Overview of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is an endocrine condition resulting from low levels of thyroid hormone. This disorder can be primary, secondary, or tertiary. With the primary process, the thyroid gland cannot produce adequate amounts of this hormone. With secondary causes, the gland functions normally, but there is a low secretion of thyrotropin, and the thyroid does not produce sufficient levels of thyroid hormone. With tertiary causes, the brain does not know to release the stimulating substance (called thyroid stimulating hormone or TSH) that leads to production of thyroid hormone. In the U.S., an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto disease is the most prevalent hypothyroidism cause.
Prevalence of Thyroid Disease
According to a large survey conducted between 1999 and 2002, as many as 3.7% of the adult American population is affected by hypothyroidism. In less-developed regions of the world, iodine deficiency is a common cause of this disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) found that more than 30% of the global population have inadequate iodine intake. This condition is more common among older people, affecting as many as 15% of the elderly. According to a report conducted by Sawin and associates, hypothyroidism occurs in approximately 6% of women and 2.5% of men older than age 60 years.
Hypothyroidism Signs and Symptoms
There are many clinical manifestations of hypothyroidism. Many are profound and compelling, while others are subtle and nonspecific. The Patient’s Choice Medical Center offers affordable laboratory diagnostics for those with these symptoms. The complete set of labs and physician evaluation is only $90, compared to $200 at other clinics.
Some of the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
• Weight gain
• Dry skin
• Cold intolerance
• Joint and muscle pain
• Weakness of the arms and legs
• Forgetfulness and impaired memory
• Blurred vision
Diagnosis of Thyroid Disease
To diagnose this condition, the healthcare professionals must evaluate a test called the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) assay, in addition to measurements of free thyroxine (T4) and free thyroxine index (FTI) levels. Abnormalities in these values are diagnostic of hypothyroidism. Other lab work may be necessary to assess for anemia, high cholesterol, kidney function, and liver function, depending on the severity of the disease.
At Patient First Wellness, the Las Vegas doctors can offer treatment options for hypothyroidism. For most healthy people, a simple monotherapy medication will likely be effective. With mild to moderate hypothyroidism, one daily dose will suffice, and clinical benefits are seen in as little as three to six days. Follow-up care and monitoring is necessary, and you will need to return in six to eight weeks for another visit. For severe cases, a combination therapy approach may be warranted.
Researchers Say Hypothyroidism can affect Quality of Life
Apparently, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) can lead to lower quality of live even when the thyroid gland is functioning optimally. Researchers Ott and colleagues (2011) conducted a study evaluating this disease and the symptoms associated with it. Women in Vienna, Austria were evaluated based on antibody levels and levels of TSH. The investigators found that hypothyroidism is just one factor that causes symptoms. Basically, they advise that even with treatment, people who suffer with this condition will continue to have some symptoms even on optimal doses of thyroid replacement medications.
An organization called the Thyroid-Multidisciplinary Clinic performs many thyroid biopsies for cancer screening, and they find that Hashimoto thyroiditis is often diagnosed from these tests. A study involving over 800 patients with thyroid masses was led by Dr. Staii (2010). Over a 2.5 year period, the investigators performed fine-needle aspiration biopsies and cytology testing. They found that out of this group of patients, over 13% had hypothyroidism, more than 7% had sub-clinical disease, and as many as 6% had actual low levels. The investigators concluded that Hashimoto’s disease is more quite prevalent and underdiagnosed.
Hypothyroidism is a common disease, affecting the aging adult population of Las Vegas. You do not need a referral to Patient’s Choice Medical Center to be evaluated for this condition or other illnesses, just call (702) 474-6300 to schedule an appointment. Licensed medical doctors can treat both acute and chronic illnesses, such as hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, sinus infections, shingles, and erectile dysfunction. This healthcare facility does not accept insurance because they offer low cost medical care for cheaper rates than most insurance company co-pays.