Thermostat set low
Needs laxatives and more clothes
Heart trudging along
This condition is the main cause of hypothyroidism in our country. Hypo means under or beneath and refers to the thyroid gland producing an inadequate amount of thyroid hormone. There are different types of thyroiditis (-itis at the end of a medical term means inflammation or disease).
This type was first described microscopically by Hakaru Hashimoto, a Japanese pathologist, in 1912. It is an autoimmune process and causes slow destruction of thyroid tissue. Before the availability of thyroid hormone medication, people often died of myxedema coma, the end result of halted metabolism.
The symptoms include lowering of body temperature, slowing heart rate, dry skin, constipation, lower leg swelling, weight gain, and general sluggishness. 5% of adults over age 60 develop hypothyroidism, most due to Hashimoto’s. Don’t assume you’re just slowing down due to age. You might need a pill a day to keep the clinician away.
Stay tuned next time for hypothyroidism’s antsy cousin, hyperthyroidism.