AnonymousJuly 9, 1998 at 8:48 pmPost count: 93172
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
By Rhonda Gibson / Gannett News Service
WASHINGTON — Got the summertime blues? Have your thyroid examined, not
Chances are good, especially for women, that unexplained mood swings, lethargy
and sadness may be caused by thyroid disease, says the American Association of
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
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
* 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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