Is it Your Thyroid?

Have you ever wondered why it is so easy to put on weight but yet SOO MUCH harder to get it off? Truth is, there are a lot of different factors that play into your unique weight gain. One of the most common causes of weight gain is hormonal imbalances.

Your thyroid is one of those organs that can lead to hormonal imbalances. This butterfly shaped gland in your neck plays a critical role in metabolism, thermoregulation, muscle control, brain development, mood as well as bone maintenance. So here is what you need to know about when to get your thyroid checked and why it's so important.

There is an estimated 20 million Americans that currently live with some form of thyroid disease. Unfortunately, up to 60% of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition. What's even more surprising is that women are 5-8 times more likely than men to have thyroid disease and 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid disorder during their lifetime!

Talk to Your Doctor

1) Get your thyroid evaluated every year with your doctor. Not only will your doctor perform a physical exam to palpate your thyroid to look for any abnormalities but they will also run blood work to evaluate how well your thyroid is functioning.

2) Ask your doctor to run a COMPLETE THYROID PANEL - this includes TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), Free T3 , Free T4, as well as Thyroid Antibodies. Many doctors, will only run TSH, but it is important to run the complete panel in order to get a better look at your thyroid function.

3) If you have a thyroid disease, make sure you are getting your thyroid labs completed every year as well as a thyroid ultrasound every 5- 10 years, depending on your particular case.

Symptoms of Low Functioning Thyroid (Hypothyroidism)

  • Hair loss

  • Weight Gain

  • Inability to Focus or Poor Memory

  • Enlarged Thyroid

  • Reduced Heart Rate

  • Chronic Debilitating Fatigue

  • Sensitivity to Cold

  • New Onset of Dry Skin

  • Puffiness

  • Constipation

  • Irregular menstrual cycles

  • Severe PMS

  • Depression or Mood Swings

  • Joint or Muscle Pain

  • High Cholesterol

Symptoms of Elevated Thyroid Function (Hyperthyroidism)

  • Hair loss

  • Bulging Eyes

  • Enlarged Thyroid

  • Heart Palpitations

  • Tremors

  • Heat intolerance

  • Insomnia

  • Weight Loss

  • Shortness of Breath

  • Diarrhea

  • Increased Appetite

  • Irregular Menses

  • Muscle Weakness

  • Sweating

  • Anxiety, Nervousness

  • Depression and Mood Swings

As you can see, some of the symptoms of low and high thyroid function are similar which is why being monitored by your doctor is so critical. It is also important to know that our body is constantly changing, which means, if you recently lost a lot of weight, had a lot of stress, changed your diet or recently had a baby, all of these factors can change the way our thyroid functions.

If you are a new mom, I HIGHLY recommend having a complete thyroid panel completed (about 3-6 months after birth) as I diagnose a lot of thyroid disease in women postpartum. Being tired after having a baby can be normal but sometimes it's not, so make sure you are being monitored by your doctor.

If your doctor is not willing to run a complete thyroid panel or doesn't understand why it is important to rerun thyroid antibodies each year, it might be time to find a new doctor.

Interested in getting a comprehensive evaluation of your thyroid? Click here to schedule your next consultation with me, Dr. Zen

In health and Happiness,
Dr. Zen