What is the Life Expectancy of Someone with Underactive Thyroid?
If you or someone you love suffers from under active thyroid problems, you may be concerned about the long-term health impacts of the condition or whether their life expectancy will be cut short.
What is Hypothyroidism?
The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland located in your neck that produces hormones your body needs to function properly. Even though it is small, it is a vital organ in your body. It is responsible for regulating growth, development, and metabolism. The hormones it produces travel through your bloodstream, reaching every cell in your body.
When the thyroid is not working the way it should, it can cause cascading effects throughout the body. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid isn’t producing enough of the thyroid hormones. There is no way to prevent thyroid disorders, but they do seem to happen more often to people with a family history of thyroid problems. It also occurs more frequently in women than in men.
Longer-Term Implications of Hypothyroidism
When the body isn’t producing enough thyroid hormones, multiple systems in the body slow down and this can have several adverse health effects. Some people develop complications quickly, while others find their symptoms progressively become worse over time.
- Lowered heart rate
- Feeling cold
- Memory problems
- Hair loss
- High cholesterol
- Muscle and joint pain/stiffness/weakness
- Heart disease
If you are pregnant while suffering from hypothyroidism, there is an increased chance that you will pass on birth defects or other problems to the baby. Studies have shown that babies born to mothers with hypothyroidism have a lower birth weight, are often born premature, and may have developmental problems.
How is Hypothyroidism Treated?
With treatment, life expectancy with hypothyroidism should be relatively normal. Hypothyroidism is usually treated with medications containing synthetic versions of the thyroid hormone, such as Levothyroxine tablets. These tablets help balance hormone levels and often start to work quickly in reversing the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
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