Hypothyroidism: Latest Medical Breakthroughs

Thursday, 03 Mar 2011 11:32 AM

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Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce adequate thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormone secreted from the thyroid gland stimulates cells and aids metabolism. Thyroid hormone ensures smooth functioning in the body.

The following can be causes of hypothyroidism:
  • Congenital defects
  • Radiation treatment of neck to treatment of different cancers
  • Radioactive iodine
  • Surgical removal of a part, or all of, the thyroid gland
  • Viral thyroiditis which may cause hyperthyroidism
  • Over fifty years of age
Hypothyroidism Symptoms include:
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Tremor of the fingers and hands
  • Weight loss/weight gain
  • Heavy menstrual flow
  • Muscle weakness
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Constipation
  • Excessive sweating

Symptoms of hypothyroidism if left untreated for a long period of time may include hoarseness, swollen face, slow speech, thickening of skin, and thinning of eyebrows.

Most psychiatrists test depression patients for low levels of thyroid hormone; even mild hypothyroidism can cause depression. The symptoms of hypothyroidism and those of depression are similar. Usually, patients suffering from depression caused by hypothyroidism are not aware of the root cause.

Many hypothyroid patients struggle to lose weight. The changed metabolic set-point makes it difficult to lose weight. Other factors that obstruct hypothyroidism weight loss are the changes in brain chemistry caused by the illness, stress, and insulin resistance. Hypothyroidism weight gain is very common. A diet change, and a few exercises help avoid hypothyroidism weight gain.

Hypothyroidism diagnosis is complete only after recording the medical history of the patient, and carrying out their physical examination. Sensitive laboratory tests are also conducted on the patient for hypothyroidism diagnosis.

Blood tests for measuring the levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and free thyroxin (T4) are conducted for hypothyroidism diagnosis. Tests such as thyroid scintigraphy ultrasound, and needle aspiration biopsy are also performed for hypothyroidism diagnosis.

A hypothyroidism diet should include natural foods, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. A good supply of seafood and lean proteins is also recommended. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and sprouts should be avoided in the hypothyroidism diet.

“Beta blockers” are the latest medical breakthrough in the treatment of hypothyroidism. They minimize symptoms like rapid heart rate and anxiety.

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