Hypothyroidism, and Thyroid Hormones

Hypothyroidism is a term when the thyroid gland suffers to produce an accurate amount of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland located in the neck. It, along with all other glands, is controlled by the pituitary gland located in the brain. The pituitary gland is in turn controlled by the hypothalamus, which is discovered to control various bodily maintenance activities. The hypothalamus releases a hormone called thyrotropin (TRH), to trigger the pituitary to signal the thyroid gland. The Pituitary gland receives the signal and then sends a thyroid simulating hormone (TSH) to the thyroid. The thyroid then receives this signal and creates thyroid hormones to send throughout the body.

The main hormones produced are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The thyroid produces about 99% of T4 and 1% of T3. T3 controls most of the biological functions in the body. It is a very active hormone that affects the metabolism of cells in the body. After released into the blood stream most of the T4 is converted into T3.

The main cause of hypothyroidism varies depending on the individual. In some cases, it can be cause by a lack of TRH produced to signal the pituitary gland. For others, it may be caused by a lack of TSH produced to signal the production of thyroid hormones. However, the main cause for many is that the thyroid is unable to synthesize the correct amounts of thyroid hormones.

There are many symptoms of hypothyroidism that are often subtle and symptoms of other conditions. Some of the more common symptoms are fatigue, depression, moderate weight gain, sensitivity to cold, decreased concentration, and excessive sleepiness. Not all of the symptoms occur with individuals and some cases maybe more sever than others.

I used to experience some of these same symptoms and others. I went on for a while not knowing what was going on. I first thought it was maybe allergies or stress. I was constantly tired and would come home from school and fall asleep on the couch for a few hours. Sleeping helped to sleep and to get my mind away from the constant itch. Some place on my body would itch and I would scratch it just like normal. However I would scratch it, it would stay red for a long time and in some places would swell up like welts. This alerted my parents that maybe something was wrong. We reduced the itch, when we found I was allergic to the laundry detergent, but the symptoms stayed the same. We went to the doctor and a simple blood test showed that I had low thyroid. He prescribed a 30 mg thyroid tablet. Since then I have noticed an improvement of my concentration, I’m not as tired as normal, and I don’t swell up when I scratch myself.

Hypothyroidism is not an immediate life threatening condition, but shouldn’t be left untreated. It is not hard to diagnose or treat. I have no problem taking a pill that is the size of a freckle every morning. I don’t exactly know what part of the hormone chain isn’t fully functional, but doesn’t mean I can’t treat it.

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