If you struggle with generic symptoms like fatigue, dry skin, muscle aches, and weight gain, you may have hypothyroidism. At RGV Endocrine Center in McAllen, Texas, Gloria Ortiz, MD, FACE, ECNU, and Amanda Cantu, MD, ABIM, have extensive experience treating hypothyroidism, restoring your energy and overall health with ongoing medical care. To schedule an appointment, call the office today.
Hypothyroidism, also called an underactive thyroid, occurs when your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones to keep your body healthy. You can develop primary or secondary hypothyroidism:
This type of hypothyroidism occurs when a problem directly affects the thyroid gland, stopping it from producing and releasing hormones. The most common cause is Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system attacks and damages the thyroid gland.
Other possible causes of primary hypothyroidism include thyroid inflammation (thyroiditis), treatment for an overactive thyroid, radiation therapy to your head or neck, and inherited conditions. Though it’s rare in the United States, an iodine deficiency also causes hypothyroidism.
Secondary hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid’s hormone production is affected by a problem outside the gland. This problem could be caused by tumors affecting the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, radiation therapy to the brain, and medications such as prednisone, opioids, and dopamine.
The hormones secreted by your thyroid gland regulate your metabolism and affect nearly every part of the body. Your heart rate, body weight, muscle strength, cholesterol levels, and body temperature are just a few examples of the systems that depend on thyroid hormones.
As a result, you can also experience many possible symptoms. These are some of the most common:
Keep in mind that you won’t have all of these symptoms. Additionally, each person develops their own group of symptoms.
Your RGV Endocrine Center provider does blood tests to verify your thyroid hormone levels. If you have secondary hypothyroidism, they determine the underlying cause and then develop a treatment plan to take care of the problem.
Otherwise, the only treatment for hypothyroidism is hormone replacement therapy. Your provider may prescribe one of several medications to restore normal thyroid hormone levels. For example, levothyroxine is a thyroid medication that’s identical to the hormones normally produced in the gland.
You have blood tests every 6-8 weeks when you first start taking thyroid hormones. This step ensures you have the right dose. Once your levels are stabilized, you don’t need such frequent blood tests.
If you have hypothyroidism symptoms, call RGV Endocrine Center to schedule an appointment today.