|« Thyroid Cancer Research||The Complex Relationship Between Thyroid and Chronic Kidney Disease »|
Scientists Examine Obesity and Thyroid Disorders
For many obese people, achieving an optimal weight, and then maintaining it can be a lifelong challenge. Even those that diet and exercise regularly can have trouble maintaining a healthy weight.
And because living with excess weight can often lead to other medical ailments, the cycle is difficult to break, which may lead to frustration and a feeling of defeat. The aging process can promote weight gain and lead to difficulties losing weight, but often the culprit may be something that is so subtle that even medical professionals do not pinpoint it upon first examination.
In many cases, an underlying thyroid disorder can be affecting metabolism so much that even the most stringent diet and exercise programs meet with little results. By treating the cause and not the symptom, many obese people are able to achieve the results for which they have worked so hard.
The slowing of the thyroid
The slowing of the thyroid gland, a condition called hypothyroidism, can develop gradually over a period many years. In many cases, the person does not even realize that they are suffering from hypothyroidism, until the day that they understand that their weight is completely out of control. Although many health care professionals state that the link between thyroid disorders and obesity is a myth, because of many differing opinions on this issue, the debate still continues today. It can be confirmed, however, that hypothyroidism can lead to weight gain due to water retention and once the hypothyroidism is treated, the extra pounds go away. But there is still debate among researchers as to the exact percentage of weight gain that can be attributed to hypothyroidism. So it is clear that by eliminating the unknown factor by achieving a hormone balance that is normal, the question as to whether hypothyroidism is affecting one's weight can be answered.
Hypothyroidism is defined as a thyroid disorder of which the body lacks enough thyroid hormone. And because the main job of thyroid hormone is to manage the body's metabolism, any change in the level of this hormone can have dramatic results.
What causes hypothyroidism?
There are several causes of hypothyroidism. The most common is a condition called Hashimoto's thyroiditis, a condition in which the body's immune system attacks its own healthy cells resulting in antibodies being produced and misdirected against the gland. The result is a lower function of the thyroid gland called hypothyroidism. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is more prevalent in women than it is in men and often occurs in women over the age of forty. But this condition can also afflict men. The symptoms include a slowed heartbeat, fatigue, anxiety, memory loss, dry skin, and inability to endure cold temperatures.
Treatment goals of hypothyroidism
The treatment goals of hypothyroidism is to keep the TSH levels under the mid to normal area. Some physicians will be satisfied by getting the patient's TSH levels in the normal range of 1.0, but researchers note that many endocrinologists and thyroid specialists will target a TSH range in a hypothyroid patient that is lower than normal with TSH from 0.3 to 0.5 to see if the patient has a better conclusion of symptoms.
What is TSH?
TSH is an abbreviation for the medical term thyroid stimulating hormone. It is responsible for producing Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4) which are needed for normal maturity of the brain. T3 and T4 control the metabolism. Testing for normal TSH levels include a simple blood test and results can be received within a number of days.
What can be done?
If you or a loved one suspects weight gain, or obesity due to a thyroid disorder, it is recommended that you contact an endocrinologist or thyroid specialist right away. If you are not familiar with an endocrinologist or thyroid surgeon in the area, you can search on the Internet or consult your family physician to ask for a referral. Be sure to check with your health insurance carrier to be sure that your policy covers visits to a specialist. You may need to read your policy in detail or call the carrier directly to get confirmation. And as always, if you are able to get permission from your insurance carrier to see a specialist, it is recommended that you get this in writing prior to the physicians visit.
Please visit MedicalOnly again for more relevant tips and articles. We routinely publish articles and our visitors enjoy participation in a community focused on providing information and tips regarding thyroid disease. If you have not yet published feedback, please do. Your comments are a valuable part of our community and are helpful to other people interested in the topic.
Note: The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for professional care. This site should not be used in place of professional medical advice. The author is not a physician. For medical emergencies, call 911!
All content Copyright © 2007-2010 MedicalOnly.com and can not be reproduced without written permission from MedicalOnly.com.