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Hypothyroidism Facts & Tips

  • Hypothyroidism—an underactive thyroid gland—is the most common thyroid disorder.
  • Women over 50 are particularly susceptible to developing hypothyroidism.
  • Hypothyroidism causes your bodily functions to slow down. Symptoms of the disorder include dry skin, intolerance to cold, and fatigue.
  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune destruction of the thyroid gland and the most common cause of hypothyroidism. Up to ten million people in the US have Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
  • There is no definitive way to prevent hypothyroidism.
  • In the 1800s, ingesting sheep thyroid extract or frying up and eating sheep thyroids were treatments for hypothyroidism.
  • Animal thyroid hormones are still available today. Pills made of dried pig thyroid glands, such as Armour Thyroid brand, are the most popular animal thyroid supplements.
  • Synthetic thyroid supplements are the preferred treatment for hypothyroidism today. Though they are man-made, they are the exact same as the hormones produced in your body.
  • T3 is the more active of the two main thyroid hormones, but you will likely take synthetic T4 supplements as treatment for your hypothyroidism. This is because most of the T3 in our bodies actually used to be T4. When T4 hormones come into contact with other cells in the bloodstream, they must give up an iodine atom to interact with those cells. When T4 loses an iodine atom, it becomes T3. The benefit of taking only T4 therapy is that you allow your body to perform some of the actions it is meant to do, which is taking T4 and changing it into T3 as it needs it.
  • In the great majority of cases, treatment for hypothyroidism is for life. Fortunately, the medications available today are effective, safe, and will improve your quality of life.