Hypothyroidism: Eight questions about thyroid disease

It has no cure, but treatment ensures quality of life of patients

The thyroid is an endocrine gland that exists to harmonize the functioning of the body.Located in the neck is responsible for producing two hormones T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine), which stimulate the metabolism and interfere with the performance of organs such as the heart and kidneys, leaving intact the menstrual cycle. According to the IBGE, endocrine disorders such as diabetes, obesity and thyroid dysfunction in the account for the second cause that kills women in the country (7.8%), second only to cardiovascular disease.

For all its importance, the thyroid gland needs be in perfect order. When this happens, the body itself gives the alert. The most common types of thyroid dysfunction are:

1. hyperthyroidism (excessive release of hormones that greatly accelerate the metabolism);

2. hypothyroidism (gland releases T3 and T4 fewer than necessary). In the second and more common, the hypothyroidism , the most common symptoms are depression, fatigue, drowsiness, dry skin, swelling of the eyes, mental and physical sluggishness. The disease usually reach several members of the same family. However, the diagnosis is not always easy, because the symptoms can be attributed to other diseases that manifest themselves similarly as depression and anemia. Next, the endocrinologist Laura Ward, Unicamp explains eight most common questions about hypothyroidism.

1.The symptoms can be identified clearly?

Tiredness - Photo: Getty Images
Tiredness

The symptoms, unfortunately, are not very specific and settle slowly, which can confuse people. Furthermore, they can achieve various organs, for the thyroid it is important to regulate the operation of some systems of the body, such as cardiovascular, and nervous stomach. They are feeling cold, even when the temperature is not low; discouragement; lack of interest of all kinds, including interest in ordinary or pleasurable activities; slowness of speech, thought and heart rate; problems in the bowel (constipation, constipation), slowness of reflexes; dry skin; hair and brittle nails.

2. Why hypothyroidism occurs more in women and is manifested predominantly from a certain age?

It is not known exactly why the disorder affects more women, but it is believed that one of the factors is the highest incidence in menopausal stage of Hashimoto’s disease, or chronic thyroiditis, autoimmune thyroid disease where the body produces antibodies attack the thyroid, making this disorder the main cause of hypothyroidism. During perimenopause, the period in which the autoimmune diseases are more common, it is possible that the metabolism of hormones such as estrogen, is producing triggers for autoimmune diseases, including Hashimoto’s disease.

3. How to know if I’m in the risk group of the disease?

Risk factors for hypothyroidism: the existence of other autoimmune diseases (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, vitiligo, type 1 diabetes), the presence of goiter (thyroid volume increase) and the presence of thyroid disease in the family.

4. What tests are usually done for diagnosis?

Neck - Photo: Getty Images
Neck

They should be performed periodically? The most common test to identify levels of thyroid hormones called dosage serum TSH. It is recommended that all people over 60 hold an annual TSH dosage and women, particularly those with risk factors, Dosem TSH from 30 years. Also, pregnant women should also perform the examination periodically.

5.The hypothyroidism is curable?

There is no definitive cure for the disease, but control can cause the patient take a normal life. The most common treatment is done with hormone replacement, usually with synthetic thyroid hormone, usually in tablet form, which must be taken daily for life. But it warned: if you are lacking or excessive medication may appear opposite symptoms ofhyperthyroidism . The most common are: physical and mental agitation, insomnia, irritability and weight loss.

6. What are the possible severe consequences if left untreated?

The lack of thyroid hormone can lead to myxedema coma, which is when the patient has drop in body temperature and is the slowness of all body functions. This leads to a weakening of the immune system, facilitating the installation of other diseases such as pneumonia and infections. Hypothyroidism can also significantly affect the heart and bones, so it is important to follow the treatment prescribed by the doctor.

7.The hypothyroidism causes weight gain?

There is a complex relationship between thyroid disease, body weight and metabolism. Thyroid hormones also regulate metabolism and basal metabolic rate can also decrease in most patients with hypothyroidism due to low in hormones. However, this weight gain is smaller and less dramatic than occurs in patients with hyperthyroidism.

8. What is essential to control hypothyroidism?

If the patient is on medication adjusted properly, your routine will not be much affected. The recommendation is the same applies to people without the disease, which is to follow a healthy lifestyle. It is essential to maintain a balanced diet, rich in vegetables and fruits. It is also essential to practice regular exercise for weight maintenance to ward off obesity and its negative effects, such as hypertension, diabetes, increased cholesterol and cardiorespiratory problems. There are no major restrictions in relation to physical activities, but before you start exercising the patient should always consult your doctor.

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