Thyroid Crusader

Feeling sluggish? It could be your thyroid. One in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder, and most don’t even realize they are sick. One woman is on a crusade to educate women about this often overlooked and important health problem.

Mary Shomon makes sure she gets a daily dose of exercise. It’s important she stays active, because her thyroid isn’t. Ten years ago, Shomon was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid. At that point, she didn’t even know where the thyroid was.

The small gland in the neck makes hormones that help regulate the body’s metabolism and organ function. After her diagnosis, Shomon began to do some research and discovered millions of Americans, mostly women, were unaware they had a thyroid disorder. “So people need to be aware of the symptoms, and they need to go in specifically and say to their doctor, ‘I want my thyroid test,'” Shomon tells Ivanhoe

Symptoms of thyroid disease are fairly common and may include severe weight gain, exhaustion, depression, hair loss, or cold hands and feet. Shomon says, “It’s become my mission ’cause I really want to make sure there are not people walking around struggling with these conditions and dealing with a life of chronic illness that is unwarranted.”

She’s learned so much about the condition, she’s written several books. Shomon’s advice: If you are not feeling up to par, talk to your doctor about your thyroid.

A simple blood test can diagnose the disorder, and it can be treated with medication. According to the National Women’s Health Information Center, the most common risk factors for a thyroid disorder are being female, over the age of 40, and if you have a family history of thyroid disease.

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