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hypothyroidism, hypothyroidism

At the front of our neck we have a thyroid gland that produces hormones, these hormones affect almost every function of the body. If the thyroid makes too few hormones, a condition called hypothyroidism can occur. This means you have a low metabolism and your body is put into low gear. Thyroid disorders are common and in fact about 12% of the population will experience abnormal thyroid function at some point in their lives.

At the most basic level, the thyroid hormone is responsible for coordinating energy, growth and metabolism in the body.

Symptoms of thyroid disorder:

  • Fatigue or less energy
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Coldness
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Memory difficulties
  • Slow heart rhythm
  • Pain in joints and muscles
  • Difficulties in having children

Problems can occur when hormone levels are too high or too low.

Common signs and symptoms of Hypothyroidism:

Loss of strength

One of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism is a lack of energy and feeling tired. Thyroid hormone controls the body's energy balance. Thyroid hormone receives signals from the brain and coordinates cells to change their functions, depending on what is happening in the body.

Weight gain

Weight gain is a common symptom of hypothyroidism. When thyroid levels are low, metabolism switches modes. Instead of burning calories for growth and activity, the amount of energy you use at rest or your basal metabolic rate decreases. As a result, your body tends to store more calories from the diet as fat.When we burn calories, for example when we exercise, we become hot. This is because the heat released is a by-product of burning calories. We burn calories even when sitting down, with Hypothyroidism reduces your basal metabolic rate, which in turn reduces the amount of heat you generate. Low levels of thyroid hormone make you feel colder than others around you.

Low thyroid hormone flips the metabolic switch towards catabolism, which is when the body breaks down body tissue that provides energy to the muscle.

Hair loss

Like most of our cells, hair follicles are regulated by thyroid hormone. Our hair follicles are made up of stem cells that have a short lifespan and rapid turnover. This makes them more sensitive to low thyroid levels than other tissues. Low thyroid hormone causes hair follicles to stop regenerating, resulting in hair loss, which will improve with treatment.

Itchy and dry skin

Like hair follicles, skin cells are characterised by rapid turnover. Therefore, they are also sensitive to loss of growth signals from the thyroid hormone. When the normal cycle of the skin is affected, it can mean that skin renewal does not occur at a normal rate and this can lead to dry and blotchy skin.


Hypothyroidism is linked to depression. The reason for this is unclear, but it may be a mental symptom of an overall decrease in energy and health, which can lead to problems in concentrating or remembering things.

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