Jul 03, 2015


I Have Hypothyroidism — Have You Checked Your Thyroid Function Lately?

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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:

  • Fatigue
  • Sluggishness
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • 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
  • Depression

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?



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Angélica Pérez-Litwin

Angélica Pérez-Litwin

Dr. Perez-Litwin is the Founder & CEO of ELLA Leadership Institute, a multi-platform professional development organization designed to advance the careers and leadership of women. She's the creative force behind the LATINAS THINK BIG™ national tour, sponsored and live-streamed by Google.

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  1. Thanks so much for sharing your personal story and details on checking for symptoms. My sister has a similar issue.

  2. Thanks for this, Angelica! I have often wondered about my thyroid and will be sure to have it checked next time I go in for my annual.

  3. Thank you for sharing your personal experience of living with hypothyroidism. I was not aware of the symptoms of this condition until now.

  4. Thank you for sharing this post. I just had surgery to remove an ovarian cyst (and right ovary). Thankfully it was not cancer but a collection of thyroid tissue. I’m going for my post op appointment at the end of the month. I will be asking lots of questions about the thyroid.

  5. My cousin is going through a lot right now. In our family many of us have problems with our thyroids. Unfortunately, my cousin an RN, was feeling very depressed… She went to her doctor and they gave her anti-depressants. Meanwhile she had no idea it was her thyroid. Finally a few months ago they found out she had thyroid cancer. N0w she is going through periods of radiation and had to have her thyroid removed last month. This is something us mujeres really need to take care of.. and have our blood levels checked. I’m having mine done tomorrow from my endocrinologist! Thanks, Angelica, for posting this article.

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