Low levels of thyroid hormones, also called hypothyroidism, is a type of thyroid condition that can make you gain weight. If you are hypothyroid, your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones, or your body does not absorb and use the hormones correctly.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
As people get older, the thyroid gland can slow down its production of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones regulate many processes within the body, so if your levels are too low, you will develop signs of hypothyroidism. Since the decrease in hormone production typically happens gradually, people adjust to not feeling as energetic and well as they used to feel. Slowing down can get misinterpreted as normal aging.
Low thyroid levels can cause symptoms like these:
- Gaining weight, even though you do not eat more or exercise less than before.
- Inability to lose weight as easily as in the past.
- Fatigue and exhaustion; even if you get a full night’s sleep, you can wake up tired.
- “Hitting a wall” in the afternoon and struggling to have enough energy to make it through the rest of the workday.
- Feeling cold frequently and being more sensitive to cold temperatures than many of the people around you.
- Weak, stiff, tender, or aching muscles.
- Stiff, swollen, or painful joints.
- Thinning hair.
- Frequent constipation.
- Unusually heavy or irregular menstrual periods.
- Puffiness of the face.
If you are hypothyroid, you might develop memory issues, depression, a slowed heart rate, and higher blood cholesterol levels than usual. If low thyroid goes untreated or becomes severe, you may experience obesity, joint pain, heart disease, and infertility.
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Causes of Hypothyroidism
The human body’s hormonal balance is a delicate system. One factor, like stress or aging, can throw several different hormones out of the healthy range. A person can have an iodine deficiency or a pituitary disorder that causes the thyroid gland to stop producing enough of the thyroid hormones.
More often, however, low thyroid levels happen because the thyroid gland slows down as we age. Other factors may also be responsible, such as:
- Medications: Because the thyroid is such a sensitive gland, many drugs can prevent it from functioning correctly. Lithium, for example, can block the production of thyroid hormones. You might want to check with your doctor about whether any of your medications could be the cause of your hypothyroid symptoms.
- Medical treatments: People who received interventions such as radioactive iodine for an overactive thyroid in the past might become hypothyroid. Your body might overreact to the substance and lose the ability to produce thyroid hormones. You could become hypothyroid permanently. Radiation therapy to the head or neck can also damage the thyroid gland and cause a person to have low thyroid hormone levels.
- Thyroid surgery: If a person has cancer of the thyroid or a goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland), a surgeon might remove some or all of the thyroid gland. In this situation, the person will have to take thyroid hormone replacements for a lifetime.
Evaluating possible causes is a vital aspect of addressing your hypothyroid symptoms.
An Overview of the Thyroid
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the throat. Unless the gland becomes enlarged, you cannot see it, and it is difficult to feel.
The thyroid produces thyroid hormones that affect your growth, ability to keep yourself warm, heart rate, metabolic rate, digestion, maintenance of healthy skin, and fertility. Your metabolic rate is the speed at which your body performs its chemical processes, like burning calories.
Thyroid hormones increase how much oxygen your cells use and stimulate most of the tissues in your body to make proteins. Your metabolic rate is a direct result of these two processes.
If your body is sluggish at performing these chemical functions, you likely have low thyroid levels and a tendency to gain weight. A person whose thyroid gland secretes plenty of hormones that enable their body to perform these tasks quickly will find it much easier to manage their weight.
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What to Expect at Our Wellness Clinic if You Have Signs of Low Thyroid Levels
At HealthGAINS, we will assess your medical history as part of the initial work-up. We will also our own specialized diagnostic testing to obtain clear information about your current condition and possible causes of your underactive thyroid.
We do not use cookie-cutter treatments. Every patient gets evaluated, and then we craft a personalized plan for each individual. Since we are all different, you deserve a customized approach, tailored to your lifestyle, goals, and needs.
We design our treatment plans to pursue your desired results. Your plan could include a combination of several factors, like modifications to your diet and lifestyle, supplements, and prescription bioidentical thyroid replacement hormones.
You can get started with just a phone call. Call HealthGAINS at (305) 912-8828 for a free consultation with one of our professional advisers. You have nothing to lose, except that stubborn, unwanted weight.