DENVER -- An estimated 27 million Americans have a problem with their thyroid. It’s a treatable condition, but the problem for doctors is that it can be difficult to diagnose.
Denver jewelry designer Dee Decarlo said she recently started getting more tired than usual.
“Whenever I would run or walk fast I would get a terrible pain in my (heel),” Decarlo said.
Blood tests later revealed that Decarlo's thyroid gland wasn’t functioning normally, causing weight gain and stress on her joints.
Your thyroid gland, located in your neck just beneath your voice box, helps control the function of many your body's organs.
Dr. Bryan Haugen of the University of Colorado said it can become “underactive” and said, “That's when a person will feel tired, cold and have dry skin (and) sluggish thinking."
"I tell my patients it's kind of like turning the thermostat down your whole body just slows down,” Haugen said.
An overactive thyroid produces more hormones than the body can use. Doctors say the condition is more common in women for reasons that are still unknown.
Diagnosing thyroid problems can be tricky because symptoms can mimic other health problems. Doctors say if you feel intense fatigue, depression, experience infertility and have extremely dry skin, you should be tested.
Treatments include a simple prescription.
The first step is to take time to care of yourself. Decarlo said too many women tend to put everyone else first in life while sometimes ignoring their own health needs.
“If your child falls, you take them to the doctor. If something happens to your husband, you take him. But you don't go because you think ‘I am woman,'” Decarlo said.
For more information about the signs of thyroid disease you can visit http://women.webmd.com/guide/understanding-thyroid-problems-basics