Being extremely tired all the time is not the most pleasant thing in the world, especially if it is accompanied by weight gaining. The problem might be not in your diet or stressful work, but in your thyroid gland.
This butterfly-shaped organ is situated in the front of your neck. It usually produces two hormones called thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which make a great influence on your body's functioning.
Thyroid gland keeps under the control your metabolic rate, body temperature, mental health, heart working and muscle strength. If your thyroid stops to synthesize sufficient amount of hormones, all the processes tend to slow down.
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As a result, you may feel exhausted, depressed and sleepy even after having a rest. You may also notice that you've gained weight (without changing your diet or activity). People with hypothyroidism often complain of constipation, cold intolerance, muscle aches and weakness, skin dryness and intensive hair loss.
Lack of thyroid hormones can also affect your reproductive system, causing heavy menstrual bleeding and irregular cycle. Why does actually thyroid gland reduce production of thyroxine and triiodothyronine?
In the majority of cases the reason is about autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto's disease. It appears, if your immune system perceives your own thyroid tissue as foreign agent, and begins to attack it.
The exact causes of this trouble are still unclear. Specialists say that people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis have genetic predisposition to this disease.
Other reasons of underactive thyroid gland include surgical or radiation treatment of hyperthyroidism and consumption of certain medications like amiodarone, lithium, interferon alpha.
In more rare cases people suffer from hypothyroidism because of congenital defects of the thyroid gland, abnormal functioning of the pituitary gland or as a result of too low iodine levels.
Fortunately, in our country iodine deficiency is a sporadic problem, as we've eliminated it by taking iodized salt, seafood, dairy products etc.
Actually not only adults may have thyroid dysfunction. Sometimes babies born with defective or absent butterfly-shaped gland. These children usually have poor growth and intelligence, delayed physical development.
Hypothyroidism can be diagnosed by determination of thyroid hormones levels in the blood. The most common are thyroid-stimulating and T4 tests. The first one shows, how much of thyroxine is required to be produced by the thyroid.
T4 test finds, how much of thyroxine is available to run into cells.
High levels of TSH and decreased content of the T4 indicate hypofunction of the thyroid gland.
Some doctors recommend being tested each year for older women and getting screened for those, who want to conceive or is already pregnant.
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