Valdosta Specialty Clinic
Rheumatology & Endocrinology located in Valdosta, GA
About 5 in 100 Americans have hypothyroidism. If you have chronic fatigue, severe cold sensitivity, unexplained weight gain, joint pain, or other troubling issues, it’s time for an evaluation with the caring experts at Valdosta Specialty Clinic. In their Valdosta, Georgia, office, the empathetic specialists offer the best in hypothyroidism care. Call the office to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid gland — the small butterfly-shaped gland in your neck — doesn't produce enough hormones. You need thyroid hormones because they change oxygen and calories into energy for your body to use, a process called metabolism.
Every part of your body, including your cardiovascular and digestive systems, needs thyroid hormone to function correctly. So, it’s probably not a surprise to learn that hypothyroidism can cause body-wide symptoms.
What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?
The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism are:
- Frequent exhaustion
- Unexplained weight gain
- Feeling cold very easily
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Menstrual problems, like heavy bleeding
- Poor memory
You may also have a goiter, a bump in your neck that indicates an enlarged thyroid gland.
What causes hypothyroidism?
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto's disease, a condition where your immune system damages your thyroid gland. Other causes include:
- Thyroid inflammation (thyroiditis)
- Surgical thyroid gland removal
- Radiation cancer treatment of the head or neck
- Overreaction to hyperthyroidism treatment
- Medications like lithium and certain heart medications
Some rarer causes of hypothyroidism include iodine deficiency, pituitary disorders, pregnancy complications, and congenital disease.
How is hypothyroidism diagnosed?
Your Valdosta Specialty Clinic endocrinologist reviews your history and conducts a physical exam. They may suspect hypothyroidism based upon your symptoms and exam, but you need lab tests to verify the disease.
Blood tests evaluate your thyroid-stimulating hormone level. You may also need blood tests to check your thyroid hormone and thyroid antibodies or neck imaging tests.
What is the best treatment for hypothyroidism?
If you have hypothyroidism, you need daily thyroid hormone replacement. Your body uses synthetic hormones such as levothyroxine in the same way it uses its own natural hormone; this medication can successfully restore normal thyroid function.
With your thyroid hormone levels restored, your hypothyroid symptoms diminish. At six to eight weeks after you start hormone replacement, your endocrinologist reevaluates your initial dosage through blood testing.
Depending on how your symptoms respond and your blood test results, your endocrinologist may adjust your hormone dosage. Once you find the ideal dosage, you'll continue your medication long-term with blood testing once or twice a year.
Hypothyroidism may seem like a worrying diagnosis, but it’s a very treatable condition thanks to advances in medical management. Reach out to Valdosta Specialty Clinic by phone for hypothyroidism support or schedule an appointment online today.
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