Hypothyroidism, or an under active thyroid, is a condition in which the thyroid fails to produce enough essential hormones. Hypothyroidism has little to no symptoms in the beginning stages, but, if left untreated, the condition can cause a number of health complications such as obesity, joint pain and swelling, infertility, and heart disease. Thanks to modern medical advancements, accurate thyroid function tests are now available to help diagnose and treat hypothyroidism. Under the guidance of your physician, finding a safe and effective treatment plan for hypothyroidism is relatively simple.
Susan A. Baker, MD, FACR has extensive experience in diagnosis and treating hypothyroidism. As an expert rheumatologist and internal medicine specialist in Beverly Hills, Dr. Baker is able to draw on her impressive educational background and medical training to determine the most effective course of treatment for all her patients.
Causes and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
In individuals with hypothyroidism, the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the thyroid. The thyroid, located in the front of the neck, controls the body’s energy stores, makes essential proteins, and controls sensitivity to other hormones. Hypothyroidism can result from an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, congenial thyroid abnormalities, iodine deficiency from an unbalanced diet, or removal of the thyroid due to hyperthyroidism or thyroid cancer. Some typical symptoms of hypothyroidism include :
- Constant, unexplained fatigue
- Depressed and sluggish mood
- Excessively dry skin and hair
- Prolonged constipation
- Intolerance to cold
- Rapid weight gain
- Heavier menstrual flow in women
- Swelling in the front of the neck near the thyroid (a goiter)
Individuals with one or more of the listed symptoms should consult a rheumatologist as soon as possible to avoid any worsening of symptoms or permanent damage to bodily systems.
Treatments for Hypothyroidism
Treatments currently offered for hypothyroidism are considered to be safe, usually simple, and extremely successful. Hypothyroidism is treated with highly specialized hormone replacement therapy such as levothyroxine. These drugs contain synthetic T4 hormones, the main hormone produced by the thyroid. Typically, these medications are taken once a day by mouth for life. Long-term follow-up is often necessary for individuals with hypothyroidism, so it is essential to find a physician who will help guide you each step of the way. Hypothyroidism often runs in families, so it is also important for your family members to undergo routine examinations for rheumatology conditions as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How is hypothyroidism diagnosed?
A: During a consultation with your rheumatologist, you may be asked to provide a thorough medical history, undergo a medical examination, and complete a laboratory test that measures the amount of thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSHs) are present in your system. Then, your doctor will be able to evaluate they type and severity of your condition.
Q: Who gets hypothyroidism?
A: Although it can occur in almost anyone, hypothyroidism is more common in women over the age of 60.
Q: Is hormone therapy for hypothyroidism right for me?
A: To determine if you have hypothyroidism and how best to treat it, always consult an experienced rheumatologist or internal medicine specialist. Each individual is unique, so your treatment plan will be tailored for your needs.
To learn more about hypothyroidism treatment, visit niddk.nih.gov
Contact a Beverly Hills Rheumatologist Today
By making herself available during every step in the process of diagnosing and treating hypothyroidism, Susan A. Baker, MD, FACR becomes a partner in helping to reduce symptoms and restore quality of life for all her patients. Dr. Baker has extensive experience aiding individuals with hypothyroidism return to normal functioning. If you suspect that you may have hypothyroidism, or any other rheumatology condition, contact Dr. Baker at (310) 274-7770 at your earliest convenience.
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