According to studies, which present varying statistics, out of every 10 thyroid sufferers, approximately 7 to 8 are female. It appears that this difference is related to the fact that thyroid conditions are autoimmune in nature for the most part, and that women tend to have more autoimmune illness. (August, 2002)
Prevalence and incidence statistics for Thyroid disorders:
Prevalence of Thyroid disorders: 20 million Americans (NWHIC)
Prevalance Rate: approx 1 in 13 or 7.35% or 20 million people in USA [about data]
Undiagnosed prevalence of Thyroid disorders: about 13 million (based on estimates from the AACE, as reported by Reader’s Digest1; estimated 8 million people (American Medical Women’s Association)
Lifetime risk for Thyroid disorders: 1 in 8 women during their lifetime in the US (American Medical Women’s Association); 1 in 8 for women (NWHIC)
I won’t list all the thyroid symptoms for hypothyroidism but click the link. You will see a biography of my life. After years with our home town GP, I was advised to see a new doctor in high school who finally tested me when I was seventeen. He diagnosed me as being hypothyroid. He made the comment that I had probably had that problem for a number of years. I totally agree.
In third grade I was normal weight. During the next five years I had gained 111 pounds. You can imagine the social problems that caused. My height finally caught up with my weight in eighth grade and I was able to wear a size 15. Still large but somewhat more proportional.
In high school I gained another twenty five pounds between freshman and senior year. I lost those twenty five pounds over the summer thanks to Metrecal. That’s basicially a liquid starvation diet. I actually had new friends at college tell me I looked great when I mentioned my weight. They couldn’t believe I was so overweight just three months previously.
My weight yo-yoed for years during college. It once again went down after a tonsillectomy my junior year and once again I was looking fine enough to wear a two piece swim suit.
During that time I never seemed to have much energy, but that was pretty much my life. At times, I was hypersensitive to cold. My face, hands, and feet were often puffy. My hair, which has always been fine, kept getting finer. My brush was filled with hair every day as was the floor of the shower. My nails were brittle, my skin, dry. I lived in a brain fog. My muscles were weak. I was, for so many years, a train wreck. And through all of this I was “normal” on the TSH scale. Of course at that time I wasn’t regularly going to a doctor or having thyroid tests very often. The doctors never discussed the tests with me or told me what the actual results were. Too often I just heard “You’re normal.”
Then in 1987 my health status really hit the fan. I became extremely tired and my muscles ached and cramped more than I could hardly stand. Those were the early days of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. None of the series of doctors I was seeing (thanks to frequent changes of insurance providers) even recognized either of those problems. I was “depressed” or I “needed to lose weight”. That was in the time of “Yuppie Flu” for those of you who were similarly affected. I don’t remember any of the doctors tracking my thyroid levels. I’ll continue the battle tomorrow. Namaste Attic Annie