Do you know the signs of thyroid disease?

Often times, they can be vague -- losing or gaining weight without trying, or constantly feeling lethargic and weak.

But the symptoms are important to understand.

Dr. Philip Orlander, an endocrinologist with UT Physicians, says more than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition in their lifetime.

It’s more common in women than men, can happen at any age, and is often times triggered by pregnancy, menopause, or stress.

Amanda Spielman says she was in her 20s when she began to notice alarming changes in her health.

“I was losing weight, but my eating habits hadn’t changed,” says Spielman. “I would be hungry an hour after eating a large meal.”

Spielman also says her heart would race and she had trouble sleeping.

A blood test later determined she had Grave’s disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes hyperthyroidism.

Spielman was able to get her thyroid under control through medication, which was important because she and her husband wanted to start a family.

Dr. Orlander says thyroid issues can affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant, or lead to miscarriage.

“It was just something I had to figure out how to deal with because the most important things was feeling better.”

Conversely, hypothyroidism is a condition where a person has too little thyroid hormone in her blood. A person can also experience fatigue and weaknesses, like those with hyperthyroidism but instead will gain weight rapidly, or have trouble losing weight.

If you want to learn more about our series with UT Physicians, click here.

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