Low Metabolism & Weight Gain Caused by Thyroid Gland
What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism - also known as Under-Active Thyroid - is an underactivity of the thyroid gland resulting in too little production of thyroid hormone known as thyroxin which is an iodine-containing substance which helps control the body's metabolism (ie. rate at which food is converted into energy).
Hypothyroidism & Weight Gain
Hypothyroidism is a common problem among overweight women. Hypothyroidism slows down metabolic rate and often causes weight gain. If you experience unusual weight gain, arrange a blood test with your doctor. If hypothyroidism is diagnosed and corrected (e.g. with medication) your metabolic rate and weight level should return to normal.
Hypothyroidism & Weight Loss
Even while on medication, overweight people with hypothyroidism may experience difficulty with weight loss. In this case, close attention to diet and exercise - as well as maintaining correct medication dosage - should prove effective in helping to lose weight. Exercise is especially important for weight loss among hypothyroidism sufferers.
Hypothyroidism - Thyroid Gland
The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland located in front of and on both sides of the lower throat just below the level of the Adam's apple. Its only known function is to synthesize the thyroid hormone. However, the thyroid gland is influenced by the pituitary gland which produces a thyroid- stimulating hormone (TSH, thyrotopin), but the pituitary gland itself is stimulated by a hormone produced in the hypothalamic area of the brain.
Hypothyroidism - Known Causes
Hypothyroidism may therefore be caused not only by a disorder of the thyroid gland itself , but also by a variety of diseases that affect the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Hashimoto's disease, or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid), is the most common cause in the U.K.
An Iodine deficient diet can also cause hypothyroidism as can surgery and drugs (e.g. iodides, lithium, phenylbutazone), and it may also be caused congenitally. Idiopathic (cause unknown) hypothyroidism is believed to be a disease of the immune system and is associated with underactivity of other endocrine glands and immune disorders such as systemic lupus, erythematosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Adult Hypothyroidism - Symptoms
The symptoms of adult onset hypothyroidism result from an overall slowing of body metabolism. The onset is usually gradual and, in most instances, the person may not recognize the early signs and symptoms which include: fatigue, lack of energy, intolerance of cold temperatures, constipation, heavy menstrual periods, and weight gain despite a diminishing appetite.
Hypothyroidism - Evaluation & Diagnosis
Hypothyroidsim is often not diagnosed in the early stages because the signs and symptoms in adults are initially nonspecific but an alert physician will always consider it in cases of chronic or unusual fatigue, unusual weight gain, obesity, constipation dry skin.
Hypothyroidism - Conventional Treatment
Medical treatment is most commonly an orally administered, synthetic preparation of L-thryoxine (Synthroid). In order not to "shock" the system or aggravate co-existing heart disease in older persons, the drug is first administered in small doses and gradually increased over a period of several months. The proper maintenance dose is determined individually by measuring blood hormone levels.
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