Why You Should Ask Your Doctor About Your Thyroid
Health and Wellness

Why You Should Ask Your Doctor About Your Thyroid

Take the next step in understanding your health.

Nucleus Medical Media

Do you:

Feel exhausted all the time?
Lack energy or fight to get out of bed most mornings?
Have uncontrollable breakouts?
Find yourself squinting/sensitive to bright daylight?
Often feel cold or randomly have the chills?
Feel lightheaded, dizzy or occasionally see stars?
Gain or lose weight with no obvious explanation?
Have trouble gaining or losing weight no matter how hard you try?
Struggle with mood swings, anxiety or depressive episodes?
Feel irritable or frustrated about all of the above?

If yes, you should ask your doctor about your thyroid.

I've been diagnosed with hypothyroidism for about a year now, and I can't tell you how thankful I am that my primary care automatically tested my TSH and T4 levels in a regulatory blood test.

Before doing my research, I was much like most people reading this article: that is, asking myself, "what in the world are TSH and T4 levels?" when a nurse called to tell me my levels were imbalanced.

TSH stands for Thyroid Simulating Hormone. If test results come back with abnormal TSH levels, a doctor may call for a T4 test. T4 is a hormone produced by the thyroid that affects growth and metabolism.

When these levels are out of whack, the results can be pretty devastating.

Depending on your symptoms, you could be affected by thyroiditis, hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

A major problem with these diseases is that the symptoms are so vague. People will experience a lot of these symptoms and convince themselves that they are clinically depressed, have anxiety, have bad genes or are just simply bad at losing/gaining weight.

For the longest time, I convinced myself that I wasn't doing enough or simply incapable of losing weight. All of high school, I struggled with my body image, but I was so frustrated with myself that I didn't have time to care what others thought. Post-graduation, I spent my entire first semester of college going to the gym, walking my dogs when I couldn't, and even taking a boxing class.

I cut back as much as I could out of my diet and still couldn't shed more than two pounds over the course of four months. I slept whenever and wherever I had the chance, constantly picked at my skin and convinced myself I was manic depressive.

I gave up.

I would get angry when I would see anything motivational post on social media encouraging me to "be the change" I wanted to see in myself. Don't even get me started on friends and family who offered to help me cut back or work out together. I felt terrible rolling my eyes and declining, but no one understood how hard it was for me to put in all of this effort and see no change (including myself).

What was the point in trying?

I felt like a failure.

Every time I went to the doctor, I mentioned how hard it was for me to lose weight, especially when comments were noted about my weight gain in the system. They started altering my birth control, switching me back and forth between brands in hopes or relieving some of my symptoms, including irregular and extremely heavy menstrual cramps and periods.

No one ever even mentioned hypothyroidism was a possibility.

I moved across the country and spent another semester of college walking to and from campus, going to the gym and eating as best as I could. I thought the fresh start would help me get back on track, but I still managed to gain thirty pounds in another four months. It wasn't until I went in for a general checkup with a new primary care doctor that I found out my thyroid was behind all of it.

Once I got that phone call, I hopped online and started doing my research. The doctor wanted to start me on medication as soon as possible. It took me a while to come to terms with having to take medication every single day for the rest of my life. I cried-- a lot -- partly because of the stigma, but mostly because I was happy to finally have an explanation.

A week after being on the medication, I was awake, alert and several pounds lighter.

Disclaimer: I am not condoning taking this medication as a form of weight loss. I'm also not condoning a "one size fits all" approach to thyroid medication. Every patient's levels require a different amount of micro-grams depending on his or her condition.

However, it did open my eyes to the fact that there was hope for me. There's no telling how long I've been affected by hypothyroidism pre-diagnosis. There's also no telling where I would be had I not gotten tested.

What was even more alarming was how under-reported it is because people spend months or even years believing their symptoms are mental health related when there is often a hormonal imbalance that is not typically tested on a regulatory blood test.

If it's there, it's so important to get it under control so it doesn't hold you back.
If it's not, you can rule it out as an option and head in another direction.

Take the next step in understanding your health.

Talk to your doctor. Ask about a T4 test. Trust me, it's worth it.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Minorities are consistently under-represented in our day-to-day lives, notably in the world of fashion. It's likely you're looking for a way to support black artists. Whether that's the case or you're just a fashion-lover in general, these brands aren't just some of the best black-owned fashion brands — they're some of the most innovative brands of our time, period.

From luxury staples to fun accessories and loungewear, these brands aren't just stunning names you should definitely be following on Instagram, each honors the founder's roots in unique ways with the power of storytelling through artistic expression that manifests in pieces we can't wait to wear.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

10 Home Items You Need For Stress Relief, On The Days You 'Literally Cannot'

Fill your home with peaceful, calming coping mechanisms.

I'd like to think that 2020 is teaching us a lot. Or will teach us a lot. Or will be a story we tell at parties one day. Ultimately, this year has been — and is probably going to continue to be — a bit of a mess.

At the beginning of the year, Australia was on fire and we mourned the death of Kobe Bryant. Then, coronavirus (COVID-19) took our spring and shut us in our homes, inciting panic over public health and sparking political upheaval at every decision made by local and federal officials alike. Now, a week after George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, a nationwide conversation is reignited with protests regarding racial injustice in the United States. There is an enormous amount of tension, hurt, and change that is upon the American people.

Keep Reading... Show less

No matter who you are (an introvert, person of color, member of the LGBTQ+ community, Scorpio, TikToker, you name it), we want to hear what dating in America is like for you and the thoughts you have while working through the talking stage, first dates, navigating love, working through dating problems, etc.

Keep Reading... Show less

30 Black-Owned Skincare Brands Every Beauty-Lover Should Know About In 2020

They're not changing the game — they're making a new one.

Skin is something most beauty-lovers obsess over from our early teens, whether our aim is to be glowier, softer, dewier, or poreless, most of us are consistently tracking a new skincare goal. No matter how many products we try, we'll likely forage on with the goal of IRL Photoshopped skin, no matter how many dollars go to them.

The black-founded skincare brands below are the brainchildren of extreme dedication and resilience within the privileged world of beauty. Born out of resilient entrepreneurs overcoming circumstance in a world that does not favor business people of color, these brands have loyal cult followings, and with good reason.

Keep Reading... Show less

A huge part of being in a relationship is communication and, well, part of communication is listening. So, why not have a little fun with your partner and see just how well they know you?

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

7 Ways You Can Safely Attend A Protest In The Middle Of A Pandemic

Wear a mask, but speak up.

It seems like coronavirus (COVID-19) has been around forever now. Life before masks and with public sporting events is a distant memory, hoping to make a comeback sometime this year. We've all had to make some sort of life changes to abide by this pandemic's rules. But that doesn't mean everything has stopped. On May 25, George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, sparking a cry for justice and racial equality across the nation.

For the last week, protests have taken place in major cities like New York City, LA, DC, Chicago, Phoenix, Portland, Dallas, and Floyd's hometown of Minneapolis. Many of the cities experiencing protests have begun phased reopening, while others (specifically New York City and LA) have yet to begin phase one of post-coronavirus reopening.

As COVID-19 is hardly in our rearview mirror, there are extra precautions protestors can take as they advocate for justice.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Helpful, Effective Mental Health Resources Specifically For The Black Community

These organizations are qualified, caring, and acknowledging the mental trauma individuals are experiencing.

On May 25, George Floyd died after being pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer. In the last week, protests have sprung up across the nation, demanding justice for Floyd and accountability for police brutality. Social media has also seen widespread conversation regarding Floyd's death, Black Lives Matter, and racism in the United States. Today is #BlackoutTuesday, where many are sharing a single black square to represent unity and support for Black voices.

In light of the heavy climate that our country is facing, it is a safe assumption that many individuals' mental health may be suffering. We wanted to highlight mental health resources and organizations that are Black-owned and prepared to assist in whatever you're going through.

Keep Reading... Show less

15 Black-Owned Haircare Brands That Cater As Much To Inclusivity As They Do To Your Locks

Championing Black entrepreneurs who make some of our hair favorites.

The haircare industry is vast. With the rise of social media came hundreds of thousands of empowered, niche brands. Single entrepreneurs came out of the woodwork with hair brands that now, years later, have dedicated cult followings.

Of those multitudes of brands, few cater to all hair types, most made without regard for curly or coily hair. These brands, however, are different.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments