Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, is a condition that occurs when your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. About 5% of all Americans ages 12 and over have hypothyroidism, making it one of the most common endocrine disorders in the country.
Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck. The hormones it makes are crucial in regulating your body's metabolism. But if you have hypothyroidism, your body doesn’t have enough of these hormones — and several unpleasant symptoms can result.
Fortunately, hypothyroidism is treatable. Our team at Endocrine Associates of West Village specializes in advanced thyroid and parathyroid care, and we’re dedicated to helping you find treatment to help you feel your best.
Hypothyroidism means your body makes too little of certain thyroid hormones. Without enough of these hormones, your metabolism slows down, leading to various symptoms. Here are seven of the most common symptoms to watch out for:
One of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism is fatigue. Your metabolism converts food into energy, and a slow metabolism can leave you feeling lethargic and fatigued. If you always feel tired, even after getting a full night's sleep, it could be a sign of an underactive thyroid.
A slow metabolism can cause weight gain, even if you’re not eating more or exercising less. If you’ve noticed an unexpected increase in weight, especially around your midsection, it could be a sign of hypothyroidism.
Low levels of thyroid hormones can also cause weakness and muscle aches. Along with weight gain, some people with hypothyroidism notice declining physical strength and increasing muscle weakness.
Your thyroid gland helps regulate your body's production of oil and moisture. If you have hypothyroidism, you might notice that your skin is dry, flaky, or coarse. Hypothyroidism can also affect your ability to sweat, so you could start sweating less than usual.
Hair growth is also controlled by hormones, and underactive thyroid can lead to hair loss. Low thyroid hormone levels can make your hair fall out at the root, and it may not be replaced by new hair. You might experience hair loss or thinning across your scalp or in your eyebrows.
Among other functions, your thyroid gland helps regulate your body temperature. An underactive thyroid and a slow metabolism both impact your body’s ability to stay warm. That means people with hypothyroidism may always feel cold, even when it’s warm outside.
A slow metabolism slows down your digestive process, so hypothyroidism can lead to constipation because your intestines process food more slowly. If you are experiencing persistent constipation, it could be a sign of hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism can also cause mood changes, including sadness or depression. Fatigue and low energy can slow down brain function, which some people experience as depression. If you’ve noticed a change in your mood or difficulty concentrating, it could be a sign of an underactive thyroid.
Don’t wait to have your thyroid checked out if any of the above symptoms sound familiar to you. Hypothyroidism won’t go away on its own, and your symptoms may worsen over time.
Our Endocrine Associates of West Village team has the experience and services you need to get a diagnosis and start treatment. We perform a blood test to check your thyroid hormone levels and determine if you have hypothyroidism.
The most effective treatment for most people with hypothyroidism is medication. We may prescribe a synthetic thyroid hormone, levothyroxine, that you take once a day, every day. You can expect an improvement in symptoms within about two weeks of starting the medication.
Are you concerned you might have hypothyroidism? Book an appointment with the experts at Endocrine Associates of West Village in Long Island City and New York, New York, to get the care you need.