Hypothyroidism

Janet Franiek, BSc, MD, CCFP, discusses hypothyroidism in women.

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Janet Franiek, BSc, MD, CCFP, discusses hypothyroidism in women.
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Featuring Dr. Janet Franiek, BSc, MD, CCFP

Duration: 2 minutes, 3 seconds

Hypothyroidism is a disorder caused by a less than normal production of thyroid hormone.

It typically involves a dysfunction in the thyroid gland itself, but because thyroid hormone is dispersed throughout every cell in the body and has actions on every cell in the body, often times the symptoms are quite varied.

People can sometimes present with difficulty with their cognitive ability, memory impairment, they often complain of dry hair, dry skin, brittle nails, and often times its the most common cause of hair loss in women.

Some people can present with extreme fatigue and it also enters into the differential diagnosis for depression. Many people have issues with excessive weight gain or inability to lose weight and also a sense of feeling cold as their core body temperature drops.

The diagnosis of hypothyroidism is made by collaborating the patient's symptoms with a specific laboratory investigation. Typically this laboratory investigation, the gold standard that we use in North America has a very wide range of normal. So often a patient can have quite significant symptoms of hypothyroidism and still test normal on this laboratory investigation.

So it's important to be able to decipher for this specific disease entity, which is called sub-acute hypothyroidism because it may be a marker for future thyroid dysfunction and it may actually require treatment in the sub-acute phase.

The treatment of hypothyroidism typically involves replacing the absent thyroid hormone with either a pharmaceutical preparation or a compounded thyroid hormone that is made by a compounding pharmacy.

Also, if the symptoms are not severe and the disease not progressed you can also improve the thyroid function of the gland by supplementing with minerals such as selenium, zinc and iodine.

If you have symptoms of thyroid dysfunction or have further question about thyroid disorders, you may want to consider your family physician for further information and testing.

Presenter: Dr. Janet Franiek, Family Doctor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.