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Hypothyroidism represents a low blood level of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). This condition can be caused by disturbances in the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and thyroid gland, so there are three types of hypothyroidism: primary, secondary, and tertiary. No matter the reason, low circulating levels of thyroid hormones cause metabolic changes, which among other things can affect a person's weight. Luckily, there is hormone replacement therapy which can help these persons have a normal life. Here are some problems these patients are facing regarding bodyweight.

Thyroid Function And Metabolism

The thyroid gland is located on the front side of the neck, and it is responsible for producing thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). However, its function is regulated by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which are endocrine organs on a higher level of hierarchy. The effects of thyroid hormones can be understood as stimulating on the level of every living cell in the organism. In other words, thyroid hormones accelerate the metabolism by increasing activity of nearly all the cells. Healthy persons have optimal levels of thyroid hormones which maintain a basic level of metabolic activity, and increase the metabolic rate when needed.

Metabolic Changes In Hypothyroidism

From the above paragraph, you can conclude that lower than normal levels of thyroid hormones will slow down your metabolism on a cellular level, thus making your cells "lazy". Persons with this disorder feel tired almost all the time. They are sleepy, and have often fatigue, constipation, low heart rate, mood swings, and even depression. Dry hair and skin and fragile nails can also be present.

Weight gain is also a result of a slowed metabolic rate. Persons with hypothyroidism are not particularly hungry, but they tend to move less and spend fewer calories than it is normal. All the excess calories turn into fat, which is a normal physiological process, but here we have greater excess as the cells are too "lazy" (not stimulated) to use the nutrients.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Hormone replacement therapy includes taking synthetic analogues of thyroid hormones with the aim to maintain a normal metabolic rate. The dosage of these hormones is adjusted to the severity of hypothyroidism and should ideally eliminate all the symptoms of the disease.

However, the thyroid gland releases hormones according to needs and can regulate metabolism far better than hormone replacement therapy.

Weight gain caused by hypothyroidism should be eliminated by hormone replacement therapy, but that is not always the case. Namely, thyroid hormones increase your appetite, and if you eat more, you will still come up with excess calories to be stored as fat.

Thyroid hormone replacement therapy is often abused for the purposes of weight loss. This is not recommended and can be very dangerous, as these medications can increase heart rate, cause arrhythmias, nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, and even serious psychiatric symptoms.

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