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Brief Introduction To Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism occurs when someone does not have enough effect of the biologically active T3 thyroid hormone within the cells of their body.
It can be caused by low thyroid hormones, poor conversion from T4 to T3, or other more subtle reasons like thyroid hormone resistance, or hypocortisolism.
In some parts of the world and even in some parts of the same country, iodine deficiency in the soil can lead to iodine deficiency in people. Iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism because the thyroid gland uses iodine to make thyroid hormone.
However, there are many other causes of hypothyroidism including thyroid gland disease, reduced conversion of T4 to T3, thyroid hormone resistance and conditions of either the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus etc.
Most people who are diagnosed with hypothyroidism are given the synthetic T4 medication that replaces the missing thyroxine that the thyroid no longer produces. This synthetic T4 medication is known as L-thyroxine or levothyroxine or by a brand name.
Doctors often say that this T4 thyroid replacement therapy will make a hypothyroid patient well again. For some people this is true and they do recover.
However, for many others they still:
- Feel dreadfully tired
- Have far less energy than they used to have
- Can't lose the weight they gained
- Can't think as clearly as they once did
- Can't remember things like they used to
- Feel cold
- Feel weak
- Have constipation
- Can't get back the zest for life
- Have poor hair condition or even hair loss
- Have dry skin or cracked nails
- Have muscle or joint pain
- Do not feel like the person they were before thyroid problems
Thyroid hormone health is usually assessed through a series of thyroid blood tests.
The T4 medication is usually slowly adjusted over a period of months in response to thyroid blood test results. Eventually, when a patient's doctor observes certain levels in one or more thyroid blood test results he/she may tell the patient that they are now properly treated.
A doctor typically tells a patient that the treatment is now adequate when they see thyroid blood test results that suggest that their patient's thyroid hormone levels are now 'normal'.
If a patient continues to feel ill, then it is very common for a doctor to say that the symptoms the patient is now experiencing are no longer associated with abnormal thyroid hormone levels.
To add insult to injury, it is also unbelievably common for patients to be told that they have depression or a psychological problem. So common is this that many thyroid patients have been offered anti-depressants.
Even for some people who use natural desiccated thyroid or a combination of T4 and T3 medications, some or all of the above may still be applicable, i.e. some people do not respond to thyroid medications that contain T4.
After time has passed and people remain feeling ill and a shadow of what they were prior to thyroid problems, then they begin to have suspicions. They begin to suspect that regardless of what they are being told by a family doctor or an endocrinologist, something isn't working right with their thyroid hormones.
They may suspect that because they were healthy before thyroid problems, all their health issues are in fact because of something not working correctly with thyroid hormones. Their doctors will often deny this or just tell the patient that nothing else can be done. However, people know their own bodies better than anyone else and they are invariably right!
If any of the above applies to you or a family member or a friend then know this: you are NOT ALONE!
Many others have had and are still having the same problems.
There is plenty of information on this website and on other websites for you.
There are solutions.
There are plenty of examples of people who recover and go on to live healthy lives.
For those that want as much information on this area as possible, perhaps because the above information speaks to you then you should buy the 'The Thyroid Patient's Manual' or the 'Recovering with T3' books, as they will cover a vast amount of the information that you require.