Guide to Your Thyroid Checklist

Have unexplained belly fat and feel stressed or foggy? Though small, your thyroid may be causing some big problems.

Guide to Your Thyroid Checklist

If you're feeling fatigued, foggy and fat and you can't figure out why, you may have a hidden hormone problem. The thyroid, a small gland in your neck, helps your body balance hormone production and is largely responsible for regulating your metabolism. Even if your doctor says your numbers are in the "normal" range, a slightly sluggish thyroid could still leave you feeling lethargic. Review this checklist to see if your thyroid could be the cause of your problems.

Weight Gain: Still packing on pounds even though you've been eating well and exercising? Because the thyroid controls metabolism, weight gain is one of the most common symptoms of low thyroid function. If you've gained 10 or more pounds over three months without an obvious explanation, consider getting your thyroid function checked.

Brain Fog: If you feel like you're walking around in a haze, your thyroid could be to blame. Feeling unusually forgetful and confused, and having trouble concentrating, are also symptoms of a slow thyroid. We all feel this way now and then (especially if we aren't getting enough sleep), but if you feel this way consistently for three months or more, talk to your doctor.

Fatigue: Do you consistently feel like you have half the energy you normally should? Feeling tired or just plain exhausted all the time is another sign of a hormone problem.

Constipation: Don't be embarrassed to admit that you have this uncomfortable symptom. Note how often you have a bowel movement and its texture. If you have bowel movements substantially less often than once every one to two days, if your stool is hard, dry, pebble-like or requires straining to pass, you could be constipated – which is yet another symptom of low thyroid hormone.

Cold: Feeling cold all the time could point to a thyroid problem. Try checking your body temperature with an axillary thermometer (one that goes under the armpit) for a week right before you get out of bed. If your temperature is under 98° F for at least five days, consider getting your thyroid checked.

4 Steps to Shedding Your Pandemic Pounds

Forgive yourself, and start walking toward a healthier you.

For those of you who have put on the Pandemic Pounds or added several new COVID Curves, you are not alone. Alarmingly, the American Psychological Association has recently published that almost half of all adults in their survey now have a larger physique. In fact, 42% of people reported gaining roughly 15 pounds (the average published was surprisingly 29 pounds but that included outliers) over the past year. Interestingly, 20% of adults in this survey lost about 12 pounds (I am surely not in this group). Clearly, there is a relationship between stress and weight change. In addition, one in four adults disclosed an increase in alcohol consumption, and 67% of participants distressingly revealed that they have new sleeping patterns.

This past year has brought about what has been called the 'new normal.' Social isolation and inactivity due to quarantining and remote working have sadly contributed to the decline in many people's mental and physical health, as demonstrated by the widespread changes in people's weight, alcohol consumption, and sleeping patterns. Gym closures, frequent ordering of unhealthy takeout, and increased time at home cooking and devouring comfort foods have had a perceptible impact. In addition, many people have delayed routine medical care and screening tests over fear of contracting Covid-19 during these visits. Unfortunately, the 'new normal' has now placed too many people at risk for serious health consequences, including heart attacks and strokes.

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