Mental Health & Wellbeing / Physical health

Do You Need To Get Your Thyroid Checked?

image source: wikimedia

“I have to be cautious, have my thyroid levels checked, and as long as I do that I’m fine.” ~ Gail Devers

Do you need to get your thyroid checked?

I only ask because I had no idea that I did until after I had it done, last week.

I had a series of blood tests and they all came back fine except for the thyroid function one, which showed that my thyroid is under active and that I need to start taking levothyroxine to replace the amount of the thyroxine hormone that it is no longer making.

I had no idea.

Well, I mean, I thought I had a problem in my neck. It just didn’t feel right. But I was thinking maybe glandular fever.

I’ve been feeling rubbish for ages and it seemed like how I remembered glandular fever to be from back when I had it as a teenager, and I had what I was told was virus after virus throughout last year, so I thought possibly could all have been the same virus. The glandular fever virus.

Especially once I became borderline narcoleptic a few weeks ago and started sleeping so much that even the cat thought that I was being lazy.

Then I started worrying that I was actually just a lazy and unmotivated person.

After all my mental health stuff has been pretty much under control lately and yet I’ve only made minimal progress on the projects that I was so excited to get a start on before the Christmas period. Maybe I was the problem after all, maybe I was just a slacker.

Then I wondered if maybe the medication had stopped working for just the depressive part of my illness but that just somehow didn’t feel like it could be the right answer.

So anyway, since I couldn’t carry on sleeping all the time, and after what I think was my sixth bought of flu in a year, I went to the GP who ordered the blood tests.

And hypothyroidism came back as the explanation for how run down and awful I’ve felt for ages.

I like explanations. I like diagnoses.

I like being told, here, this is the reason things just aren’t quite working right for you.

Once I have the diagnosis of the problem I can conceptualise it. And I know what I can do to try to treat it or adjust to it.

Receiving this diagnosis has made me feel around 15% better already; as knowing that I’m definitely ill has allowed me to stop feeling guilty for sleeping all the time and to stop trying figure out what I might have done wrong that could be making me get sick so much more often than anybody else.

Since last week I’ve learned the an under active thyroid could be an explanation for rather more people, especially more women, than I would have thought. Approximately 1 in 50 women and 1 in 1,000 will develop hypothyroidism in their lifetime.

The common symptoms, accord to patient.info, are:

  • Tiredness
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Aches
  • Feeling cold
  • Dry skin
  • Lifeless hair
  • Fluid retention
  • Mental slowing
  • Depression

I’m not really sure what fluid retention is but other than that I ticked off all of the above.

Less common symptoms include:

  • A hoarse voice
  • Irregular or heavy menstrual periods
  • Infertility
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Memory loss or confusion in the elderly

I’ve had at least a couple of those as well.

The problem is that these are all common symptoms of many other things as well, some of them being things that I’ve been diagnosed with already, and they’re also possible side effects of some of the medications that I take. This has made it easy for my under active thyroid problem to go undetected.

Probably for ages.

Hopefully, though, now I have medication I should start to feel better over the next couple of months.

After that I will have to stay on the medication indefinitely but on the plus side I will receive my levothyroxine prescriptions for free. In fact I will get all of my prescriptions for everything for free for as long as I have a thyroid problem, and they’re currently irreversible.

So there’s that.

As well as an under active thyroid it’s possible to have an over active thyroid.

That causes symptoms such as:

  • Nervousness and anxiety
  • Hyperactivity
  • Unexplained or unplanned weight loss
  • Swelling of the thyroid gland causing a noticeable lump in the throat

This problem, known as hyperthyroidism can usually also be treated with medication.

So, could you need to get your thyroid checked?

 

 

 

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