Your thyroid is a small organ that you probably don’t think about very much but it has a very important job. There are hormones in your thyroid that help your metabolism, heart function, and keep your skin healthy. If you have an imbalance in these thyroid hormones you may start to notice a lot of very undesirable symptoms.
There are two different types of thyroid disorders that you can have.
Hypothyroidism (too little of the hormones) – Symptoms:
– Dry skin
– Weight gain
– Achy joints
Hyperthyroidism (too much of the hormones) – Symptoms:
– Sleep disturbances
– Racing heart
– Weight loss
Both of these disorders have symptoms that are not rare or uncommon and can be associated with many other disorders or just a bad day. This could be the reason that so many people have either hypo- or hyperthyroidism. The American Association of Clinical Endorcrinologists states that over half of the 27 million who have a thyroid disorder have not been diagnosed. The most common of the two is hypothyroidism which makes up almost 80% of the diagnosed cases.
The hard part about getting diagnosed is that the doctors will try to treat the symptoms themselves as stand-alone disorders instead of putting them together and seeing the bigger picture. They will give the patient anti-depressants, tell them to go on a diet and exercise more, or give them skin creams. It takes a long time and a lot of doctor visits to get the proper diagnosis which takes a simple blood test. Patients need to be their own advocate if they feel that they have a thyroid issue so that they can get the proper treatment the first time.
The normal blood test values for the thyroid hormones are between 0.4 and 2.5. If you have values that are below 0.4 you should be diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. If your values are between 2.5 and 4 your doctor will not put you on medication but will warn you that you are on the verge of having hypothyroidism and will suggest a retest within a year. Anything above 4 means that you have hypothyroidism and should be treated with medication to balance the hormones.