In a recent vlog, Kapuso actress Bea Alonzo revealed she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, adding it was the reason behind her weight gain. “So, sa mga nagsasabi diyan bakit ang taba na daw ni Bea, yun po ang reason. Pasensya na kayo,” Bea said.
However, Alonzo remains optimistic and explained she’s doing several preemptive measures, such as working out and taking medicines and supplements for hypothyroidism. But what exactly is hypothyroidism? Today, we’re zeroing in on this medical condition and what you need to know about it.
What is hypothyroidism?
Also called underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland no longer produces enough thyroid hormones to meet your body’s needs. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland in the lower front of your neck that’s responsible for keeping your brain, heart, muscles, and other organs functioning properly. Hypothyroidism can make you feel exhausted and slow your metabolism, leading to weight gain.
Who’s at risk of getting hypothyroidism?
Anyone can develop hypothyroidism, but it’s more common among adult women, especially those who have a family history of thyroid complications and have certain conditions, like type 1 diabetes.
What are its causes?
There are numerous causes of hypothyroidism, but it’s different from person to person. Some of the most common causes of this disease include autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s disease, hereditary conditions, radiation treatments, iodine deficiency, and thyroiditis.
Is hypothyroidism similar to hyperthyroidism?
It’s easy to get confused between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism because they sound identical. But to cut the confusion between them, think of hyperthyroidism as the opposite of hypothyroidism. Simply put, hyperthyroidism is a condition wherein your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, while hypothyroidism is a condition where your body produces too little thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism is also less common than hypothyroidism.
What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?
The symptoms of hypothyroidism aren’t identical. It’s tricky to diagnose because the symptoms can be easily mistaken for other conditions. Here are some of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism:
- Weight gain
- Heavy or irregular menstrual periods
- Having difficulty dealing with cold temperatures
- Muscle cramps
If left untreated, hypothyroidism may lead to unwanted complications like cognitive issues, infertility, and heart problems, among others.
How is hypothyroidism treated?
The most commonly available treatment for hypothyroidism is replacing the amount of hormone that your thyroid no longer makes. People with hypothyroidism may take an oral medication called levothyroxine that helps regulate hormone levels to a healthy range. In most cases, although it’s manageable, they’ll have to undergo constant lifelong medication.
Is there a way to prevent hypothyroidism?
There’s really no clear-cut way to prevent hypothyroidism, but there are some things you can do to lower your risk of developing it, like eating less soy, avoiding cigarettes, and going to the doctor for check-ups. It’s also good to maintain a healthy and balanced diet.
Integrative endocrinologist Ashita Gupta, MD, recommends avoiding processed foods packed with sugar, preservatives, dyes, or fat- and sugar-free alternatives. “Processed foods, including trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and refined sugar, can cause intestinal inflammation and, in turn, trigger autoimmune flare-ups. This is not specific to the thyroid, but the autoimmune system can affect various parts of the body.”
If you feel any symptoms of hypothyroidism, don’t hesitate to contact a medical professional.
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