A Great Imitator
Now that you know something about all the thyroid does for your health, you may be baffled why anyone would overlook a thyroid problem. After all, wouldn't you notice if you were putting on weight without overeating? Or if your skin were drying out or you felt more sluggish than usual?
In reality, the thyroid is often overlooked, ignored, or dismissed as the source of your suffering and symptoms. That's because the symptoms of thyroid disease mimic those of other conditions as well as common lifestyle issues. You're gaining weight because you're getting older. Your skin is dry because it's winter, and the heat is on. You're sluggish because you're working long hours and raising kids. Many other factors in your life can make it easy for you to dismiss your symptoms as anything more than minor inconveniences.
At the same time, you may suspect your thyroid when, in reality, your symptoms are actually the result of another medical condition. Many conditions produce symptoms that resemble those that occur in thyroid disease. (Note: As you go over this list, you'll notice that many of these conditions are the same ones that may elevate your risk for thyroid disease.)
Depending on the symptoms you have and the type of thyroid disease, these imitators might include:
Chronic fatigue immune deficiency syndrome
Anxiety and panic attacks
Diabetes and insulin resistance
Irritable bowel syndrome
If you notice that your neck looks larger than usual or recall that your mother once had thyroid problems, you may want to reconsider your thyroid as the source of your health problems. But remember, thyroid disease is not always apparent in your neck. Only a blood test can help determine whether your thyroid is the culprit.