Thyroid Health

My friend Shirley is small. Her personality is so big, though, that most people never notice.

Shirley is the type of friend who is kind, listens a lot, and loves to laugh. She doesn’t talk a lot, but when she does it’s usually something so smart, savvy, or funny that everyone in the room stops to listen. Through her job as a reporter, she’s met some of the most famous people in the world and they all love her, too.

She described helping one superstar put on her spandex pants before a concert.

“Let me tell you, that girl has freckles everywhere,” Shirley remembered.

One day at work I noticed that my buddy was losing weight. When you’re as small as Shirley (5-foot tall and 100 pounds), weight loss is noticeable. Shirley wasn’t happy. Turns out, Shirley has hyperthyroidism. My funny friend’s thyroid works as fast as her mind.

A lot of people have thyroid issues, especially women, who are 10 times more likely to have problems. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your throat that’s as big as your thumbs put together. But this little guy can cause big problems.

Thyroid hormones go all over your body and can cause problems like dry skin, hair loss, feeling overheated or feeling cold, losing sleep, losing sex drive, feeling exhausted, high blood pressure, irregular menstrual cycles, feeling achy, trouble getting pregnant, weight gain, anxiety or weight loss.

For Shirley, that’s how it was diagnosed. She had started to lose so much weight that her doctors were getting concerned. She was down to 87 pounds before they figured out what was going on.

Most people would think that losing weight without trying would be a good problem to have. Not so. Shirley explained that dramatic weight loss is not a good thing and she had gotten very sick. Her doctors monitor her medication to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

A lot of women who have recently had babies or been through menopause think the changes in their bodies are due to that but really have thyroid issues. Up to half of the 30 million Americans who have thyroid issues are undiagnosed.

Furthermore, if you are having several of these problems, see your doctor and ask him to check on your thyroid health.

By Amanda Rogers for Surepoint Medical Centers

Amanda Rogers is a freelance writer based in Fort Worth, Texas

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