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Subclinical hypothyroidism: symptoms and consequences

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The thyroid gland is a gland in the endocrine system that regulates the body’s metabolism and its sensitivity to other hormones. Problems in this gland can cause hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism and are much more common than we think. We can find the clinical or the subclinical within hypothyroidism, the latter being considered a phase before common hypothyroidism. Clinical or common hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones and, to regulate it, the brain secretes more TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone). However, in subclinical hypothyroidism, the hormone levels are correct, but the thyroid no longer functions properly. This FastlyHealarticle explains everything about subclinical hypothyroidism: symptoms and consequences.

Subclinical hypothyroidism: causes

There is no specific cause that determines subclinical hypothyroidism. However, when it occurs, there is an increase in the production of the hormone TSH, as we have seen.

Subclinical hypothyroidism is considered when TSH levels are between 5 and 10 mU / L, while clinical hypothyroidism is between 10 and 15 mU / L.

The reality is that hypothyroidism is often related to being overweight or obese; however, although it is more common in women, both sexes can suffer from it. The probabilities increase with weight and age.

Symptoms of subclinical hypothyroidism

Since subclinical hypothyroidism is considered a precondition to clinical hypothyroidism, it is usually asymptomatic since, in most cases, there are no definite symptoms. However, it can sometimes produce mild symptoms such as:

However, these symptoms can be prevalent and, if suffered, are usually very mild, so they are not usually related to this condition. Some people notice a feeling of tiredness, heaviness, or even increased cold intolerance.

Other symptoms may appear as lipid metabolism, increasing cholesterol, and triglycerides.

Consequences and their evolution

As we have seen, subclinical hypothyroidism is a stage before common hypothyroidism. However, not all patients with subclinical hypothyroidism develop the clinical one, although the vast majority do. Patients who have had Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid disease or received discharges from radiation therapy are more likely to develop hypothyroidism.

The risk of progression is related to the initial concentration of TSH, so people with higher values ​​(between 12 and 15 mU / L) are at greater risk. In addition, the presence of antibodies that fight the thyroid, such as anti-TPO, influences.

However, not all bad news. There are patients with subclinical hypothyroidism who, over the years, have shown a balance in test results without the help of any treatment. However, these patients usually have TSH levels below 10 mU / L.

In addition to its probable evolution towards clinical hypothyroidism, several studies have shown that people with this condition have a greater risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases, especially those with TSH levels above 10 mU / L. They also tend to have higher cholesterol levels than the rest of the general population. If they have higher TSH levels, they will also have a higher risk of developing hepatic steatosis.

Subclinical hypothyroidism: treatment

There is no specific treatment established to treat subclinical hypothyroidism, although there are ways to treat it, and it will depend on the professional.

In some cases, a hormone replacement treatment is used. Although it does not improve the condition, it does alleviate symptoms that may appear, such as fatigue. Levothyroxine, a thyroid hormone commonly used to treat hypothyroidism, is widely used. The consumption of levothyroxine is recommended above all from 10 mU / L.

It is also recommended to monitor TSH levels from time to time to see if they are increasing and, therefore, progressing to clinical hypothyroidism. In which case, this condition would be treated.

Pregnant women with subclinical hypothyroidism should be treated from the beginning as an imbalance of hormones or failures in the hormonal system could affect the correct development of the fetus.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Subclinical hypothyroidism: symptoms and consequences, we recommend that you enter our Endocrine System category.

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