A thyroid disorder called hypothyroidism means you have an underactive thyroid gland. If you have trouble losing weight no matter what you do, it could be because you are hypothyroid. There are almost 30 million Americans with thyroid disease and women are 7 times more likely than men to have it. Hypothyroid is the most common thyroid disorder and often misdiagnosed by doctors.
You may get this because it is inherited, or because of previous problems, such as nodules, goiter, thyroid cancer, previous thyroid surgery, another autoimmune disease.
This is a condition where the thyroid gland, a small butterfly shaped organ located at the base of the neck, does not produce enough hormone to function properly.
What happens is that it takes in iodine, combines it with tyrosine (an amino acid) and converts it into the hormones T4 and T3. If your thyroid is normal, 80% will be T4 and 20% T3. These hormones travel through the bloodstream, converting oxygen and calories into energy. If this process doesn’t work properly, then the calories and oxygen cannot convert the energy properly and you may gain weight or incapability to lose weight.
The symptoms can include : weight gain, depression, forgetfulness, fatigue, hoarseness, high cholesterol, constipation, feeling cold, hair loss, dry skin, low sex drive, tingling hands or feet, irregular periods, infertility. You may even experience recurrent pregnancy loss, resistant high cholesterol, difficult menopause, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, or mitral valve prolapse.
Do you feel sluggish and fatigued on a regular basis, or do you get bouts of depression and sadness? Are you always feeling cold, especially your hands and feet, or do you have brittle nails? These are just some of the possible signs of the disease. There may be other causes, but at least this may give you a clue as to why you do not feel well. Check with your doctor in all cases to be sure.
When your metabolism doesn't work right because you have this disorder, you may find that there's no amount of dieting or exercise that takes the weight off. You may in fact put on extra pounds, even though you are doing just what you are supposed to.
What can you do ? Meet with your doctor and ask if you need a thyroid examination and blood test. These likely will be a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) blood test, along with T4, T3, Free T4 and Free T3 tests.
A drug called levothyroxine (often called Levo-T, Levoxyl, Synthroid, Unithroid) may be prescribed for you. It is usually inexpensive, has minimal side effects, and has uniform potency. However, all thyroid hormone replacement therapies, whether natural or synthetic, have the ability to restore thyroid hormone levels.
Supplements that contain the following might also help:
- L-Tyrosine - is one of the amino acids that your body needs to make thyroid hormones. It is included in some weight control products because it works to stimulate your metabolism. It's also an element in helping your brain operate more efficiently which makes you feel better.
- Guglipid - an extract from the Indian guggal tree, may improve thyroid function and assist in controlling your weight. Scientists are finding that guglipid lowers bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol, and thus can help somewhat to prevent heart disease.
There is always hope and lots of help out there for you. If you suspect that you have this condition and you are not sure what to do, talk to your physician for guidance and advice.