Home Culture Local Doctor Discusses Thyroid Health for Hypothyroidism Awareness Month

Local Doctor Discusses Thyroid Health for Hypothyroidism Awareness Month

by Victoria Marie Moyeno
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March is Hypothyroidism Awareness Month, and for those who don’t know, Hypothyroidism or ‘underactive thyroid disease’ is a very common disorder that has to do with thyroid glands not making enough thyroid hormone. We chatted with a local expert, Dr. Deena Adimoolam, MD about thyroid health, how to spot it, how to treat it, and more. Read on to learn more about her insight on hypothyroidism.

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Facts About Hypothyroidism

The thyroid controls how your body’s cells use energy from food {your metabolism}. Among other things, your metabolism affects your body’s temperature, your heartbeat, and how well you burn calories. If you don’t have enough thyroid hormone, your body processes slow down. That means your body makes less energy, and your metabolism becomes sluggish, WebMB explains. Women, particularly older women, are more likely to develop hypothyroidism than men.

About Dr. Deena

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Dr. Deena Adimoolam, MD, known as “Dr. Deena” to her patients, is a specialist in internal medicine, disease prevention, and endocrinology. She obtained her medical degree at Mount Sinai in New York and completed her internal medicine residency and endocrinology fellowship training at Yale University where she received awards for her humanism in medicine, community involvement, and patient care.

Dr. Deena uses her specialized skill set in endocrinology to focus on her interests in women’s health, hormone health, obesity, weight loss, metabolism, and diabetes. It is also a specialty that allows her to build on her love and interest in food as medicine.

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She is one of the youngest members to serve on national advisory committees on diabetes, obesity, and hormone health. She uses media as a tool to spread public health education especially to raise awareness of disease prevention.

Read More: Local Diabetes Resources + Foundations

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Hoboken Girl: What is hypothyroidism?

Dr. Deena A.: Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone.

HG: What are the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism?

DA: Symptoms can be the following:

  • – Fatigue
  • – Weight gain despite no change in diet
  • – Irregular menses
  • – Hair loss
  • – Brain fog
  • – Constipation
  • – Infertility
  • – Dry skin
  • – Brittle nails

HG: What causes Hypothyroidism?

DA: Hypothyroidism may have many causes. Hypothyroidism is most commonly due to an autoimmune condition known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis which is due to inflammation of the thyroid gland. Other causes of hypothyroidism may be related to having the thyroid surgically removed for medical reasons or certain medications/radiation treatments.

HG: How do thyroid problems affect women?

DA: The thyroid is an important gland that controls every aspect of a woman’s life. The thyroid is involved in all our body’s functioning from fertility to mood to menstrual cycles to one’s hair and skin. The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland makes too little thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone.

HG: Are some women more at risk for thyroid disease?

DA: Yes, autoimmune thyroid disease is more common in women. In fact, women with one autoimmune condition, like Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus, for example, are at higher risk for developing autoimmune thyroid diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

HG: How is hypothyroidism treated?

DA: Treatment for hypothyroidism is thyroid replacement therapy, often with a medication called levothyroxine.

HG: How does thyroid disease affect pregnancy?

  • – Many hypothyroid women have changes in their menstrual cycles making it difficult to predict when they are actually ovulating {the best time to have sex in order to maximize chances of pregnancy}.
  • – Untreated hypothyroidism may lead to failure of ovulation {releasing an egg} which can lead to infertility {inability to get pregnant}.
  • – There is limited data suggesting that untreated hypothyroidism may also impact embryo quality {which can lead to a miscarriage or early pregnancy complications}.
  • – During pregnancy, the fetus relies on the mother’s thyroid hormone to grow and develop. If a woman is hypothyroid during their pregnancy, their body can’t make enough thyroid hormone for the fetus to grow/develop so the mother will need to take higher doses of thyroid medication to ensure the fetus develops properly.

It’s important for every pregnant woman to have their thyroid hormone levels checked as soon as they know they are pregnant. It is also very important that if you are struggling with getting pregnant or maintaining pregnancy, ask your doctor to check your thyroid hormone levels!


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