Sluggish thyroid syndrome, also known as hypothyroidism, is a medical condition in which the body lacks sufficient thyroid hormone. It is estimated that more than five million Americans suffer from this health condition. This is one of the most commonly occurring hormonal disturbances, and affects almost ten percents of the female population. Both males and females may suffer from the sluggish thyroid syndrome, but the disease is more common in women. About three percent of general population has the sluggish thyroid syndrome. Thyroid hormone, produced by the thyroid gland, is one of the most important chemicals in the human body. This hormone is responsible for the regulation of metabolism, and it has a strong impact on every living cell in the body. Thyroid hormone helps regulate the bone growth, affects the protein synthesis, and regulates protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism.Symptoms of the sluggish thyroid syndrome
Under-active thyroid gland and insufficient thyroid hormone levels usually upset the normal balance of chemical reactions in the body. The symptoms are mild at the beginning and, if not treated, can progress to more severe health problems such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and coronary disease. Health problems are developing slowly, over a number of years. The symptoms normally vary, from patient to patient, depending on the severity of hormonal deficiency. Thyroid hormone is primarily associated with metabolism, and all of the symptoms of sluggish thyroid syndrome result from slowing down the metabolism. These symptoms usually include: fatigue, sluggishness, increased sensitivity to cold, problems with constipation, pale and dry skin, elevated cholesterol levels, weight gain, muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness, heavier menstrual cycles, general weakness, brittle nails and hair, and depression.
Treatment for the sluggish thyroid syndromeTreatment for hyperthyroidism normally includes the use of the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine. The hormone is administered as oral medication, and the treatment is aimed to restore normal hormonal levels and help to support the body in maintaining normal metabolic processes. Most patients will continue taking medications throughout their life. The medications are taken daily, and doctors will need to monitor the blood levels of thyroid hormone on a regular basis, as excessive amounts of the hormone can cause side effects.
Untreated sluggish thyroid syndrome leads to more severe symptoms. As the body constantly stimulates the thyroid gland to release more hormones, it may lead to an enlarged thyroid (goiter) and make a patient become forgetful, even more sluggish and depressed. Untreated hypothyroidism in children may lead to severe physical and mental retardation.