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Thyroid Conditions and Hair Loss

The thyroid is a small, butterfly shaped gland found at the base of the neck, below the “Adam’s Apple”.  It weighs less than an ounce, but it has an enormous impact on your health, producing hormones that regulate your heartbeat, and your metabolism, including the rate of calorie burning, and body temperature.

An imbalance in the function of your thyroid gland can cause many side effects, including hair loss, hair thinning, or dry, brittle hair.

Your thyroid gland produces two main hormones, triiodothyronine (T-3), and thyroxine (T-4). These hormones influence every cell in your body. They maintain the rate at which your body uses fats and carbohydrates, help control your body temperature, influence your heart rate, and help regulate the production of protein. Your thyroid also produces calcitonin, a hormone that helps regulate the amount of calcium in your blood.

The rate at which T-4 and T-3 are released is controlled by your pituitary gland and your hypothalamus – an area at the base of your brain that acts as a thermostat for your entire system.

Hypothyroidism

is the abnormal, underactive functioning of the thyroid, which results in fatigue, dry skin, dry, brittle and thinning hair, weight gain, and joint pain, infertility, and heart disease, as well as other symptoms.

The good news is that accurate thyroid function tests are available to diagnose hypothyroidism, and treatment is usually safe, simple, and effective once you and your doctor find the right dose for you.

The signs and symptoms vary, and generally tend to develop slowly, often over a number of years.

Hyperthyroidism

is the abnormal overactive functioning of the thyroid, resulting in fatigue, muscle weakness, sudden weight loss, irritability, rapid heartbeat, difficulty sleeping, fine, brittle hair, thin skin.

Several treatment options are available if you have hyperthyroidism. Medications (anti-thyroid and radioactive iodine) may slow the production of the thyroid hormones, although sometimes the gland has to be surgically removed. Hyperthyroidism can be serious if you ignore it, but most people respond well once it is diagnosed and treated.

So the importance of seeing a Doctor if experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned cannot be emphasized enough.

Untreated hypothyroidism can gradually become more severe, resulting in an enlarged thyroid, or goiter, you may become more forgetful, your thought processes may slow, or you may feel depressed.  Advanced hypothyroidism, known as myxedema, is rare, but when it occurs it can be life-threatening. Signs and symptoms include low blood pressure, decreased breathing, decreased body temperature, unresponsiveness and even coma.  It can be fatal in extreme cases.

Older adults’ symptoms of hyperthyroidism are more likely to be subtle, such as an increased heart rate, heat intolerance, and tiring easily during ordinary activities, which could be construed as “just getting older”.  Medications called beta blockers can also mask many of the symptoms.  If you do experience unexplained weight loss, rapid heartbeat, unusual sweating, swelling at the base of your neck, see your Doctor.

If you have been treated for any thyroid conditions, or are currently being treated, see your Doctor regularly as advised so that he or she can monitor your condition.

The good news is, after being diagnosed and treated for a thyroid condition, there are solutions to restore your hair and your appearance, therefore your confidence.  

Contact us today to learn how we can help with hair loss stemming from thyroid conditions.