Hypothyroidism is something that I face every single day — first thing in the morning — as I reach for my bottle of Synthroid to take my daily dose (.88mc). This is a ritual I will need to maintain for the rest of my life, in order to keep healthy.
Back in 2005, I began to experience significant weight gain. I was also feeling depressed — which confused me because everything in my life was going well. My skin had become significantly dry, especially my face and arms. My hair, which had always been shinny and beautifully curled, had become bristled and lacked moisture.
The worst part was how fatigued I was feeling. No matter how much I slept, I still woke up feeling tired and lethargic. For someone who’s always been Type A (personality) — running around doing a million things — this became a tremendously challenging symptom to deal with.
I had NO idea what was going on. I decided to visit my primary care provider and presented my symptoms and complaints. After a thorough physical exam and clinical interview, they drew blood and send those to the laboratory.
Four days later, I received a call from my doctor, informing me that I had “hypothyroidism.”
“What?! What is that? I’ve heard of it, but what is hypothyroidism?” I asked the doctor on the other line.
And so, with that conversation began my education on hypothyroidism and living life with this condition. I was prescribed Synthroid (a synthetic thyroid hormone) immediately and I was monitored for several months to make sure my thyroid levels were normal.
Today, I continue to be challenged by the impact of hypothyroidism. Because the thyroid gland controls your metabolism — it is very hard to lose weight. I remember the days when it was SO easy to lose five or ten pounds. I also experience fatigue easily, and I’m always cold. Getting a good night of sleep is also challenging at times.
Hypothyroidism is Treatable
The good news is that hypothyroidism can and should be treated. If left untreated, it can cause a number of health problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease.
Hypothyroidism is highly under diagnosed among women, especially Latinas. If you are experiencing the following symptoms, make an appointment with your general physician and check your thyroid function levels.
The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism vary widely, depending on the severity of the hormone deficiency. At first, you may barely notice the symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue and sluggishness, or you may simply attribute them to getting older. But as your metabolism continues to slow, you may develop more obvious signs and symptoms. Hypothyroidism signs and symptoms may include:
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Pale, dry skin
- A puffy face
- Hoarse voice
- An elevated blood cholesterol level
- Unexplained weight gain
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
- Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
- Muscle weakness
- Heavier than normal menstrual periods
- Brittle fingernails and hair
When hypothyroidism isn’t treated, signs and symptoms can gradually become more severe. Constant stimulation of your thyroid to release more hormones may lead to an enlarged thyroid (goiter). In addition, you may become more forgetful, your thought processes may slow, or you may feel depressed. Source: Mayo Clinic
Hay you ever checked your thyroid function levels?