UNDERSTANDING Hormones Part 2
When it’s your thyroid?
Does fatigue drag you down day after day? Do you have brain fog, weight gain, chills, or hair loss? Or is the opposite true for you: Are you often revved up, sweaty, or anxious? Your thyroid gland could be to blame. This great regulator of body and mind sometimes goes haywire, particularly in women. Getting the right treatment is critical to feel your best and avoid serious health problems.
What is the thyroid gland?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck. It produces hormones that control the speed of your metabolism -- the system that helps the body use energy. Thyroid disorders can slow down or rev up metabolism by disrupting the production of thyroid hormones. When hormone levels become too low or too high, you may experience a wide range of symptoms.
If TSH is high, it typically means that your
thyroid function is too low (hypothyroid)
If TSH is low, then it generally means the thyroid is overactive (hyperthyroid
Thyroid disease or menopause?
Because thyroid disorders can cause changes in menstrual cycle and mood, the symptoms are sometimes mistaken for menopause. If a thyroid problem is suspected, a simple blood test can determine whether the true culprit is menopause or a thyroid disorder -- or a combination of the two.
Who Should Be Tested?
If you think you have symptoms of a thyroid problem, ask your doctor if you should be tested. People with symptoms or risk factors may need tests more often. Hypothyroidism more frequently affects women over age 60. Hyperthyroidism is also more common in women. A family history raises your risk of either disorder.
Diagnosing Thyroid Disorders:
If your doctor suspects a thyroid disorder, a blood test can help provide an answer. This test measures the level of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), a kind of master hormone that regulates the work of the thyroid gland.
TSH is high = (hypothyroid).
TSH is low = (hyperthyroid.)