January is Thyroid Awareness Month. Why should you bother to take notice of this health observance? Well, if you’re a woman over the age of 35, you may find that you’re experiencing some health issues that don’t seem to have an immediately identifiable cause. There’s a silent player affecting women’s health that often goes unnoticed but can wield a profound impact on your overall well-being: it’s your thyroid gland.

The prevalence of thyroid health in women issues in the United States is a matter of growing concern. The statistics paint a concerning picture of its widespread impact on women over 35.

Understanding Thyroid Health  in Women

The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck, plays a pivotal role in regulating metabolism and influencing various bodily functions. When this delicate balance is disrupted, it can give rise to a wide range of disorders.

According to the American Thyroid Association, women are five to eight times more likely than men to experience thyroid issues, so it’s crucial for women over 35 to be aware of these facts.

The Alarming Statistics

Prevalence of Thyroid Disorders:

Recent studies indicate that approximately 20 million Americans suffer from some form of thyroid disorder. Of these, a staggering 60 percent are women. As women age, the likelihood of developing thyroid issues increases significantly, with the highest risk occurring after the age of 35.

Hypothyroidism and its Impact:

Hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid condition, is one of the most common thyroid disorders. The symptoms, which include fatigue, weight gain, and mood swings, can often be mistakenly attributed to the normal aging process, leading to underdiagnosis. If this sounds familiar, you may want to get your thyroid hormone levels checked.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis:

This is an autoimmune disorder and it’s a leading cause of hypothyroidism. Women are seven times more likely to develop Hashimoto’s than men.  Here are some of the problems you might experience:

  • weight gain.
  • trouble tolerating cold.
  • joint and muscle pain.
  • dry skin or dry, thinning hair.
  • heavy or irregular menstrual periods or fertility problems.
  • slowed heart rate.

As you can imagine, it’s easy to attribute these symptoms to other causes.

Factors Contributing to Thyroid Health in Women:

Hormonal Changes:

Your body goes through significant hormonal fluctuations throughout your life, from puberty to menopause. These hormonal changes can impact thyroid function, making women more susceptible to thyroid disorders, especially as they age.

Pregnancy and Postpartum Period:

Pregnancy and the postpartum period introduce unique challenges to thyroid health. One in eight women may experience postpartum thyroiditis, an inflammation of the thyroid after giving birth. The fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy and childbirth can trigger or worsen an existing thyroid issue if you’re over 35.

Stress and Lifestyle Factors:

The demands of a busy life can take a toll on your health. Chronic stress, poor sleep, and unhealthy lifestyle choices can contribute to thyroid dysfunction. If you’re juggling career, family, and personal responsibilities, prioritize self-care to support your thyroid health.

Gluten Intolerance and Thyroid Disease

Several studies show a strong link between autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD) and gluten intolerance. Identifying gluten intolerance as a player in the development of AITD can be a vital component of the diagnosis and management of AITD.

Sarah is a perfect example.  She had gut issues in her teens but was never diagnosed with gluten intolerance.  Then in her 40’s she developed thyroid malfunction that created serious health issues. “I wish I had known about this connection a long time ago,” she says. “If I had dealt with the gluten intolerance when it first showed up when I was a teenager, perhaps I would not have had the devastating health issues that came with the thyroid malfunction.”

The Importance of Regular Thyroid Screening:

Early Detection Saves Lives:

Given the subtle nature of thyroid disorders, early detection through routine screening is paramount. Regular thyroid function tests, including TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) and T4 levels, can identify abnormalities before symptoms become severe, allowing for timely intervention and management.

Shortcomings of the Standard Tests

Holistic doctors take a broader approach to the symptoms often caused by a thyroid problem.  It is possible for your thyroid to test normal, yet you still feel lousy and have an array of symptoms that point to a thyroid issue.

In this case, your best bet would be to work with a Nutrition Response Testing® practitioner who can perform several holistic tests to find the real underlying cause of your health issues. Once they’ve established the exact cause, they can also recommend whole food supplements and other dietary/nutrition changes that can help boost thyroid function.

The testing may reveal that your thyroid symptoms may be caused by a completely different issue – that’s why complete holistic testing is the best route to take.

Empowering Women with Knowledge:

Knowledge is a powerful tool in the fight against thyroid disorders. If you’re over 35, you should make it a priority to educate yourself about the signs and symptoms of thyroid issues and adopt a proactive approach to your health.

By understanding the intricacies of thyroid function and addressing contributing factors, you can avoid becoming part of this silent epidemic. With proactive care you can ensure a healthier and more vibrant future.

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