Feeling tired all the time can have a negative impact on your quality of work and life, for obvious reasons. There are a ton of explanations for why we can feel exhausted throughout the day, but if chronic fatigue becomes a long-term issue, the exact cause can be easier to pin point.
One of the more common sources of chronic fatigue is hypothyroidism, a defect in the amount of thyroid hormone your body produces. Even the tiniest abnormality in hormone levels can cause a profound effect on a person.
I should know, since I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about a month ago.
My thyroid story – a tale of sleep, tiredness, and more sleep
When I was in elementary school and middle school, I was a model student. I was in advanced classes, the teachers loved me and I had fantastic grades.
However, once my body started to make the hormonal journey called puberty, I got a little off course. I started to feel exhausted all day, every day, for no apparent reason. Little did I know, these were classic symptoms of hypothyroidism.
I slept fine, and had plenty of it each night, but getting up in the morning was the worst part of the day, and I never truly felt awake. It wasn’t uncommon for me to be late to my morning classes due to oversleeping, and on the weekends I would sometimes sleep past 1:00 in the afternoon.
At one point I Googled “Oversleeping Causes” and read about hypothyroidism. It looked like I had all sorts of signs pointing to thyroid problems.
However, when I brought up my self-diagnosis with my mother, she told me that it was just part of growing up, and that I should quit being such a baby. Needless to say, I shouldn’t have believed her.
After a year of college, I still had terrible issues with getting up for class and staying alert all day. Since I was paying for school and every class counted now, it had to stop.
During this past winter break, I finally stopped in to my doctor’s office to complain about feeling tired all the time. I told him all of my symptoms, and that I had a family history of thyroid disorders, so he took a blood test.
Just a few weeks ago the results came back, and I was relieved to find out that the culprit to my chronic fatigue had finally been caught – an underactive thyroid gland. Take that, mom.
What is a thyroid?
Everyone has one. The thyroid is a large gland found in the neck that secretes hormones. These particular hormones are very important for our bodies to make energy. If the Thyroid isn’t working like it should, it can cause problems.
What happens when a thyroid goes rogue?
There are two types of abnormal thyroid hormone production – hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is less common, and will actually lead to excessive amounts of energy and loss of sleep. Hypothyroidism – what I have, causes extreme fatigue.
There are quite a few hypothyroidism symptoms, including, but not limited to tiredness, oversleeping, weight gain, difficulty losing weight, stunted growth, mood swings, depression, and even some weird ones like an increased sensitivity to cold.
What can be done about a thyroid condition?
The best choice for someone with the symptoms of a thyroid problems to see a doctor, quickly. I chose not to, and my quality of life definitely suffered. Hypothyroidism is not fun.
I’m almost positive that I’ve been living with this condition for many years, since I’ve had these issues for a very long time, and I’m extremely stout, possibly due to stunted growth during puberty. If I had visited my doctor sooner, I may have avoidied developing my hobbit-like attributes.
Treatment is easy for thyroid disorders. I just take a hormone pill every morning when I get up. I feel much better every day, and I’m not even supposed to feel the full benefit for a few more weeks (my body still has to get used to the hormone supplements). If you have these hypothyroidism symptoms, get them checked out as soon as possible.
Living with a thyroid disorder is as miserable as it sounds, and impacts all aspects of life, both at home and at work. So, do what I (eventually) did, and see a doctor if chronic fatigue becomes a problem. If your thyroid is misbehaving, taking a pill to get it up to snuff will always be beneficial.
Maybe your spirit animal isn’t a sloth after all.