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Dragging More than Usual? It May Be Time for a Thyroid Check

Posted by Steffanie Campbell, M.D. on Dec 26, 2015 8:00:00 AM

We all juggle a lot these days, and I’m no exception, believe me. But when my patients say they’re dragging through their days for no apparent reason, I often check their thyroid levels. Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid, means the gland isn’t making enough of certain hormones your body needs. I see a lot of patients with this condition, especially women, particularly those Older than 60. 

Tiny Gland Has a Big Role 

Although this butterfly-shaped gland in your lower neck is small, it has an important job. By sending messages throughout your body, it keeps everything moving along smoothly. When it’s working correctly, you don’t even notice it. But when hypothyroidism enters the picture it can cause: 

  • Fatigue

  • Weight gain

  • Hair loss

  • Chronic constipation

  • Depression

  • Sensitivity to cold

  • Dry skin

 

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These signs usually develop slowly, and with all the things on your mind you might not even notice them at first. But if the condition develops, the symptoms can become more serious. 

Some of my patients tell me they think they are depressed, but later we find out hypothyroidism is responsible for stealing their zest for life.

Cause often unknown 

Many things can cause hypothyroidism, and sometimes we’re not sure what the culprit is. The more common explanations include: 

  • Treatment with radiation

  • Certain medications

  • Surgery to remove the thyroid

  • Treatment for high thyroid levels, or hyperthyroidism

  • Autoimmune disorder 

What’s the good news? 

We can diagnose hypothyroidism with a simple blood test, and it is almost always easy to treat with daily thyroid medication. It sometimes takes a while to find the correct dose, but working together, my patients and I arrive at just the right regimen.

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Don’t be shy about admitting you’re more tired than usual or have other signs of hypothyroidism. Speak to your doctor about the possible causes as soon as possible. Early treatment means less chance of lasting damage to your body. 

The sooner you know about any problems, the sooner they can be treated. Then you can be back to juggling as much as before! 

Do you have hypothyroidism? What are your tips for people just diagnosed? 

 

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Dr. Steffanie Campbell specializes in Internal Medicine at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic – Pearland. Preventive care, individualized care plans and women’s health are her primary clinical interests.

 

Topics: thyroid, hypothyroidism treatment, hypothyroidism

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