Hypothyroidism is one of the most common endocrine diseases, with five out of every 100 Americans aged 12 and above suffering from it. Even though its diagnosis is simple, many patients remain unaware of it for years, despite all its devastating symptoms.
Today, we will discuss everything there is to know about hypothyroidism, including what it is and what are its causes and symptoms. We will also be exploring how Synthroid and Eltroxin can serve as effective treatments to battle this endocrine disorder.
What is Hypothyroidism?
The human body is largely dependent on thyroid hormones – secreted by a small gland located in the neck – for regulating its metabolic activity, digestive regulation, and energy generation. When the body fails to generate sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones, you have what’s known as an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism operates very sneakily. In the beginning, the patient feels no symptoms or noticeable changes in their body. With time, however, it develops to a dangerously large scale and results in severe health problems such as infertility, obesity, joint pain, heart diseases, and more.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Since the severity of this disorder is governed by the hormone deficiency in one’s body, the symptoms and signs vary. Two of the most common and noticeable symptoms of this endocrine disorder are weight gain and fatigue. But these symptoms can be mischaracterized and attributed to many other reasons as well, like aging.
Here’s a list of the most common symptoms observed in hypothyroid patients
- Weight gain
- Hypersensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Joint pain
Causes of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism upsets the general working of a patient’s body by not allowing it to produce the hormones they need. There is no specific cause why this endocrine disorder occurs, but it can be narrowed down to a few important things.
The thyroid gland produces two very important hormones, namely thyroxine, and triiodothyronine. These hormones govern your metabolism and greatly influence all aspects of your health. Several vital functions of the body, such as heart rate and temperature, are also controlled by thyroxine and triiodothyronine.
Here are the most significant causes for hypothyroidism:
- Autoimmune Thyroiditis: In the West, the predominant cause of hypothyroidism is autoimmune thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s disease. This condition causes your body to produce antibodies that attack your thyroid. The antibodies are a threat to your tissues and therefore cause self-deterioration. The cause behind autoimmune diseases such as this one is still being debated; however, it is suspected that an environmental trigger combined with any problem with a person’s genes may be the underlying reason.
- Hyperthyroidism Treatment: Hyperthyroidism is the condition where your thyroid gland produces excessive and unhealthy amounts of hormones. Such patients are treated with antithyroid medicines and radioactive iodine to bring their hormone quantities back to normal. However, oftentimes, the body responds to this treatment, and patients develop permanent hypothyroidism as a result.
- Medicinal Side Effects: Numerous medicines can cause hypothyroidism, as well as strengthen it in cases where it already exists. One such medicine is Lithium, which is mainly used to treat bipolar disorder and other psychiatric issues. However, it can adversely affect your thyroid gland’s ability to function properly, so this needs to be kept in mind.
- Radiation: Radioactive therapy is commonly used to treat cancer and tumors around the head or neck. The radiation process can also damage one’s thyroid gland, triggering hypothyroidism.
- Thyroid Surgery: Removal of all or a big part of one’s thyroid gland through surgery can also lead to hypothyroidism. In this case, the patient has to take hormone supplements for the rest of their life.
Consequences of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism can cause many devastating complications if it is not treated immediately and properly. Some of these consequences are listed below.
- Goiter: If the thyroid gland is not producing enough hormones for the body, it gets overstimulated. This overstimulation leads to the thyroid gland becoming larger, in a condition known as goiter. Although it is not known to be uncomfortable for the patient, goiter can negatively affect the swallowing, breathing, and appearance of a person.
- Heart Failure: Hypothyroidism can result in dangerously high levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. This can cause general heart problems and even complete heart failure in extreme cases.
- Infertility: A lack of a proper hormone supply can damage the ovulation process, eventually leading to infertility. Furthermore, autoimmune diseases, in general, are also known to impair fertility.
Synthroid and Eltroxin for Hypothyroidism Treatment
Synthroid, generically known as Levothyroxine, is one of the most commonly used and effective treatments for hypothyroidism. It is a manufactured or synthesized form of the aforementioned hormone, thyroxine.
Eltroxin, another common treatment for the condition, is a commercially known tablet that contains Levothyroxine. The expected pharmacological effect of Eltroxin is to increase the hampered metabolism of the patient’s body.
Over the years, several studies have established the efficacy of Levothyroxine (such as Synthroid and Eltroxin) in treating this condition. For instance, according to data analyzed by StuffThatWorks.health, using Synthroid, Eltroxin, and other forms of Levothyroxine for the treatment of hypothyroidism was found to have worked for 72% of the people who tried it.
Eltroxin is prescribed to treat three different types of hypothyroidism – congenital (children that are born with hypothyroidism), neonatal (who develop the disorder in their first year of life), and children with myxoedema.
Levothyroxine has a 7-day half-life; therefore, it is to be used daily. Excluding any significant comorbidities, 1.6 micrograms of Levothyroxine per kilogram of body weight is a safe and effective dosage. Though this dosage is recommended according to accepted research, the right amount may vary slightly.
Hypothyroidism is one of the most prevalent endocrine disorders. The fact that patients usually detect it at later stages is what makes it dangerous. In this article, we tried to cover what hypothyroidism is, its causes, symptoms, and possible consequences, and how Synthroid and Eltroxin can help treat it. We hope this article will help you diagnose and fight this condition in a better way, should you or anyone close to you suffer from it!