Diagnosing and Treating Hypothyroidism Online
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid, which is a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck, produces an insufficient amount of hormones. Two prevalent hormones produced by the thyroid gland are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
Thyroid hormones affect the speed of the body’s metabolism; for example, these hormones impact the speed at which a person’s heart beats, how fast calories are burned, and the body’s temperature. When the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, these processes slow down.
Women who are over the age of 60 are more likely to develop hypothyroidism. Over time the disease can lead to a number of complications, including obesity, joint pain, infertility, and heart disease.
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This condition occurs when the body produces antibodies that attack and destroy the thyroid gland. Other causes of hypothyroidism include:
- Other autoimmune diseases
- Treatment for hyperthyroidism
- Thyroid surgery
- Radiation therapy
During a video consult on Amwell your doctor will ask you a series of targeted questions to determine if your symptoms point to hypothyroidism. Then your provider will proceed to determine the best treatment plan for you. Your provider may recommend in-person examination by a specialist if this is needed. Your treatment plan is based on the duration and severity of your symptoms and your medical history.
Once a diagnosis has been made, your doctor will go over the risks and benefits of the various treatment plans. Treatment for hypothyroidism is different depending on the severity.
Options for treatment of hypothyroidism may include:
- Healthy eating
- Physical activity
- Monitoring blood sugar levels