While latent hypothyroidism is hardly noticeable in those affected and can only be detected by a detailed hypothyroidism test in the blood, an increased hormone deficiency causes severe symptoms that can considerably restrict the quality of life of an affected person.
Hypothyroidism is the lack of or reduced production of the hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine in the thyroid gland. These two important hormones are significantly involved in the regulation of human metabolism and thus also in energy balance and the associated performance.
A permanently low hormone level affects the performance of the body, the circulation as well as the mental well-being of the person. Hypothyroidism can only be cured in a few cases and often requires lifelong use of the appropriate medication to regulate the hypothyroidism as well as regular routine examinations by the treating specialist.
Causes of hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism can have various causes. In rare cases, the organ is already disturbed at birth, while most patients are only affected by hypothyroidism with increasing age due to permanent iodine deficiency or acute thyroiditis. In some cases, the disease is caused by a disturbance in the centres of the brain responsible for hormone production.
Specialists distinguish between different forms of hypothyroidism:
- Primary hypothyroidism: the cause of the hormone deficiency lies in the organ itself and is triggered by an already congenital hypothyroidism due to a missing or malfunctioning thyroid gland, and acquired hypothyroidism, which is caused by the common autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
- Secondary hypothyroidism: this form of hypothyroidism is rather rare and can usually be traced back to a malfunction of the pituitary gland (hypophysis) in the brain. The causes of this malfunction can be an operative removal of the pituitary gland, a tumour or a craniocerebral trauma.
- Tertiary hypothyroidism: the rarest form of hypothyroidism, caused by a disorder of the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is responsible for the production of the hormone TRH in the brain and thus indirectly plays a role in the production of the important thyroid hormones.
What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?
The disease usually develops gradually over a long period of time before those affected experience the first signs of hypothyroidism. For this reason, it is often only recognised late and can only be identified as hypothyroidism by the treating doctor through the corresponding values in the blood.
The different symptoms are more pronounced in some patients than in others, or in some cases do not come to the fore at all.
The most common signs of hypothyroidism:
- Sensitivity to cold
- Lack of drive, constant tiredness and reduced performance
- Impaired concentration
- Depressive moods
- Circulatory problems and pale skin
- Low blood pressure
- Weight gain despite normal eating habits
- Disturbance of the menstrual cycle in women; young women who wish to have children are usually affected by reduced or no ability to conceive if they have hypothyroidism
- Swelling of the connective tissue in the arms, legs and face.
- Brittle nails and hair and hair loss
- Muscle pain or stiffness of muscle tissue
- Reduced sexual desire and impotence
Can you lose weight if you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism?
Many people affected by hypothyroidism suffer from overweight, which is due to the lack of or reduced hormone production by the organ. In order to counteract the unwanted weight gain, the first important step towards a normal weight is the appropriate medication with the appropriate hypothyroidism tablets after a clear diagnosis by the treating doctor.
By taking artificial thyroid hormones in tablet form, the metabolism is brought back to normal and thus creates the basis for successful weight loss. The most important building blocks for permanently losing the extra pounds are a balanced diet and sufficient exercise.
With the help of a special diet plan and an active fitness programme, those affected by hypothyroidism can not only lose weight, but also keep it off permanently.
Hypothyroidism during pregnancy
Women who are diagnosed with hypothyroidism before or during pregnancy require special medical attention from their attending physician.
While the demands on the female thyroid during pregnancy are already particularly high for women who do not have the disease, it poses a special challenge for those affected by thyroid disease.
Pregnant women need a higher intake of iodine. In many cases, this cannot be guaranteed through diet alone and requires the intake of additional iodine tablets.
If hypothyroidism occurs before or during pregnancy, it must be treated immediately by taking the artificial thyroid hormone levothyroxine, as the hormone deficiency can cause severe malformations of the unborn child or lead to a miscarriage.
Which treatment methods are successful for hypothyroidism?
The missing or low levels of thyroid hormones are usually replaced after medical diagnosis by taking the artificial hormone L-thyroxine, which takes over the job of the organ’s naturally produced hormones. The L-thyroxine tablets must be taken daily in the morning on an empty stomach.
Treatment starts with a low dosage of the hormone and is slowly increased step by step.
Treatment of hypothyroidism with homeopathic remedies
Homeopathy has already been successfully used in the treatment and healing of various diseases and also offers effective natural remedies in the field of thyroid disorders that alleviate discomfort and positively influence the course of the disease.
With minerals such as graphites or pulsatilla, which not only promise relief from skin rashes, but also effectively counteract constipation, fatigue and obesity, homeopathy takes the natural route to treating hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism – a healthy diet is especially important
People suffering from hypothyroidism should pay special attention to their diet.
A balanced intake of iodine, magnesium, essential minerals, vitamins and trace elements can positively influence the symptoms of the disease and thus considerably improve the patient’s quality of life.
Fish, meat, pre-grain products, pulses, cereals, fruit, vegetables and dairy products should therefore be included in the diet in sufficient quantities every day.