Do you think you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis? That sounds scary and it actually can be cause for concern. Hypothyroidism is very commonly caused by what is know as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis which is a malady that allows the body’s defense system to create antibodies which will, over time, destroy a persons thyroid tissue. When this occurs the body cannot make enough of its own thyroid hormones.

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Hypothyroidism occurs when your body does not make enough thyroid hormone and this governs how your body uses energy. The thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped gland residing in the frontal area of a person’s neck. When these hormone levels are low they can affect the entire body and all of its functions. Low levels of these hormones can not only raise cholesterol levels but can increase the likelihood of having a stroke or heart attack.

Hypothyroidism is easily treated, especially when detected early. The primary symptoms of this disease include:

• Weakness and feeling tired all the time
• Weight gain
• Depression
• Dry skin, hair, and brittle nails
• Hair loss of the outer one third of your eyebrows
• Irregular menstrual cycles
• Constipation
• Problems with memory or thinking clearly

Many of these problems arise slowly, over time, and may not be noticeable initially. But they build up and cause overall tiredness and fatigue that cannot be overlooked.
The problem is often confused with menopause because of similarity of many of the symptoms. But there are tests for hypothyroidism that can rule out other issues.

When Hashimoto’s thyroiditis occurs, it causes ones immune system to attack the thyroid gland and its tissue. Radiation treatments for cancer and surgical removal of the thyroid gland can also cause hypothyroidism to occur.

Testing for hypothyroidism is relatively easy and involves a blood test to determine levels of certain hormones in the body.

When diagnosed, there are pills to be taken daily. The dosage will be set and can be adjusted depending on how effective it proves to be. It may take weeks or months to truly determine the exact level needed to eliminate the symptoms, and most likely the medication will need to be taken for the rest of ones life as this disease tends to stay around for a lifetime.

Who should be tested for Hypothyroidism?

• Pregnant women
• Those with diabetes
• Those who have rheumatoid arthritis
• Mature adults, especially those over sixty years of age
• Those with family history of thyroid related problems

Mild cases of hypothyroidism may not even require medications or treatments but should be watched carefully in case symptoms worsen. A case of severe hypothyroidism may require hospitalization because it may become dangerous and involve a condition they call myxedema coma, a rare disease.

Hypothyroidism may occur in infants and teens and can be quite severe at younger ages. Infants may develop the disease if their mother was treated with radiation for cancer or Grave’s disease while pregnant. Infants who develop hypothyroidism in the early months may need to be on medications for the rest of their life but can be successfully treated.