Is it stress or a thyroid disorder? Learning the signs & symptoms

Could you have a thyroidcondition and not know it?

The answer to thatquestion for Barbara Creasey was yes.

"I'm tired all thetime and I have a lot of anxiety," said Creasey. "The fast heart rate, which isthe worst. Then I have the irritated eyes. And I can go days withoutsleeping."

After experiencing thesesymptoms and undergoing some testing, Creasey was diagnosed withhyperthyroidism. Creasey's thyroid was overactive, producing too many hormones,affecting every aspect of her health.

Dr. Nidhi Jain with the St.Vincent Diabetes and Endocrinology Clinic said the most common conditioncausing hyperthyroidism is Graves' disease.

"Graves' disease is anautoimmune condition in which the body makes antibodies that go attack yourthyroid gland, causing it to become inflamed and put out too much thyroidhormone," said Dr. Jain.

Thyroid problems areextremely common and more common in women than in men.

The symptoms ofhyperthyroidism include excessive anxiety, weight loss, tremors of the hands,heart palpitations and more frequent bowel movements. Treatment options includeanti-thyroid medication, radioactive iodine treatment, or surgery.

"Majority of patients with hyperthyroidismcan become hypothyroid. So it's very important while you're being treated thatyou keep your appointments with the doctor," said Dr. Jain.

The other type of thyroidimbalance is hypothyroidism which is an under active thyroid. It's more commonand the symptoms include dry skin, irregular menstrual cycles and hair loss.

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