Levothyroxine: my new best friend?
My physical and mental well being have been on the decline for quite some time now, though I have tended to attribute this to the onset of middle age. However, my energy levels and alertness have nosedived the last few months, and I decided to finally visit my physician between semesters.
To be more truthful, I thought a 10-day reduced workload would "cure" me, and I only went to the clinic after rest failed to rejuvenate me.
I have a number of items that concerned my doctor - such as higher serum cholesterol and blood pressure that now falls into the pre-hypertensive category - but what jumped out from the blood tests were low levels of T3 and T4, the hormones produced by the thyroid gland. In short, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
Now, I am hardly ecstatic to learn that I have a debilitating illness, but it is of some comfort to know that this is a condition that is: a) treatable with medicine; and b) responsible for many health-related problems I have noticed as my body approaches its fifth decade. Moreover, a diagnosis like hypothyroidism is certainly better than learning of something like mesothelioma cancer.
My sense of smell began to disappear sometime in the last few years (this is known as anosmia), and today I can only smell items placed directly in front of my nose. I have also noticed a decrease in memory-related functions, especially short-term recall, and my ability to concentrate has diminished.
Of particular concern, though, is the amount of fatigue I have experienced the last few months, as it takes much of my energy simply to deliver a few hours of lectures a day. No amount of sleep seems to recharge my batteries, and I have had to cut back on my workload to save my energy for the most important job functions.
So I will dutifully swallow my prescribed levothyroxine with the hope that I will begin to return to some state of normal in a few weeks. So far the only effect I have noticed in three days of taking levothyroxine has been a significant increase in hunger, which probably reflects that my metabolism is ramping up.
Feel free to leave in the comments section any experiences you or someone you know has had with hypothyroidism. I look forward to reading your stories and perhaps learning more about this condition.
Oh, and yes: I did smugly tell someone this weekend that my extra 20 pounds are in part due to a "glandular problem." Kind of cool, that.