Hypothyroidism : The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

BOSTON —Midlife can bring subtle changes in women's skin, hair, energy, weight, and even mental outlook. Many women write off these changes as products of aging. But it's a good idea to make sure they're not the result of an underactive thyroid, says the November issue of Harvard Women's Health Watch.

Hypothyroidism

The thyroid gland influences virtually every organ system in the body. The hormones it secretes into the bloodstream play a vital role in regulating metabolism. Low thyroid hormone production, or hypothyroidism, is especially common in women. Because the link between symptoms and thyroid disease isn't always obvious, especially in older people, many women don't know they have it, warns Harvard Women's Health Watch.

According to the article, the symptoms of hypothyroidism can differ from woman to woman. In some, the onset is gradual; in others, symptoms come on abruptly.

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