I was chatting to a nurse recently, and she laughed when I told her I have an underactive thyroid.
“But you’re so young! And lively!”
I took this as a compliment!
An underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, affects 1 in 67 women in the UK. Men are also affected by it, but it is slightly less common. (NHS )
Your thyroid produces 2 hormones which regulate your metabolism- and sometimes it can be over (produces too much hormone) or under active (produces too little). The latter slows down your metabolism, with common symptoms of an underactive thyroid including:
- weight gain
- dry skin
- sensitivity to the cold
People with hypothyroidism can find it hard to lose weight, with many reporting that they feel drained and tired out by day-to-day activities.
Weirdly enough, I had none of the symptoms of hypothyroidism (except that I HATE the cold), and only found out I had it after a routine blood test in 2014. Have no fear!! It is easily diagnosed by a thyroid function blood test, and even more easily treated.
Since 2014, I have taken a drug called Levothyroxine daily, and I will have to for the rest of my life. It soon becomes part of your daily routine. I do notice a change in myself if I forget to take my tablets for a few days- I feel a bit more grouchy and need to sleep more.
I realise that I have a slightly different view on the condition because I never experienced most of the symptoms, but many claim that being diagnosed and beginning treatment transformed their lives for the better. (British Thyroid Foundation)
As mentioned before, I am no GP, but I think that the ease of diagnosis and treatment is definitely to be considered if you have experienced any of the symptoms above and are seeking an answer.
Fran’s Top Tips for your underactive thyroid (that doesn’t sound as sexy as I’d hoped):
- Take your tablets. I’m so guilty of forgetting to from time to time and it’s just silly because I only feel worse when I forget.
- Keep warm. Invest in flasks, thick socks, a warm coat and a hot water bottle or electric blanket. It will make your life a lot more pleasant. Explain to your friends and family why you get so cold and don’t be ashamed of wearing your coat indoors when everyone else is saying how warm it is (this is an almost daily occurrence for me).
- Get a good night’s sleep. This applies for so many things but make sure you get around 8 hours a night to keep yourself on top form!
- Stay active! You CAN stay in shape when you have this condition. Again it seems obvious but you will feel tonnes better for it.
- Listen to your body. If things don’t feel quite right with your dose, consult your GP as they can easily taper your meds/investigate further by doing blood tests etc. My dose rate increased by only 25mg recently and I feel so much better for what was such a small change.
If you want to learn more, check out the NHS Website for further information.