(WellnessPursuits.com) – Are you feeling older, achy and tired lately? Have you put on a few pounds? Is your hair thinning? Before you chalk it up to just getting older, you should know that a common condition, hypothyroidism, often goes undiagnosed. And it can wreak havoc on your health!
Night sweats, irritability, weight gain, fatigue, joint pain and impaired memory can all be signs of hypothyroidism. So is a puffy face, dry skin and depression. All of these things can be symptoms of a thyroid disorder, but not all of these symptoms show up and those that do can be subtle and can often be mistaken as other ailments or conditions.
Hypothyroidism: An Overview
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormones. There are many reasons why the thyroid may stop or be unable to produce enough hormones, including thyroid disease, autoimmune responses, congenital defects, medications and age. About 4.6% of the population has the condition, with most cases being in women over the age of 60.
Fortunately, most cases are easily treated with a daily thyroid hormone supplement. And the best part is that most symptoms subside with treatment. Regular blood testing is a must for this condition.
Why Hypothyroidism Goes Undiagnosed
The American Thyroid Association says that up to 60% of people with thyroid disease don’t know they have it. Thyroid conditions can easily be detected with a simple blood test, but it’s up to you to relay your symptoms to your doctor so he or she could order the labs for you. Many people dismiss their symptoms without ever discussing them with their physician.
The symptoms of hypothyroidism often mimic other, more common, diseases and the aging process itself. A complaint of thinning hair and a small weight increase if you’re middle-aged is still notable and still worth mentioning to your doctor. Additionally, senior patients often have atypical symptoms, which can make it even more difficult to zero in on this particular problem.
Consequences of Untreated/Overtreated Hypothyroidism
Untreated hypothyroidism can have devastating health consequences, including mental decline, heart disease, decreased lung function and elevated cholesterol levels. In severe cases, hypothyroidism can be deadly. What’s more, the symptoms associated with the disorder often get worse over time.
If you over treat the condition, you can develop hyperthyroidism, which can be harmful as well. Hyperthyroidism can cause rapid heart rate and heart failure, eye problems, brittle bones, blood clots and stroke. Adequate treatment involves close monitoring and medication adjustments as needed.
We all get older. But some of the symptoms we generally associate with aging could actually be caused by a real medical condition. That’s why it’s so important that you talk about all of the symptoms you’re experiencing with your doctor, no matter how trivial you may think they are.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Pursuits!
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