You’re a female officer with ongoing fatigue, hair loss, and sensitivity to cold, but can’t put your finger on any one cause. If this sounds like you, talk to your doctor about the possible need for a thyroid check.
Lost vitality and the other symptoms described suggest hypothyroidism, a condition in which your body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone to properly run your metabolism,” says Shane Magee, M.D., a board-certified Internal Medicine physician at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. “Though it can affect either gender, this underdiagnosed hormone deficiency appears more commonly among women.”
Dr. Magee says hypothyroidism symptoms may also include:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Abnormal menstrual cycles
- Paleness or dry, rough skin
The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck just below the larynx and releases hormones that control your metabolism.
Symptoms may worsen over time
“Hypothyroidism can be diagnosed with blood tests and treated with oral medications,” he says. “Once identified, individualized treatment options can be assessed.”
Dr. Magee says if left untreated, hypothyroidism could persist with worsening symptoms. He warns that advancing symptoms could include:
- Short-term memory loss
- Puffy face, hands, and feet
- Long-term depression
- Slowed or slurred speech
Don’t let it go untreated
“Anyone dealing with such symptoms should see a physician for a medical evaluation, which may include lab tests to help diagnose the condition,” concludes Dr. Magee, who cares for patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s Tanglewood Clinic near the Galleria.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Magee or another Kelsey-Seybold physician, call 713-442-0000.
Untreated hypothyroidism can lead to a number of health problems:
Goiter. Constant stimulation of your thyroid to release more hormones may cause the gland to become larger — a condition known as a goiter.
Heart problems. Hypothyroidism may also be associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
Mental health issues. Depression may occur early in hypothyroidism and may become more severe over time.
Infertility. Low levels of thyroid hormone can interfere with ovulation, which impairs fertility.
Birth defects. Babies born to women with untreated thyroid disease may have a higher risk of birth defects than babies born to healthy mothers.