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Hi I'm Dr. Allen Peters, Physician & Healthy Aging Expert from NourishingWellness.com and I'm here today for About.com to share with you Hypothyroidism Risk Factors, using information from About.com, as well as my own research and clinical experience.What do we look for if we’re wondering about if a patient has hypothyroidism? First of all in the history – a family or personal history of thyroid disease including treatment or monitoring of thyroid in the past, history of a goiter, history of nodules, history of cancer or thyroiditis or hyperthyroidism in the past which has been treated. We also ask if you or anyone else in the family has had other autoimmune diseases. Now the personal symptoms: Are you gaining weight inappropriately or unable to lose weight even with appropriate diet and exercise? Are you constipated, sometimes severely, for a long time period?  Are you hypothermic, that means low body temperature - do you feel cold, particularly cold hands and feet, when other people are feeling fine? Do you need extra sweaters frequently? Do you feel fatigued, exhausted, run down, sluggish, lethargic, whatever you want to call it? Has that been going on for a long time and not related to the fact that you just have a good reason to feel that way? Is your hair coarse and dry, is it brittle, is it breaking, is it falling out? Do you have, if you are a woman, irregular menstrual cycles - are they longer, or shorter, or heavier, or more frequent, are you getting worse cramps? And don’t forget the possibility of hypothyroidism if you’re having trouble conceiving, if you’re concerned about infertility. I think every woman should be checked for hypothyroidism before she gets pregnant because hypothyroidism can be devastating to the fetus if it’s not treated.Do you have mental issues and this would include depression, even just sadness, moody, decreased concentration - in other words more of a neurologic symptom or a brain symptom than a mind symptom? Are you having a decreased memory? Do you just have a decreased enthusiasm, a loss of joie de vivre? Do you have a decreased sex drive? Do you have immune issues, which include recurrent sinusitis or other infections? If you have several of these symptoms, you should have a thorough exam and lab tests for hypothyroidism. I suggest you go to a physician who aggressively treats this, who does a thorough workup with thyroid tests, as well as just the TSH.Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us online at About.com. There you will find other thyroid symptoms, which are less common but would be good to review if you are concerned that you might be hypothyroid. Thank you.
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