Eileen Trainor, Thyroid Disease Survivor
This paragraph will surprise some viewers and enlighten others:
. . . 59 million Americans have thyroid problems, and the majority of these thyroid sufferers remain undiagnosed and untreated, in part because patients and their doctors are unaware of the many different risk factors, signs and symptoms of a thyroid condition (http://thyroidawarenessmonth.com).
hypothyroidism - slow, fatigued, fat
I have hypothyroidism, the most common thyroid problem. My thyroid gland produces insufficient thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism causes the metabolism to slow down. Some of the side effects are fatigue, depression, weight gain, hair loss, infertility, low sex drive, memory and concentration problems.
I had another complication. I had a connection between my thyroid and my throat that never closed when I was a baby. This enabled a large cyst to form in one lobe of my thyroid. It was huge. I finally decided I should have that lobe of my thyroid surgically removed (lobectomy) because I was sick of people asking, "Do you know you have a huge . . ?"
I did not want surgery. I am the epitome of Murphy's Law. If something can go wrong, it will. Surprisingly, I made it through surgery with no problems. I was gorked on pain medication, so I did not really know what was going on. I felt the bandage and knew the incision was small, so I was happy.
Then I started to feel pressure around my throat; the pressure turned to pain. The doctor checked my incision, felt around my neck and then moved faster than any doctor I know. I was bleeding internally. Thanks, Murphy!
When we entered the OR, the anesthesiologist told me that he would be taking short cuts to sedate me before I bled out. This meant he stopped my breathing before he could intubate me and give me oxygen or anesthesia. I remember mouthing, "I can't breathe!" with what little air I had. If that was not scary enough, I had a tube rammed down my throat (again) without any pain medicine.
This time when I awoke, I felt terrible. I had been intubated twice, under anesthesia twice, operated on twice, and I was in PAIN. One of the lobes of my Thyroid was gone, along with the cyst. In its place, I had a gash in my neck that looked like I fell on a knife and rolled over. Below that I had a hole with what I called my garden hose attached. Luckily, I had a duster (dress with snaps down the front and two huge pockets). I put the tube inside my duster, cut a hole for the bag in the pocket and almost looked human.
Thyroid Disease Runs in Families
I was the bellwether in my family. When my mother started feeling fatigued, she got tested and sure enough, she had hypothyroidism. Then my older sister was diagnosed, then my younger sister. A few years ago, my niece started looking fatigued and depressed. We carted her off to the doctor. Guess what it was? Hypothyroidism.
Your dog can have thyroid problems. As they age, they are exposed to all the pollutants we are, so it is not surprising they develop thyroid problems, usually hypothyroidism. If you pet is losing hair, fatigued and gaining weight, ask the vct to test the animal's blood.
~~~~~~~~ Believe it or Not ~~~~~~~~
Many doctors, predominantly male, never diagnose thyroid problems in women. In fact, in the early 1980s, a doctor had the audacity to tell a friend of mine that she just needed to get married and her symptoms would vanish.
hyperthyroidism - fast, anxious, thin
Men are just as susceptible to thyroid disease. A coworker of mine had hyperthyroidism. His thyroid produced too much thyroid hormone. This led to stress and high blood pressure. Hyperthyroidism may lead to anxiety and/or panic attacks, tremors, diarrhea, muscle weakness, eye problems, insomnia, and rapid, debilitating weight loss.
He was treated by radioactive iodine that gradually shrunk his thyroid gland, eventually destroying it. This therapy is safer than it sounds; in fact, it is the most commonly used hyperthyroid treatment in the US. Unlike anti-thyroid medications, radioactive iodine is a permanent and more reliable cure for hyperthyroidism. However, you then have to take thyroid hormone replacement therapy, just like someone with hypothyroidism.
Some types of hyperthyroidism, like solitary toxic adenoma,requires surgery to remove half of your thyroid gland (known as a lobectomy) with the adenoma. For nearly all other types of hyperthyroidism, including Graves' disease, the surgery is a nearly total thyroidectomy.
~~~~~~~~ Believe it or Not ~~~~~~~~
I think the increase in thyroid disease is a symptom of a sick Earth. Mercury, cadmium, lead, aluminum, nickel, and other heavy metals can all cause thyroid damage. These heavy metals are released by mining for copper and gold and processing for coal, natural gas and oil.
Learn the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Graves Disease, and the appearance of goiters and nodules so that you can spot them in friends, family and children. Thyroid cancer is, unfortunately, one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States.
Visit the website, thyroidawarenessmonth.com.