Over 20 million Americans have some sort of thyroid condition. Women are 8 times more likely to experience thyroid conditions than men. Sadly, many thyroid disorders are misdiagnosed and can go untreated for years.
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland near the Adam’s apple in the lower part of the neck. The hormones it produces control the activity of nearly every cell in the body. The thyroid also plays a key role in the amount of energy you have. If your thyroid is not working well, your health can really suffer.
If your thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormone you will experience low energy. Normal daily activities will feel like you have run a marathon. Your motivation will start to drop. You are also likely to feel down and frustrated. At this point, many doctors will prescribe a medication for depression, missing the thyroid all together.
There are other symptoms that provide clues that your thyroid is not working well. The smart practitioner will ask about these symptoms as they provide important details that help uncover an undiagnosed thyroid disorder.
Changes to the skin, hair and nails are common. Hair loss – especially when it is dry and coarse are strong indicators of thyroid problems. Thinning of the outer part of the eyebrows often occurs. This can be subtle and may take months to be fully noticed. Both finger and toe nails become weak, brittle and damaged.
Some will experience unexplained weight gain – even when nothing in their daily routine has changed. Sometimes this will be subtle, other times rapid weight gain of 20 to even 50 pounds can occur in just a few months.
Menstrual symptoms such as heavy periods, irregular cycles and worsening of PMS symptoms are common in women. Female hormonal symptoms are often overlooked as being related to the thyroid. While it’s important to make sure that there’s no problems with reproductive organs, the thyroid should be considered by healthcare practitioners.
I’ve had many patients tell me that their symptoms were either ignored or misdiagnosed as depression, PMS, or anxiety. Worse yet, too many of them were told that they need to eat less and exercise more, even after they told their doctor that they were eating healthily and exercising.
How do you uncover a thyroid disorder? First make a list of all the symptoms you are experiencing and when they started. Next you need to run proper thyroid lab testing. To make sure that you are getting a complete picture of your thyroid health, I recommend the following tests:
∙ Free and Total T4
∙ Free and Total T3
∙ Reverse T3
∙ Thyroid Antibodies
Reviewing these results with a qualified health care provider can provide you with the answers you need to finding out if you have a thyroid problem. If you are interested in working with me to discover if your issues are thyroid related and/or caused by something else, call us at 970-963-6500 to set up an appointment.