Today I feel like I???ve been offered a miracle for the ???aging??? symptoms I???ve been feeling for months!Bear with me as I tell this story with essential background.
Aging: we all do it, right?
I???m 61 years old. I keep a journal about my aging. It???s not a negative thing, just objective observations, tracking symptoms (such as looking in the mirror and seeing my mother???sheesh!) But this year I stopped making entries because this year it has just seemed like I???ve had an accelerated progression, symptom after symptom appearing. Figured it was time to stop writing it all down and just work on acceptance. I???ve come a long way with the latter, and I can honestly say that each day still feels like it???s better than the last. Aging doesn???t bother me psychologically or emotionally; it???s just the dang body wearing out that???s annoying.
Annual physicals are important
June is my month for an annual physical. My doctor knows and accepts that I self-manage my health, so was cooperative when I called to get a requisition form for some blood tests in advance of the physical. I requested blood sugar, cholesterol, and thyroid tests. The thyroid request was just an impulse. Five years ago, the test had shown my TSH was a little high; then I self-treated with kelp supplements (for the iodine), and the TSH count went down a bit the next year, so I???ve been figuring it???s all good. However, I tend to follow my impulses???I believe my instincts are based in self-knowledge at various levels, so I usually follow them. When I thought about getting a new thyroid test, I went for it. Good thing, in this case!
I went for my physical. Everything seems in excellent order. I???m very healthy. I didn???t bother to mention most of the minor symptoms I???ve been encountering this year, having chalked them all up to aging and having accepted them and having begun learning to cope with most of them quite well.Test results & symptoms I didn’t recognize
Then the Doctor got to the thyroid test results. She even asked why I???d ordered up that test. I said I just thought it was time again for it. Then she said my TSH is now very elevated, indicating hypothyroidism! She asked if I???ve been feeling fatigued lately. ???Nope,??? I said, and I added that, though I was unfamiliar with the symptoms of hypothyroidism, I really don???t have any symptoms of bad health at all. Just of aging.We chatted as we went through the various routines of a typical physical. I mentioned a few niggling health things (my ???aging??? symptoms) in order to ask some advice about treating them nutritionally. In every case, for every ???niggle???, her response was, ???That???s one of the symptoms of hypothyroidism.??? By the end of the discussion, I finally had to say, ???So… I actually AM having quite a few symptoms of hypothyroidism. And all this time I???ve been thinking it was just about my body getting older!???
Now I feel like I???ve been offered a miracle for this ???rapid aging??? I???ve been having for months! Thyroid replacement hormones. Yes, I prefer to treat dis-ease naturally when I can, but the power of kelp in the human body only goes so far. There???s nothing else I can try. My eating and lifestyle habits are already superb in terms of promoting and increasing health. In fact, when I said to the Doctor that I want to try some nutritional or other natural approaches rather than the hormone supplements, she said, ???Well, if you find something that works, you???ll be rich!???So, after doing my research and giving it a lot of thought, today I???m going to start thyroid hormone replacement therapy. I???m really looking forward to the decrease in my many ???aging symptoms???. Ha, ha, I can laugh at that now???PLUS I???m happy for the reminder that layman self-diagnosis needs to include consultation with a medical professional. All of a sudden it???s like getting (another! yet another!) new lease on life. Wahoooo! (The downside: Thyroid hormone replacement is for life???no going off it later, because the hormones shut down the thyroid and replaces its work. Sounds pretty drastic, but in fact mine has already begun to shut down on its own.) I???ve since been doing a lot of reading on the internet, of course. For anybody interested, below is an extensive list of symptoms of hypothyroidism, collated from various websites. I have 18 symptoms from this list! (Most of them quite minor at this point.) People can have one or several or many of these, and some people have none at first and for a long while. I read that many people are like me???they chalk up these symptoms to aging. At first. Until the symptoms get so bad they begin to worry, then finally get tested. Hypothyroidism doesn???t reverse itself; it gets worse and eventually begins to destroy so many body functions and systems. **NOTE that I am not a medical professional, so do your own research and talk to your own doctor if you have concerns about your own body.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism
- weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight despite rigid adherence to proper diet and exercise (especially common for women)??
- tiredness / fatigue / excessive sleepiness / sluggishness
- cold intolerance (you can’t tolerate cold temperatures like people around you)
- dry, rough pale skin
- thinning hair or abnormal hair loss, particularly from outer part of eyebrows
- coarse, dry, and/or brittle hair
- brittle nails that split or break easily
- muscle weakness
- muscle cramps, frequent muscle aches, vague aches & pains, muscle tenderness, stiffness
- joint pain, stiffness, swelling
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- puffy face, hands, feet, legs
- decreased sweating; perspiration may be decreased or absent even during heavy exercise and hot weather
- heart palpitations, a low heart rate, low blood pressure
- depression / irritability / wild mood swings
- memory loss
- abnormal menstrual cycles
- decreased libido
- increased cholesterol levels
- decreased concentration, foggy brain
- Is Your Thyroid Out of Balance?
- Hypothyroidism Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment
- Hypothyroidism: Wikipedia
- Hypothyroidism: Introduction, causes, and symptoms of hypothyroidism
- How Your Thyroid Works – “A delicate Feedback Mechanism”
- What Does the Thyroid Do?
- What Does the Thyroid Do?
- Interpretation of Common Thyroid Tests
- Tests: Normal Ranges
- (and there are hundreds more out there!)