The Women's Health Resource Center
Hormones produced by the thyroid gland affect almost every organ and system in the body. When the thyroid is overactive, hyperthyroid or underactive, hypothyroid, it can have serious effects on your health.
One in eight women will develop a thyroid problem in her lifetime. Most common is hypothyroidism. It is estimated that 6 to 8 million Americans have hypothyroidism, yet almost half of them are undiagnosed because the symptoms are easily confused with signs of aging or menopause. Less common, is hyperthyroidism effecting approximately 1 million Americans. Both are 5 times more common in women than in men. The cause of thyroid disease is not known. A family history of thyroid dysfunction and autoimmune disease are risk factors.
Symptoms of an underactive thyroid include sleepiness and fatigue, loss of memory, scant menstrual periods, dry skin, depression, increase in weight, puffiness, sensitivity to cold, hair loss and constipation. Symptoms of an overactive thyroid include nervousness, irritability, difficulty sleeping, bulging eyes, rapid heartbeat, increased sweating, heat intolerance, unexplained weight loss, heavy menstrual periods, tremors of the fingers and frequent bowel movements.
A simple blood test allows physicians to identify and treat thyroid disease and screening is recommended for all women over age 50 or women over age 40 with a family history of thyroid disorders.
For more information about thyroid disease contact the Women's Health Resource Center at 415-600-0500 or the Community Health Resource Center at 415-923-3155.
What you can do…
- Know your family history.
- Ask your health care provider about screening for thyroid disease if you experience any symptoms, are over 50 or have a family history of thyroid conditions.