Worried about an under-active thyroid?
An underactive thyroid can make you feel tired, depleted and depressed. Too often the condition is ignored or dismissed. London Medical’s top endocrinologists are experts at diagnosing, treating and monitoring thyroid disease so that your energy, health and wellbeing can be restored.
It’s worrying when you feel unwell and your symptoms are unexplained. The endocrinology consultants at London Medical will listen carefully to your concerns, perform a detailed examination and arrange for testing in our state-of-the-art clinic. Common symptoms include:
Hypothyroidism is the medical term for an under-active thyroid. It’s a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid hormones are crucial for driving the body’s metabolism. When there’s too little, the body’s processes slow down, making you gain weight and feel sluggish, cold and exhausted.
The most common cause of an under-active thyroid is autoimmune thyroiditis or Hashimoto's thyroiditis. The body makes antibodies that attack the thyroid gland, reducing its function. Surgery for cancer or radioactive iodine therapy for an overactive thyroid can also make the thyroid under-active.
The symptoms of an under-active thyroid often develop gradually. They are also non-specific, so many people live with the debilitating condition for years before it is diagnosed. Undiagnosed disease is not just unpleasant, it can cause thyroid swelling or goitre, predispose to heart disease and cause problems during pregnancy.
For anyone who is worried about fatigue or concerned about the management of their thyroid disease, London Medical offers screening investigations, expert analysis and supportive care by experienced physicians.
Hypothyroidism testing at London Medical
The definitive way of testing for a thyroid problem is by performing a blood test to check the hormone levels. London Medical offers tests for a number of different factors, including the levels of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3), the levels of Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH), which typically goes up when the thyroid is underactive, and a test for the antithyroid antibodies produced in autoimmune thyroiditis.
Under-active thyroid treatment
With effective treatment for hypothyroidism, you will be able to lead a healthy and active life. Treatment involves taking daily tablets to replace the hormones you lack.
The drug is usually needed for the rest of your life.
One of London Medical’s consultants will prescribe the medication. They will then monitor your thyroid function and your symptoms to ensure that your good health is restored.
There is evidence that some people treated can still feel unwell, even though their blood tests are in the normal range. If this is the case, the clinic’s experts may also prescribe tri-iodothyronine. This is a specialist approach that can only be supervised by accredited endocrinologists and is not always available on the NHS.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may need to be a little patient, it can take some time to improve. It will be at least two weeks before you notice an improvement. For some people it can be a long and slow process. The expert endocrinologists and clinic staff will be on hand to support and advise you throughout.
Dr Rakesh Amin
Rakesh is educational lead for endocrinology and diabetes at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Dr Harvinder Chahal
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