Among the numerous elements of the endocrine system, the thyroid has been widely studied for decades due to its many functions: it affects heart rate, cholesterol levels, body weight, energy levels, muscle strength, skin condition, vision, menstrual regularity, mental state and a host of other conditions.
As thyroid hormones affect cellular mechanisms, they help to control how the body uses energy and how well cells, tissues and organs work. An underactive thyroid can cause a number of health problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility, heart disease and depression. Thyroid disorders are widely under-diagnosed and under-treated, especially in developing countries.
Hypothyroidism is one of the most common chronic disorders worldwide, affecting up to 2% of the planet’s population and up to 4-6% in Western countries, making it necessary for most patients to commit to lifelong thyroid hormone replacement therapy. The guidelines recently published by the American Thyroid Association recognize levothyroxine as the most prescribed therapeutic choice for the treatment of hypothyroidism.
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