With age comes wisdom, but getting older can also lead to feeling tired more easily, dry skin and constipation. These symptoms are also the side effects of thyroid issues, such as hypothyroidism, and the similarities between the two are the reason why the disease is often overlooked.
Approximately 10 million Americans have the condition, which is most common in women and people over age 60. About 10 percent of women have some degree of thyroid hormone deficiency and don’t even know it, as it is often missed or mistaken for other conditions.
The thyroid’s main function is to produce hormones that regulate how your body uses and stores energy. If it isn’t producing enough T3 and T4 hormone, everything slows down. Look out for the following symptoms:
- Feeling cold
- Gaining weight (about 5 to 10 pounds)
- Feeling depressed
- Having irregular menstrual cycles
A blood test is the only way to rule out a thyroid condition. If you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, you’ll likely be prescribed a synthetic thyroid hormone pill to take daily.
It’s especially important to take your thyroid medication (if prescribed). Unmanaged hypothyroidism can lead to high cholesterol, heart disease and a life-threatening condition called myxedema coma. Hypothyroidism has no cure, and treatment is a life-long commitment. When your thyroid hormones are well controlled, you should see the side effects improve.
If you notice a change in the way you feel, don’t assume it is just the aging process. Talk to your doctor to rule out a possible thyroid condition.
Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at UCFHealth.com, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.
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