Thyroid Disease and Depression
Living with thyroid disease may be a frustrating challenge, but compound the disease with depression, and it gets more difficult to deal with. When thyroid hormone levels are too low, a condition called hypothyroidism, patients report that they feel fatigued and may suffer from weight gain. In addition, constipation may result causing patients to feel bloated. Straining to pass stool can cause hemorrhoids and cramps. Add depression to the mix, and a patient can feel outright miserable.
The symptoms are so varied. The only way to know for sure if a patient is suffering from hypothyroidism is to perform a blood test. TSH - thyroid stimulating hormone test - and T4 tests are the two blood tests that are used in the diagnosis of hypothyroidism. A physician could also look for dry skin, swelling, slower reflexes and a slower heart rate.
There is no cure for hypothyroidism. But fortunately, it is easy to treat. An endocrinologist will most likely prescribe medication to replace the amount of hormone that your thyroid gland can no longer make. The goal will be to bring your T4 and TSH levels back to normal levels. A simple pill-a-day lifetime hormone replacement can relieve uncomfortable symptoms. Determining the right dosage may require experimentation on the part of the endocrinologist. This can lead to frustration on the part of the patient, but with the right balance, symptoms could disappear.
Depression Signs and Symptoms
Depression can take many signs. Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, a feeling of sad, helplessness or hopelessness with or without crying spells are among a few of the symptoms. In addition, sleep deprivation, changes in weight, fatigue or slow body movements, less interest in sex and thoughts of death. Children and teens may react differently to depression and symptoms may vary. If you feel sad, helpless, or consistently tired, it is recommended that you see a health care professional.
Hypothyroidism - A Common Glandular Disorder
After diabetes, thyroid disease is the most common glandular disorder. Hypothyroidism - underactive thyroid - is twice as prevalent as over active thyroid glands - also called hyperthyroidism. Up to twenty percent of all chronic depression patients have been found to have low thyroid hormones.
A University of North Carolina study found that among women with decreased thyroid function, the rate of those that suffered depression was almost three times as great. Unfortunately, most patients who suffer from depression do not first get their thyroid tested.
Thyroid or Depression Concerns?
If you are concerned about your thyroid or are experiencing any symptoms that lead you to believe you might be suffering from hypothyroidism or depression, talk to a doctor for a personalized assessment.
Note: The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for professional care. This site should not be used in place of professional medical advice. The author is not a physician. For medical emergencies, call 911!
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