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  • Anonymous
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      I came across this and thought would share it with you. Looks like
      info is getting out there!!!

      Tuesday, July 7, 1998

      Got the blahs? Get your thyroid
      gland checked

      By Rhonda Gibson / Gannett News Service

      WASHINGTON — Got the summertime blues? Have your thyroid examined, not
      your head.
      Chances are good, especially for women, that unexplained mood swings, lethargy
      and sadness may be caused by thyroid disease, says the American Association of
      Clinical Endocrinologists.
      Frequently dismissed as stress or aging, depression-like symptoms actually may
      be a sign of problems with the small, butterfly-shaped thyroid gland at the base of the
      “All too often, people are quick to overlook the symptoms of thyroid disease and
      blame themselves for something that really may be a physiological problem,” said Dr.
      Jack Baskin, president of the association.
      More than 13 million Americans suffer thyroid malfunction, yet fewer than half
      receive treatment. The disease is five to seven times more common in women, and is
      more likely to occur after age 60.
      An AACE study this year found only one in five experiencing depression-like
      symptoms in the past two years ever has been tested for thyroid disease. Many
      never see their doctors, while others are prescribed anti-depressants by physicians
      who assume the problem is mental.
      “We’re finding lots of people (are) prescribed anti-depressants without ever
      having their thyroid checked. The problem goes untreated,” Baskin said.
      Left undetected and untreated, thyroid disease can cause long-term complications,
      such as elevated cholesterol levels leading to heart disease and menstrual
      irregularities leading to infertility.
      The thyroid gland produces, stores and circulates thyroid hormone, which
      regulates the body’s metabolism — the rate at which the body produces energy from
      Although relatively small, the thyroid gland influences the function of many of the
      body’s key organs, including the heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin. Thyroid
      hormone also affects muscle strength, reproductive functions and appetite.
      Hyperthyroidism results from an overactive thyroid and causes heat intolerance,
      weight and hair loss, rapid heartbeat and decreased menstrual flow.
      In contrast, hypothyroidism, the most common type of thyroid disorder, results
      from an underactive thyroid and brings cold sensitivity, depression, lethargy, weight
      gain, irregular menstrual cycles and sometimes increased menstrual flow.
      Hypothyroidism may take years to develop, and symptoms may occur gradually.
      A doctor who suspects hypo- or hyperthyroidism usually will measure the thyroid
      hormone levels through a simple test that checks the level of thyroid- stimulating
      hormone in the blood.
      “Any woman over age 30 should have the TSH test every two years or so as part
      of a regular physical exam,” said Rebecca Bahn, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in
      Rochester, Minn.

      Thyroid disease

      About 13 million Americans, mostly women, suffer from thyroid disorder, but
      most go untreated. Thyroid failure symptoms often mimic those of depression.
      Symptoms of thyroid disease
      * Mood swings
      * Lethargy
      * Hypersensitivity to heat or cold
      * Hair loss
      * Unexplained weight loss or gain
      * Irregular menstrual cycles
      Source: American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists

      Copyright 1998, The Detroit News


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