What is subclinical hypothyroidism?
Subclinical hypothyroidism is a condition that develops when your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level is higher than normal. TSH is made in the brain and controls how much thyroid hormones are made. Thyroid hormones help control body temperature, heart rate, growth, and weight. Subclinical hypothyroidism can lead to hypothyroidism.
What causes subclinical hypothyroidism?
If you have a family member with hypothyroidism, your risk for subclinical is increased. Any of the following can cause hypothyroidism:
- Autoimmune disease, such as inflammation of your thyroid, or Hashimoto disease
- Surgery, radiation therapy, or medicines such as lithium, sedatives, or narcotics
- Thyroid cancer or viral infection
- Diabetes or other conditions that affect the pituitary, hypothalamus, or thyroid gland
What are the signs and symptoms of subclinical hypothyroidism?
The signs and symptoms may develop slowly, sometimes over several years.
- Sensitivity to cold
- Headaches or decreased concentration
- Muscle aches or weakness
- Dry, flaky skin or brittle nails
- Thinning hair
- Heavy or irregular monthly periods
- Depression or irritability
How is subclinical hypothyroidism diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and what medicines you take. He will ask about your medical history and if anyone in your family has hypothyroidism. A blood test will show your TSH level.
How is subclinical hypothyroidism treated?
Treatment depends on the amount of thyroid hormones in your body. You may need thyroid hormone replacement medicine to bring your thyroid hormone level back to normal.
Call 911 for any of the following:
- You have sudden chest pain or shortness of breath.
- You have a seizure.
- You feel like you are going to faint.
When should I seek immediate care?
- You have swelling in your legs, ankles, or feet.
- Your heart is beating faster or slower than is normal for you, or you feel restless.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
- You have a fever.
- Your signs and symptoms return or become worse.
- You have pain, redness, and swelling in your muscles and joints.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
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