Q: How would I know if I had hypothyroidism?
A: The symptoms of hypothyroidism are deceptively vague:
3. Increased sensitivity to cold.
5. Pale, dry skin.
6. A puffy face.
7. Hoarse voice.
8. An elevated blood cholesterol level.
9. Unexplained weight gain.
10. Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness.
11. Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints.
12. Muscle weakness.
13. Heavier than normal menstrual periods.
14. Brittle fingernails and hair.
How many of us haven’t had some of these problems?! You may even have one or more of them on a daily basis–and still not have hypothryoidism.
Because the symptoms are so vague, I make screening for thyroid conditions a routine part of my practice. All it takes is a simple blood test. If your own physician is not in the habit of doing this test on a regular basis, have a discussion at your next visit about whether a baseline assessment is warranted.
Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting www.beekman1802.com.
Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.