Chris Kamara discusses his underactive thyroid diagnosis
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If you’re struggling with low energy, feeling cold all the time, and struggling to lose any weight despite eating a healthy diet and exercising, you may have an underactive thyroid. What are the symptoms of an underactive thyroid, and how is it treated?
An underactive thyroid is a condition known as hypothyroidism, where your thyroid doesn’t produce hormones properly.
Around one in every 50 Britons are affected by hypothyroidism, according to Thyroid UK, and women are between five and 10 times more likely to be diagnosed than men.
Hypothyroidism is most often caused by an autoimmune issue, which means the symptoms of an underactive thyroid can be very varied, affecting many different parts of the body.
However, the most well-known symptom is unexplained weight gain, and struggling to shift any pounds.
Understandably, this can be a really frustrating experience, as those with an underactive thyroid can attempt many different diets, yet not see any results.
People with hypothyroidism can diet and exercise religiously, and yet still not see any weight loss, or even continue to gain weight despite their efforts.
This can leave people feeling insecure about their weight, and demotivated by the lack of results they see after hitting the gym and eschewing comfort foods.
If you’ve been struggling to lose weight, or even gained a lot of weight for no obvious reason, you might want to speak to your GP about the possibility of an underactive thyroid.
These are the most common possible symptoms of hypothyroidism, according to Thyroid UK:
- Weight gain, even if you eat less
- Feeling cold all the time
- Weakened muscles
- Changes to your menstrual cycle
- Impaired concentration and memory
- Hair loss on your body, scalp and eyebrows
- Hoarse voice or deepening of voice
- Difficulty swallowing
- Delayed reflexes
- Loss of libido (sex drive)
- Fertility problems
- Raised cholesterol
- Dry/gritty eyes
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Thyroid UK has a free-to-download form with all possible symptoms of hypothyroidism you can fill out and present to a GP.
How is hypothyroidism treated?
If your GP agrees you may have an underactive thyroid, they will need to do a blood test to measure your hormone levels.
If tests confirm you have hypothyroidism, your doctor can prescribe you hormone replacement tablets to raise your thyroxine levels.
It is important to speak to a doctor as soon as possible if you’re worried you might be at risk of hypothyroidism, because left untreated it can lead to further complications including heart disease and pregnancy complications.
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