Patricia Parkevich knew something was wrong, but she couldn’t figure it out for a year.
“You feel like you’re going to die,” says Parkevich. “And no doctor is finding out what is wrong with you, and you think, it’s in your head. I was having tremors and the whole nine yards. So one evening I woke up and I had bruising all in the lower extremities of my body, like the size of softballs.”
After extensive tests over a period of a year, there was one more screening a doctor ordered for her: a thyroid test. It turned out, she had hyperthyroidism.
Dr. Cary Mariash, who is the medical director of the Methodist Research Institute, says it’s easy to miss the symptoms of both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
“Often you don’t know, because the symptoms that are associated with thyroid disease are very non specific,” says Dr. Mariash. “A lot of other diseases can produce the very same symptoms. Patients frequently do not know that they have it and often, even their physician may not suspect it.”
Generally the symptoms of hyperthyroidism is weight loss, anxiety, fatigue, heart palpitations, and changes in hair. The GI tract can be affected as well.
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped organ that sits on the front of your throat. It regulates the metabolism of all tissues, the heart, skeleton and GI tract. It can make too much thyroid and too little of the hormone. Too much is hyper and a deficient thyroid is considered hypo.
Patients shouldn’t be afraid to suggest a thyroid screen. In the past month, the American Heart Association released two studies showing high thyroid levels are associated with artery disease early death, and irregular heart beats. But there is good news for both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
“The good news about thyroid disease is, it’s relatively easy to treat. There are a number of options available and treatment is almost always successful,” says Dr. Mariash
Patricia chose radioactive iodine to cut her thyroid levels. There are medications and the option to have the thyroid gland surgically removed.
Thyroid disease affects about ten percent of the population and it is more common in women than men. For more on thyroid disease, click on the link below.