The medical term for an underactive thyroid is hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid doesn’t supply enough of the hormone thyroxine. The chance of an underactive thyroid problem increases with age; approximately 1 in 6 adults over 60 have an underactive thyroid
Familiar symptoms related with an underactive thyroid include the following:
Increased flow during menstruation
Dry skin and hair
This is just a picture of some of the many symptoms that could be a clue to an underactive thyroid.
There are various more and if left undiagnosed and untreated, there could be some major implications. Untreated underactive thyroid can possibly cause a vital condition called myxedema coma. This would only occur should thyroid hormones reach a very low level when very low blood pressure and very low blood sugar could possibly trigger loss of consciousness.
An underactive thyroid could lead to heart problems, speech problems, infertility or miscarriage and even potential birth defects. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms leading you to suspect you have a thyroid disorder, all that is needed is a trip to the doctor who will undertake a blood test to decide if any thyroxine hormone replacement is required.
Approximately two thirds of everyone who has a thyroid disorder has the underactive thyroid disorder (hypothyroidism), rather than the overactive thyroid disorder (hyperthyroidism).
There is no treatment that can make the thyroid produce the hormone thyroxine again.
Consequently, the treatment consists of prescriptions to substitute the hormone that is no longer being produced. As this is the case, sufferers of an underactive thyroid would be required to take pills for the rest of their life to maintain the correct amount of thyroxine required for full health. A small price to pay for being returned to good health.
Regular testing for any thyroid disorder is essential for aging adults as the symptoms that are present could also be put down as ‘old age’, such as constipation, dry skin and aching muscles. When in it is an underactive thyroid that is causing the problems.
Having an underactive thyroid, although inconvenient because of having to take prescription daily, is not a disability. Once diagnosed and treatment has begun, any objectionable symptoms will soon subside.