Definition of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism, a common endocrine condition, is defined as insufficient hormone production of the thyroid gland. About 3% of the general population, that is more than 13 million Americans, suffer from this condition.
Function of the Thyroid Gland
The thyroid gland has important functions in the human body. It is the main regulator of activity levels and operates through specific hormones which produce certain effects on their target cells. Thyroid hormones are usually abbreviated T3 and T4, and as opposed to other hormones produced by other glands, almost every cell in our body responds to their action. Because of this, an abnormal amount of any of the hormones will have a generalized effect on body metabolism and function.
The most common cause of insufficient thyroid hormone production is iodine deficiency, but a congenital disease, severe stress and thyroid removal surgery may also provoke hyperthyroidism.
Because thyroid hormones T3 and T4 have a general stimulatory effect on the speed of chemical reactions of our body, their action consists of:
- increased attention
- higher heart rate
- higher temperature of the body,
- increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for stress response
- mobilization of body reserve resources
- increased muscular activity.
Thus it is logical that the symptoms of hypothyroidism will include fatigue, decreased body temperature and decreased sweating, lower heart rate and lower general activity level. Patients suffering from hypothyroidism are generally overweight due to the insufficient calories burning function of the body caused by low thyroid hormone levels. In a simplified manner, hypothyroidism can be viewed as a general low activity status of the whole body, including the nervous system. Specific brain symptoms of the disease include lack of attention, sleepiness, low productivity and fatigue.
Although the disease itself has multiple symptoms and negative effects on the human body, the treatment is surprisingly simple and comprehensive. When the main cause of the disease is insufficient diet intake of iodine, treatment consists of supplementation of iodine pills and a diet rich in sea food, which contains high amounts of iodine and also other minerals. In some cases your doctor may prescribe a hormone replacement therapy that will adjust your thyroid hormone levels. The most commonly indicated drug for this purpose is Synthroid.
Reduction of stress, a healthy diet and regular exercise will also greatly improve your endrocine health and will be a great weapon in the battle with fatigue and low productivity.