Did you know that our thyroid, the small, butterfly shaped gland in our neck, has some very important functions in our bodies? One of its primary jobs is to manufacture hormones that regulate our metabolism. These hormones also affect all the cells and organs in our bodies, from the heart to the brain.
When the thyroid doesnt produce enough of these hormones, your body slows down. You lose your energy and your metabolism becomes sluggish.
Hypothyroidism can develop when antibodies are produced by our immune system. These antibodies attack the thyroid and damage the hormone production. Other less common causes include radiation treatment of the neck (when some types of cancers are present), some medications, thyroid surgery (removing the thyroid, such as when people have thyroid cancer) and too little iodine in a persons diet.
13 Common Symptoms of Hypothyroidism are:
- Fatigue, Lethargy
- Difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness
- Numbness, tingling in hands
- Decreased sweating
- Weight gain of 10 pounds of less (fluid gain)
- Intolerance to cold
- Joint, muscle pain
- Dry, thinning hair; dry skin
- Slower heart rate
- Difficulty swallowing
- Constipation, heavy periods
I had several of these symptoms before my doctor informed me that I had an under-active thyroid. I just didnt realize that they were linked to this condition. Before being diagnosed, I regularly complained about being tired all the time. I yawned all day at work and took naps on week-ends, sometimes only a few hours after I awoke.
Though I exercised regularly and didnt overeat, I gained around 10 pounds that wouldnt budge, and assumed that it was just because of the aging process. The moodiness? Well, I just attributed that to my astrological sign, Gemini. However, my mood swings did increase, and I was also depressed.
According to my doctor, the depression I had suffered with for a few years may have been the first sign that my thyroid wasnt creating the necessary hormones. I had no idea these conditions could be related.
It should be noted that the symptoms of an under-active thyroid may occur slowly, and like me, many women may mistake them as simply part of aging.
When I was diagnosed, I was put on a prescription medication, and every 6 months, my thyroid levels are checked, along with my regular blood tests. This lets my doctor know if my level of medication is appropriate, or if a higher dosage is needed.
If you have any of these symptoms noted above, and have developed them as youve passed the 5-0 mark, its important not to hesitate to ask your physician to test you for an under-active thyroid. T Because the hormones developed in the thyroid play a primary role in our body functions, thyroid disorders can lead to other, more harmful health conditions.