MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Gaining weight? Feeling tired? Those are pretty generic symptoms but if you’re a woman, you may be one of a growing number of people with a thyroid disorder.
Sometimes you know something’s wrong, like Erika Jordan.
“I had no energy,” she said. “I wanted to take naps during the day. I was cold all the time.”
Sometimes you don’t.
Radio personality Lisa Dent didn’t notice anything.
“I think as working women, we’re always tired and you don’t really notice those symptoms,” she said.
It wasn’t until a routine checkup and blood test that doctors prescribed medication for her under-active thyroid.
“There’s definitely been a difference,” said Dent. “But it’s something that I have to monitor all the time.”
Your thyroid is located in your neck just below your wind pipe. You may never even notice it.
In fact, each year an estimated 15 million people living with thyroid disorders will go undiagnosed.
“I can’t tell you how many girlfriends I have that have a thyroid problem,” Dent said.
Dr. Tricia Moo-Young said more people are being diagnosed with thyroid disorders.
“Absolutely, without question,” she said.
A disease that used to affect women at around 50 is striking some as early as their 20s.
“It could be that as doctors because we know it’s more prevalent, we’re screening for it more routinely,” says Moo-Young. “Or there could be an environmental or exposure risk that’s causing it.”
Risks include everyday chemicals in cosmetics or pesticides, and even stress.
Dr. Moo-Young said under-active thyroid–or hypothyroidism–is by far the most common disorder. It’s usually revealed with a simple blood test or ultrasound, although sometimes you can just spot it.
Jordan said it was her appearance that got her to the doctor.
“It was my overgrown neck,” she said. “My neck was getting puffy, and I had this weight gain, and I was working out and eating right.”
Jordan discovered she had a goiter, an enlarged thyroid that required surgical removal.
She was reluctant. But Dr Moo-Young was persuasive, and she had the surgery. She now takes medication once a day.
How has it changed her life?
“My day is great. My energy level is high. No cold hands and feet. And the weight loss is fantastic,” said Jordan.
Each year, an estimated 15-million people living with thyroid disorders will go undiagnosed but it’s important to remember that most thyroid problems can be managed well if properly diagnosed and treated.