Hypothyroidism (Underactive thyroid)

Hypothyroidism is the condition in which thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones i.e T3, T4 to sustain our normal body functions. Common symptoms that patients usually encounter are:

  • Weight gain
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Lethargy or excessive sleepiness
  • Dry skin or hair loss
  • Slow heart rate or breathlessness
  • Constipation
  • Menstrual abnormality
  • Muscle ache or weakness
  • Hypothyroidism can be due to various causes like autoimmune disorders (in which body immunity act against thyroid cells and destroy it), prior radiation exposure to thyroid (patients treated for lymphomas), Medicines (Lithium, amiodarone etc.),surgical removal of thyroid or inappropriate consumption of iodine.

    Serum TSH testing can confirm the diagnosis. It is important to see a specialist if any abnormality is detected as delay in diagnosis can have catastrophic affect on various body organs.There is no cure of hypothyroidism except in certain scenario like thyroiditis after pregnancy or after infection where thyroid function may return to normal.

    Treatment of hypothyroidism is replacement therapy with synthetic thyroxin tablets which are just synthetic preparation of natural thyroxin with minimal or almost no side effects. You need to check your TSH level every 6 -12 weeks after thyroxin dose change to see the adequacy of dosing.