Other Causes Of Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism can also result from thyroid nodules. These are lumps that develop inside the thyroid and sometimes begin producing thyroid hormones. Large lumps may create a noticeable goiter. Smaller lumps can be detected with ultrasound. A thyroid uptake and scan can tell if the lump is producing too much thyroid hormone.
Your Thyroid Could Explain Your Fatigue And Other Symptoms
But hypothyroidism may not be the only explanation for your health symptoms.
1 in 4 people on levothyroxine take too much.
One morning in 2011, Cathy Newman woke up in a stupor. “It was like a hangover minus the alcohol,” says the now-34-year-old assistant professor of biology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. She tried to sleep it off, but fatigue dogged her like a shadow. She’d been sluggish from stress and work before, but this was differenther exhaustion went “bone-deep.”
After blood tests for mononucleosis, anemia, and thyroid-stimulating hormone all came back normal, Newman settled into a diminished version of her old life: Since childhood she had been a focused, ambitious morning person now her thinking was fuzzy, her motivation flagged, and she had to drag herself from bed.
But Newman had her thyroid checked twice more, and in 2014, the results put her in the range for mild, also known as subclinical, hypothyroidism. Her thyroidthe butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the throat that governs how the body’s cells use energydidn’t seem to be producing enough thyroid hormone to keep her metabolism functioning normally.
Women are 5 to 8 times more inclined than men to develop thyroid problems.
These days, you hear a lot about the thyroid, especially if youre a woman . Its the likely cause of your weight gain, exhaustion, and thinning hair, not to mention your persistent malaise.
Or so many people believe.
But is medication the right answer?
What Is Dizziness Actually
We come across the term dizziness all the time, or we often feel dizzy, but have you ever wondered what it is actually? Dizziness is a term that refers to an array of sensations such as feeling woozy, faint, unsteady, or weak. Sometimes people feel like their surroundings are spinning around them and say theyre dizzy, but in fact, thats just a form of dizziness called vertigo. Lightheadedness is one of the most common reasons why people schedule an appointment to see their doctor or health care provider.
It is worth noting that dizziness is not a standalone disease or health condition, but rather a symptom that occurs due to a wide range of health problems. Thats exactly why dizziness is not something you should ignore. Multiple diseases can make us feel dizzy, but your doctor can make an accurate diagnosis and find the root cause.
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Limit Alcohol And Caffeine
If you’re fighting fatigue from hypothyroidism, its easy to slip into a cycle of drinking a lot of caffeinated drinks during the day and then having a nightcap to bring you back down. Although caffeine can sometimes give you a short-term lift, such as feeling perkier in the morning, it won’t address long-term fatigue. What’s worse, this cycle of caffeine to wind up and alcohol to wind down could be sapping your energy beyond the fatigue caused by hypothyroidism. Both alcohol and caffeine interfere with your body’s ability to get into a deep, restorative level of sleep. Stick to only one or two caffeinated drinks before noon, and have just one alcoholic drink, if any, early in the evening.
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Why It Happens How To Cope And What Else May Be Making You Tired
Fatigue is a common symptom of thyroid disease. And, if you’ve experienced it, you’re very aware that this isn’t the typical fatigue that many people experience after a night of poor sleep or during a stressful time.
It’s often extreme exhaustion that interferes with daily life. Whether you find yourself needing a nap every afternoon to make it to dinnertime or waking up unrefreshed and brain-fogged despite a full night’s sleep, it may make you feel better to know that you’re not alone.
Adjusting your thyroid medication dose , improving your sleep habits, and addressing other factors that may be making the issue worse, can all help you improve this common thyroid disease symptom and live better with your condition.
Keep reading to learn more about how thyroid disease can make you feel exhausted. This article will also discuss treatment for thyroid disease and ways to find more energy.
Verywell / Emily Roberts
Surgical Removal Of The Thyroid Gland Or Nodule
Also known as a thyroidectomy, surgery to remove the thyroid can be an effective and permanent treatment for hyperthyroidism.
A potential downside of the surgical approach is that there is a small risk of injury to structures near the thyroid gland in the neck, including the nerve to the voice box . The incidence of this is about 1%. Other possible complications include hypocalcemia and airway obstruction, though both occur in under 5% of surgeries.
Concerns about long hospitalizations following thyroid surgery have been all but alleviated over the past few years, since many surgeons are now sending their patients home the day following surgery. Of course, this depends on the underlying health of the patient and their age, among other factors. Some surgeons now are even treating partial thyroidectomy as an outpatient procedure where healthy patients go home a few hours after the surgery.
When hypothyroidism occurs after treatment of an overactive thyroid gland, it can be effectively treated with levothyroxine, a synthetic form of thyroid hormone thats usually taken as one small pill a day. When used in the correct dose, levothyroxine can be safely taken for the remainder of a persons life.
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What Is Hypothyroidism Again
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland on the lower part of the front of your neck. A healthy thyroid performs an important job: Making enough thyroid hormone for your body to function properly. But when your thyroid doesnt make enough of this hormone, its called hypothyroidism, or having an underactive thyroid. This can lead to a slew of problems as the systems throughout your whole body slow down without the thyroid hormone there to help them use energy efficientlyfor example, the digestive system may slow down, causing constipation, and the cardiovascular system may slow down, causing a slow or irregular heartbeat.
Around 5% of Americans over age 12 have hypothyroidism. The most-common form of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune condition called Hashimotos disease, which is when the immune system accidentally attacks the thyroid and causes hypothyroidism. Many cases of hypo are mild and may not have obvious symptoms, while others can be severe. Left untreated, it can lead to serious complicationsso thats why its important to know the signs of this condition so you can get it under control.
Early Life Adversity And Thyroid Functioning
In patients, nearly all forms of childhood trauma were marginally to highly significantly related to circulating levels of TSH . No such associations were observed for fT3 and the same was true for fT4, although there was a trend-level association with physical neglect .
Early life adversity and TSH in patients with FSS. Controlling for age, Body mass index , smoking, and intake of medication, the association of physical neglect , physical abuse , and sexual abuse with TSH was significant, and there was a trend in terms of emotional neglect . There was no significant association between emotional abuse and TSH .
There were no relationships between childhood trauma and thyroid parameters in healthy controls .
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An Overview Of Thyroid Disease Treatments
Dr. Danielle Weiss is the founder of the Center for Hormonal Health and Well-Being, a personalized, proactive, patient-centered medical practice with a unique focus on integrative endocrinology. She enjoys giving lectures and writing articles for both the lay public and medical audiences.
The treatment for your thyroid condition depends on the type of thyroid problem and whether your thyroid is overactive, underactive, enlarged, or is cancerous. Here is an overview of the different treatments provided for thyroid conditions.
Who Is Affected By Thyroid Disease
Thyroid disease can affect anyone men, women, infants, teenagers and the elderly. It can be present at birth and it can develop as you age .
Thyroid disease is very common, with an estimated 20 million people in the Unites States having some type of thyroid disorder. A woman is about five to eight times more likely to be diagnosed with a thyroid condition than a man.
You may be at a higher risk of developing a thyroid disease if you:
- Have a family history of thyroid disease.
- Have a medical condition .
- Take a medication thats high in iodine .
- Are older than 60, especially in women.
- Have had treatment for a past thyroid condition or cancer .
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The Impact Of Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, is when the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone. In a lot of ways, it’s the opposite of hypothyroidism. Instead of causing a slow metabolism, hyperthyroidism can cause the metabolism to operate too quickly, making it difficult to gain and retain weight. Instead of feeling depressed, you may feel anxious or nervous with hyperthyroidism. You might also experience heart palpitations, difficulties with sleeping or tolerating heat, and muscle weakness. Anxiety is the most common mental health concern caused by hyperthyroidism, with 60% of hyperthyroidism patients reporting it. However, hyperthyroidism can also occasionally cause depressive symptoms, especially among elderly people. People with hyperthyroidism can also develop a large thyroid, or goiter, in the neck. It may also lead to Grave’s ophthalmopathy, which causes the eyes to bulge out of their sockets. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to contact your doctor for further evaluation.
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Where Can I Find Support
Hyperthyroidism impacts you physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Its critical that you have a strong network of people you trust and can turn to for support.
It starts with your family. Since thyroid disease runs in families, being honest and open with your relatives is the best policy, as you might be alerting them to a problem they didnt even know to look out for.
To help you build your own support network outside of those closest to you, check out the GDATFs community resources to find a support group .
In addition, you may find these resources helpful:
- ThyroidChange. If you want to join a community that pushes for personalized care and support for patients with thyroid disease, look no further. You can also use their website to learn more about thyroid disease and its treatments, find a doctor based on specific criteria and patient recommendations, or schedule a telemedicine appointment with a doctor for your thyroid care.
- The American Association of Endocrine Surgeons . Since finding a high-volume, experienced surgeon is critically important when choosing a thyroidectomy to treat your hyperthyroidism, this organization makes it easy with its Surgeon Finder tool.
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The Hidden Cost Of Misdiagnosis
The impact of hypothyroidism on womens lives is often dramatic and sometimes devastating, with fatigue and poor concentration, for example, impacting career and financial success, and also affecting personal relationships.
Because the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism weight gain, depression, anxiety, brain fog, sleep problems, and fatigue are also among those that are the most likely to be chalked up by doctors to just stress or even depression. Many women are offered anti-depressants as a solution to their problems.
Women can go for years without a proper diagnosis, leaving many blaming themselves, feeling like theyre doing something wrong or arent doing enough to have more energy and feel better.
Women are driving themselves crazy dieting but cant lose weight, beating themselves up for not being happier people, and suffering from the grief of fertility problems and miscarriages all because of a problem for which theres easy detection and treatment.
Causes Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment And Support
Endless energy, unexplained weight lossthe initial symptoms of an overactive thyroid are often seen as good symptoms. Thats why hyperthyroidism is one of the most underdiagnosed endocrine conditions. But if left unchecked, it can lead to serious complications. Were here to empower you with clear answers to all your hyperthyroid questions.
In This Article:
With original contributions from James Norman MD, FACS, FACE
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When Should I See A Thyroid Specialist
Dont delayif you are experiencing any of the above symptoms of hypothyroidism, the time to see a doctor is now. They can test you for thyroid problems and get you started on treatment to help you start feeling better and reduce the risk of complications.
You can start with your primary-care provider, or they may refer you to an endocrinologist. An endocrinologist is a doctor that specializes in hormone disorders, including thyroid disease
Take Your Thyroid Replacement Medication Consistently
Thyroid hormone replacement medication helps most people with an underactive thyroid feel less fatigued. Even those with severe cases of hypothyroidism usually get some relief from symptoms within six months of starting treatment, according to Dr. Hoffman. Its important to take your thyroid medication as prescribed. That means taking it at the same time and in the same way every day. You should take your medication on an empty stomach and wait at least 30 minutes to one hour before eating. According to the American Thyroid Association, the best time to take your medication is first thing in the morning. If you take other prescriptions or supplements, talk to your doctor about how to time these with your thyroid medication.
If you happen to be among the group that continues to feel fatigued despite meeting TSH goals, Hoffman suggests adjustments to include both the T3 and T4 hormones in your medication plan. “This is a practice thats increasingly accepted,” he says. Talk with your primary care doctor or endocrinologist about trying this approach if you haven’t been getting good results from your current medication plan.
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How Is Thyroid Disease Treated
Your healthcare providers goal is to return your thyroid hormone levels to normal. This can be done in a variety of ways and each specific treatment will depend on the cause of your thyroid condition.
If you have high levels of thyroid hormones , treatment options can include:
- Anti-thyroid drugs : These are medications that stop your thyroid from making hormones.
- Radioactive iodine: This treatment damages the cells of your thyroid, preventing it from making high levels of thyroid hormones.
- Beta blockers: These medications dont change the amount of hormones in your body, but they help control your symptoms.
- Surgery: A more permanent form of treatment, your healthcare provider may surgically remove your thyroid . This will stop it from creating hormones. However, you will need to take thyroid replacement hormones for the rest of your life.
If you have low levels of thyroid hormones , the main treatment option is:
- Thyroid replacement medication: This drug is a synthetic way to add thyroid hormones back into your body. One drug thats commonly used is called levothyroxine. By using a medication, you can control thyroid disease and live a normal life.
Can Thyroid Problems Cause Extreme Fatigue 7 Tips
Extreme fatigue is a very common symptom of thyroid problems such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. When your thyroid is out of balance and produces too much or too little hormones, it can disrupt functions in your body and make you feel tired.
- Hypothyroidism is caused by an underactive thyroid, which slows down your metabolism and can lead to fatigue. Symptoms include weight gain, hair loss, and dry skin.
- Hyperthyroidism is caused by an overactive thyroid, which speeds up your metabolism and overwhelms your body. Symptoms include unintentional weight loss, rapid heartbeat, increased appetite, and nervousness.
If you are constantly feeling tired even after 8 hours of sleep, experiencing anxiety before falling asleep, or suffer from excessive drowsiness during the day, you may have a thyroid problem. Talk to your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Is Hypothyroidism Really A Big Deal
The thyroid plays a central role in our total health, and when it slows down, as it does in hypothyroidism , it can lead to a host of symptoms and some serious problems.
Untreated Hashimotos and hypothyroidism can cause:
Impaired thyroid function can also have a devastating impact on fertility, pregnancy, and motherhood, and is often an undetected source of anguish, loss, and struggle because it can cause:
Increased risk of miscarriage and preterm birth
Higher risk of developing prenatal and postpartum depression – making what would otherwise be a beautiful time in their lives potentially traumatic.
Higher risk of developmental problems and autism
If this resonates with you, request a free 20-minute consultation to see if Functional Medicine might be right for you.