Thyroid disease is more common than diabetes or heart disease, affecting as many as 30 million Americans – with more than half of those people undiagnosed. Women are five times more likely than men to suffer from hypothyroidism (when the gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone). Aging is just one risk factor for hypothyroidism. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism (the over production of thyroid hormone) may result in a racing pulse; feeling irritable and overheated; trouble sleeping or weight loss, in spite of a good appetite; and feelings of anxiousness and nervousness.
Untreated thyroid disease may lead to elevated cholesterol levels and subsequent heart disease, as well as infertility and osteoporosis. Research also shows that there is a strong genetic link between thyroid disease and other autoimmune diseases, including types of diabetes, arthritis and anemia.
Since many symptoms may be hidden or mimic other diseases and conditions, the best way to know for sure is to ask your health care provider for a TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test, a blood test to verify your thyroid gland’s condition.