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Dr Caroline West: GP

Dr Caroline West combines her role in a busy inner-city general medical practice with presenting, producing and writing for a number of Australian television shows and magazines. ASK ME A QUESTION

Slow vs fast thyroid

Wednesday, July 30, 2008
At the other extreme, too much thyroid hormone triggers symptoms like irritability; racing pulse, trouble sleeping, fatigue, weight loss, heat intolerance, diarrhoea and tremors.

Question:
I have no energy and have almost all the signs of having a slow thyroid, but am told that my thyroid is fast. I also have PCOS and I have a hard time moving weight. What do you suggest?

Answer:

Published: 30 July 2008

As you no doubt know, your thyroid produces hormones that regulate the speed of your metabolism. Too little thyroid hormone from an underactive or slow thyroid can lead to symptoms like weight gain, constipation, depression, slowed heart rate and muscle and joint pain.

At the other extreme, too much thyroid hormone triggers symptoms like irritability; racing pulse, trouble sleeping, fatigue, weight loss, heat intolerance, diarrhoea and tremors.

Once a cause is found for thyroid conditions, treatment can help put metabolism back on track. (If there is any doubt about thyroid hormones your doctor can do a blood test).

However thyroid conditions are just one hormonal problem that affects energy and weight levels. PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and weight are often interlinked. PCOS treatment may involve multiple approaches including the contraceptive pill and sometimes diabetes medication.

Very often though, lifestyle changes are the key to weight loss. Some simple ways to improve your lifestyle might include gradually increasing your exercise levels and modifying your food choices. Wearing a pedometer for example can help you keep track of how many steps you take a day. (You can buy these from chemists for around $20).

10,000 daily steps are generally recommended for good health. Your doctor may be able to refer you to an exercise physiologist who can help you develop strategies that will suit your lifestyle. Review of your nutrition choices is also important and your GP or a dietician can help.

As PCOS is a chronic medical condition, you may qualify for a Medicare rebate when you see an exercise specialist or dietician. As each person's situation and health needs will be different, I suggest you talk to your GP about your particular medical situation and your best options.

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Check out more energy related questions answered by Caroline West, or ask her another question that's relevant to you!


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