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Hypothyroid: The Silent Downward Spiral

Hypothyroid: The Silent Downward Spiral

Rebecca Brown | DivineCaroline

September 15, 2010

“Are you really tired? Or have you just had a couple of glasses of wine?”

This was the third time in two weeks that someone had asked me the same question as a result of me slurring my words during a conversation. No matter how hard I concentrated on articulating the words, I couldn’t seem to get them out clearly.

A concerned friend suggested I get tested for MS. I was terrified. I Googled it and found that I did have a few symptoms indicative of MS aside from my slurring: depression, weakness, and balance problems. I made an appointment with my doctor immediately.

As it turns out, I didn’t have MS. I have hypothyroid, a disease caused by an under-active thyroid gland which affects more women than men. Once diagnosed, hypothyroid is simple (in most cases) and inexpensive to treat.

After hearing my diagnosis, I did some research on hypothyroidism. When I saw the list of symptoms, I couldn’t believe it. The list I saw contained fourteen symptoms and I had eleven of them. Even worse, I’d had these symptoms for over a year but had done nothing about them. I’d been attributing most of them to stress, big life changes (job, apartment, and break-up) and to just getting older.

It’s hard to believe that with all the information available to us now that someone like me could be clueless enough to let major health issues go uninvestigated. But the problem with hypothyroid is that many of its symptoms are common and often only examined as one-off problems rather than looking at the symptoms cumulatively. Fatigue, for example can be attributed to not getting enough sleep and also to countless other illnesses or health problems. But when talking to a doctor, most of us would probably only mention the fatigue. We might not think to mention the fact that we also feel cold all the time, that some of our eyebrow hair is falling out or that our skin feels itchy because those things on their own aren’t life-threatening.

Have a look at the list of some of the hypothyroid symptoms below. If you suspect you have hypothyroid, talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend A TSH test, a T3 test, a T4 test, or all of the above. With a little education and insight, maybe you can take your health into your own hands sooner than I did.

• Severe fatigue/lack of energy
• Weight gain or inability to lose weight even with diet and exercise
• Depression
• Difficulty tolerating cold and lower body temperature
• Sleeping more than average
• Puffiness in face and extremities
• Brittle hair, itchy scalp, hair loss
• Loss of hair in outer part of eyebrow
• Diminished sex drive
• Slowness or slurring of speech
• Heavy and prolonged menstrual periods
• Inability to conceive a child
• Hoarseness
• Bruising/clotting problems
• Memory loss or inability to concentrate
• Constipation

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