Treating Your Thyroid
There are many women who begin to feel sluggish, experience hair loss and brittle nails as they reach their 40's or 50's without realizing that their symptoms may be coming from a real illness. Hypothyroid, or underactive thyroid, can cause these and a number of additional symptoms or no symptoms at all. When it is discovered (through a simple blood test) the condition is usually treated with a drug named Synthroid. This drug is the same hormone that the body makes naturally to maintain thyroid function.
Thyroid function is based on a range of numbers that determine whether the thyroid is normal, overactive or underactive. As long as a woman's reading falls within the range that is considered normal, no treatment is required. However, many women find that finding and maintaining the right hormone levels isn't as easy as it seems.
Many women have found that their "ideal level" is one that does not fall within the normal range and taking Synthroid for an underactive thyroid can cause their symptoms to swing in the other direction. They might find themselves experiencing night sweats, heart palpitations, incessant hunger, weight loss, anxiety and a myriad of other symptoms that are most often associated with hyperthyroidism.
Women need to be aware of how they feel when they are taking Synthroid for their underactive thyroid and work with their doctor in order to treat symptoms. An endocrinologist, a specialist who treats thyroid conditions, is more likely to understand how sensitive the body is to Synthroid and work with you to treat your symptoms rather than making it their solitary goal to keep your thyroid levels within the "normal range".
Many women who develop an underactive thyroid do so around the same age that perimenopause symptoms can occur. This can make it difficult to determine that there is another issue that needs address. Many women who have an underactive thyroid never get diagnosed because they either have no noticeable symptoms or they assume they are symptoms of another medical condition. Detecting improper levels of the drug Synthroid can be even more difficult. Your awareness may be the only thing that determines whether a problem is detected and addressed.
Hair loss and brittle nails that are a symptom of an underactive thyroid may also be present in those with overactive thyroid or those who are taking a too-high dose of medication. If they don't recognize the symptoms for what they are, they might be confused as a sign that they need to increase their dosage rather than decrease it.
If your physician doesn't work with you to maintain the right levels of Synthroid for your underactive condition, get a referral to an endocrinologist who will work with you to treat your symptoms instead of aiming to meet the normal range that might not be right for you.Without realizing it, you may be making yourself sick by taking too much medication.