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Health, Hormones and Hypothyroidism

April 11th, 2022

Are you tired? Frustrated by the lack of vim and vigor that you “used” to have? Your problem may not be what you are doing on the outside, but what your hormones are doing on the inside. Take the next few moments to think about your health and wellness. Take a quick look at this checklist: Have you noticed any of the following signs or symptoms?

Hard stools / constipation
Sensitivity to cold
Fatigue or feel slow
Heavy menstrual periods
Joint or muscle pain
Paleness / dry skin
Sadness / depression
Thin, brittle hair or fingernails
Weakness
Weight gain without trying
Decreased sweating
If a few, or many, of these symptoms are familiar to you, you might have a low-functioning thyroid gland. Underactive thyroid or Hypothyroidism is more common in women and people over the age of 50. There are lots of reasons your thyroid gland may not be functioning properly. I had thyroid surgery in my 20′s and they removed one of my two glands. So with only one functioning gland, it is easy to see why, almost thirty years later, I am dealing with a low thyroid hormone issue.

The thyroid gland is a vitally important butterfly shaped hormonal gland located in the front of the neck below the voice box. Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone for the body’s systems to function properly. One of the most important functions of our thyroid gland is to help control metabolism.

How can you tell if hypothyroidism might be an issue for you? Well if you’re like me, first I noticed changes in my mood, energy level and physical health that lasted more than a few weeks. I was dragging my butt around and feeling like crap. I was gaining weight, had extremely low blood pressure, a serious bout of depression, lack of enthusiasm for life, and was struggling to do low intensity exercise because anything vigorous was just not an option – my energy level was zapped! Thankfully, I found a health-care provider who took my concerns seriously and began looking for the root of the problem.

The best way to determine if your thyroid hormone levels are up to par is through lab work. That means they draw all sorts of blood. If you think your thyroid might be an issue for you, get in for a consultation with your doctor. Talk with your physician to find out if testing your thyroid levels is an appropriate next step for improving your health.

It was a relief to know that my mood swings and symptoms were not “all in my head,” but there was an actual medical reason why I felt so out of whack! Lab work clearly showed that my thyroid gland was not producing anywhere close to a healthy range of hormones to keep all systems functioning properly.

While I am not a fan of taking medication, sometimes it IS necessary for the maintenance of good health. Thyroid levels can return to normal with treatment, (FYI – treatment is medication that needs to be taken for the rest of your natural life!) There are no preventative measures to keep your body producing a healthy amount of hormones. Your body and thyroid gland can produce the right amount of hormones, it can overproduce – which is another issue, Hyperthyroidism, or it doesn’t produce enough hormones, Hypothyroidism. Whether your thyroid levels are high or low it’s a condition that is easily treatable with proper medication.

At first I was frustrated my body was not functioning the way I thought it should. It is helps to know that there was nothing I “could have” or “should have” done to avoid hypothyroidism. My thyroid issues did not occur because I did not “eat right” or needed to “exercise more.” But, I have to admit, that I was not as pro-active as I should have been to advocate for myself that something was wrong and seek medical attention to help get things fixed.

Left untreated, low thyroid levels can lead to more serious health concerns: decreased taste & smell, hoarseness, puffy face/hands/feet, slow speech, thickening of the skin, thinning of the eyebrows (and not in the freshly plucked way), lack of libido, stress and mood swings. A few simple blood tests and proper treatment can reverse all symptoms and get you back to one-hundred percent healthy.

If you are like me, and have been dragging around thinking that you “just have the mid-winter blues” but don’t seem to be able to shake them, consider a check-up. With your doctor’s expert help, whether it is a thyroid problem, or there is some other medical reason for you to be feeling off-balance, there may be a quick and easy “fix” to help your body function better and get back to feeling like your normal, healthy and happy self. If anything is out of balance, sooner or later everything will be out of balance! Don’t wait or procrastinate. Take charge of your health and be sure all systems are in good working order to keep you 100% healthy. Keeping our hormone levels in balance is a very important part of a healthy body, mind, and spirit.