
- Weight gain (due to a slower metabolism)
- A swollen-looking face or droopy eyelids
- Dry hair
- Changes in your period
- Slow heart rate
How is hypothyroidism treated?
Your doctor can use a blood test to diagnose you with hypothyroidism. After you’re diagnosed, a doctor who specializes in hormones (an endocrinologist) will help you find a treatment to balance your hormones.
You’ll need to take a medicine that gives you extra thyroid hormones. It may take some time to find the right dose for you, and your doctor will use blood tests to find out if your medicine is working correctly. To help you have a better quality of life, you will always need to take the medicine.