The darker side of misdiagnosis

400-06200435This month in Health Matters, we bring our attention to depression and hypothyroidism. Although they are two separate diseases, depression can be a symptom of hypothyroidism, which is a deficiency in the levels of hormones created by your thyroid gland. The medications prescribed to increase low thyroid levels can often alleviate the many symptoms of hypothyroidism, including depression.

Since the indicators of hypothyroidism and depression are similar, doctors sometimes overlook the possibility that a person who is depressed may have low thyroid levels as well.

There are many symptoms linked to hypothyroidism and depression, including fatigue, sluggishness, lack of mental focus and sleeping too much. The huge list of other hypothyroidism signals also includes:

  • Slower heart rate
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Joint or muscle pain or cramps
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Dryness or yellowing of the skin
  • Brittle or thick nails
  • Swelling in front of the neck
  • Hair thinning or loss

Because depression is among the more common symptoms of hypothyroidism, it’s imperative that you have an open dialogue with your physician about both your physical and mental feelings. Once members have a diagnosis, a second opinion or case analysis can provide the facts you need to make informed, prudent decisions about your treatment.

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