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Weight Problems & Thyroid Disorders

Q: For years I have had a weight problem, very low energy, and I'm always cold, even when others aren't. I've tried to diet without success. Could I have a thyroid problem?

Dr. Donnica:
You could. Ironically, most women with weight problems think that the cause is an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), which may cause weight gain and sluggishness among its many other symptoms. For 1 in 6 women over age 60, this is likely, which is why all Americans 60 and over are encouraged to have thyroid screening tests.

Far fewer younger adults are affected, but regardless of your age, it is worth getting tested with the symptoms you've described. In addition to the symptoms you've mentioned, other symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue; mood swings; decreased appetite (despite unexplained weight gain); menstrual irregularities; infertility; forgetfulness; dry, coarse hair and skin; hoarse voice; difficulty swallowing; muscle cramps/stiffness; constipation; hair loss; and depression.

Created: 5/1/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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