Over the next few posts I’ll be sharing the first chapter of my book, “How Your Doctor is Slowly Killing You: A Woman’s Health Survival Guide” – I hope you enjoy it!
In our lifetimes, we only have a certain number of eggs in our ovaries, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. The age of menopause can vary. Ask your mother when she went through it as the timeline tends to run in families. You will know you’re there when you haven’t had a period for more than 12 months. While there are blood tests (follicle stimulating hormone, or FSH, and anti-mullerian hormone levels) we can use to verify it, that’s the main marker. You may still have unpleasant symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia and forgetfulness along with a few new ones, but at least you’re not bleeding all the time.
Thyroid: The Wild Card
The other big hormone in play is the thyroid. The thyroid gland is a small, bow tie-shaped organ located at the front and middle of the neck that secretes the thyroid hormone thyroxine, or T4. It converts to the active thyroid hormone triiodothyronine, or T3, at the direction of the brain. These thyroid hormones fuel and control your metabolism overall.
Imagine your thyroid as the engine of your body. Ideally, we want to be in a BMW, Lexus or Mercedes, not in a Formula One car or a go-kart.
A Formula One thyroid is hyperthyroid, and is burning fuel too fast. Everything in the body is on overdrive. This leads to weight loss, hair loss, diarrhea, high temperatures and excessive sweating.
A go-kart thyroid, or hypothyroid, is too slow. This causes weight gain, dry skin, constipation, hair loss, low body temperature, slow heart rate, extreme fatigue and swelling or numbness of hands and/or feet.
The BMW/Lexus/Mercedes thyroid, like a finely tuned machine, is running just right. Women with normal thyroid function have appropriate energy levels and feel good, assuming they have no other health issues. Their bodies are firing on all cylinders.
But here’s the kicker: by the age of 50, one in three women will have a thyroid disorder; most commonly, they’ll be hypothyroid. It can be caused from the aging process, autoimmune disorder, environmental factors or a combination. (We’ll cover this in more depth later.)
NEXT WEEK: The Axis of Evil Takes Over
Recognize these signs and symptoms? Call DeRosa Medical to schedule a hormonal health checkup today. 480.610.4097