Hypothyroidism or myxedema is also referred to as having an underactive thyroid 2. Your thyroid is an important organ in the body and is responsible for your metabolism and other important functions. One of the signs of an underactive thyroid can be hunger. If your hunger gets out of control, you can easily gain weight, which leads to further health problems.
Your thyroid gland is located at the base of your neck, below your voice box. It plays a major role in taking iodine and converting into the two major thyroid hormones —triiodothyronine T3 and thyroxine T4. Oftentimes, these hormones are referred to as TSH or total stimulated hormone. These hormones absorb iodine and combine with tyrosine to make T3 and T4 hormones, explains Endocrineweb. Your entire body relies on T3 and T4 hormones for regulation of metabolism. When your body reduces the amount of hormones that it makes, your metabolism throughout your body is affected, resulting in increased cholesterol levels, increased liver enzymes and low sodium levels. This can cause any type of food you intake for fuel to be stored as fat, leading to weight gain. You may also have an increase in appetite, even after a large meal.
- Your thyroid gland is located at the base of your neck, below your voice box.
- When your body reduces the amount of hormones that it makes, your metabolism throughout your body is affected, resulting in increased cholesterol levels, increased liver enzymes and low sodium levels.
What Does a High TSH Level Mean?
Left untreated, hypothyroidism can have damaging effects on your health 2. Your doctor will run specific tests to determine if you have any other form of hypothyroidism, such as Hashimoto's disease, subacute thyroiditis or silent thyroiditis 2. Hashimoto's disease is a chronic or ongoing inflammation of the thyroid gland that results in hypothyroidism 2. It occurs when your immune system reacts against the thyroid gland. Subacute thryoiditis occurs after a respiratory infection and is temporary but requires medical intervention and treatment. Silent thyroiditis is a swelling of the thyroid that results in hyperthyroidism where the thyroid produces excess hormone and then alternates back to an underactive thyroid. With silent thyroiditis you may see changes in your appetite ranging from extreme hunger to loss of appetite.
- Left untreated, hypothyroidism can have damaging effects on your health 2.
- With silent thyroiditis you may see changes in your appetite ranging from extreme hunger to loss of appetite.
While an increase in appetite is often associated with an overactive thyroid, when your TSH levels are low, you may also experience an increase in appetite throughout the day. If you are having trouble swallowing or your doctor feels that your thyroid is enlarged, he may order an X-ray or ultrasound to determine if a goiter is present. A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid where nodules may be present and interfere with speech and breathing.
Niacin & Thyroid Disease
Hypothyroidism is treated through a synthetic hormone such as synthroid that helps take the place of T3 and T4 to help the thyroid function properly 2. Synthetic thyroid therapy will have to be carried out for the rest of your life. Hormone therapy needs to be monitored closely until the right level is reached — a side effect may be an increase in TSH, which could cause your thyroid to become overactive, leading to fast heart rate and weight loss. Radioactive iodine therapy may also be instituted to help shrink your thyroid and control hormone levels.
- Hypothyroidism is treated through a synthetic hormone such as synthroid that helps take the place of T3 and T4 to help the thyroid function properly 2.
- Hormone therapy needs to be monitored closely until the right level is reached — a side effect may be an increase in TSH, which could cause your thyroid to become overactive, leading to fast heart rate and weight loss.
What Does a High TSH Level Mean?
Niacin & Thyroid Disease
Melatonin & Thyroid Disorders
What Is a Normal T4 Thyroid Level?
Iodine & Shrimp
What Does Low TSH Level Mean?
What Are the Causes of Fluctuating Thyroid Levels?
Symptoms of High TSH Levels
Can You Reduce a Goiter with Nutrition?
Salt & Hair Loss
- Endocrineweb.com: How Your Thyroid Works
- PubMed Health: Hypothyroidism
- MayoClinic.com: Hypothyroidism Treatment and Drugs
- Cleveland Clinic: Goiter
- InformedHealth.org. Underactive thyroid: Overview. Updated August 10, 2017.
- Segni M. Disorders of the Thyroid Gland in Infancy, Childhood and Adolescence. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Boyce A, et al., editors. Endotext. Updated March 18, 2017.
- Almandoz JP, Gharib H. Hypothyroidism: etiology, diagnosis, and management. Med Clin North Am. 2012;96(2):203-21. doi:10.1016/j.mcna.2012.01.005
- Biondi B, Wartofsky L. Combination treatment with T4 and T3: toward personalized replacement therapy in hypothyroidism?. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012;97(7):2256-71. doi:10.1210/jc.2011-3399
- Hennessey JV, Espaillat R. Current evidence for the treatment of hypothyroidism with levothyroxine/levotriiodothyronine combination therapy versus levothyroxine monotherapy. Int J Clin Pract. 2018;72(2):e13062. doi:10.1111/ijcp.13062
- Jonklaas J, Bianco AC, Bauer AJ, et al. Guidelines for the treatment of hypothyroidism: prepared by the american thyroid association task force on thyroid hormone replacement. Thyroid. 2014;24(12):1670–1751. doi:10.1089/thy.2014.0028
- Garber J et. al. Clinical Practice Guidelines for Hypothyroidism in Adults: Cosponsored by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American Thyroid Association. Endocr Pract. 2012 Nov-Dec;18(6):988-1028.
- American Thyroid Association. (n.d.). Hypothyroidism (Underactive).
- Braverman, L, Cooper D. Werner & Ingbar's The Thyroid, 10th Edition. WLL/Wolters Kluwer; 2012.
- Surks MI. (2017). Clinical manifestations of hypothyroidism. Ross DS, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc.
- Sworczak K, Wisniewski P. The role of vitamins in the prevention and treatment of thyroid disorders. Endokrynol Pol. 2011;62(4):340-44.
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