If you have been fighting unexplained weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, constipation, and possibly a hoarse voice, you may want to check up on the function of your thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism is an auto-immune disorder in which your body sees your thyroid gland as “foreign” and sets out to “neutralize it”. This auto-assault slows down the hormone production within your thyroid gland, and thus a full body “slow down” results—particularly of your metabolism.
Seated in the front of your throat just below your Adam’s apple, the thyroid gland will become enlarged—sometimes quite notably—as a result of any form of thyroid disease. The primary cause of an under active thyroid (hypothyroidism) is Hashimoto’s disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. While it is more common to find this problem beginning in middle-age, younger people can succumb to this disease, as is the case with both of my children who, before they were even teenagers, were identified to have this condition.
A positive diagnosis is made via blood work, along with a physical and ultrasound (sonogram) examination performed under the care of an endocrinologist. Once hypothyroidism has been diagnosed, treatment is usually a breeze—one small prescription pill taken each morning of a synthetic thyroid hormone (Synthroid® or its generic, levothyroxine). The only aspect of care that takes a bit of time is discovering the best level of hormone supplement to take, as this process is somewhat of a guess-and-see (and rerun the blood tests) sort of deal.
Experiencing life with two “Hashimoto-kids” myself, I can honestly say that once your thyroid hormone level has been restored to normal, life is unaffected beyond the one-pill regime and the once or twice a year recheck.
Living with treated hypothyroidism makes you wonder why you ever waited so long to get yourself checked out. So quit speculating and “Just do it!”