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[IP] For Women to Read with any autoimmune history

>since there was a thread on thyroid disorders...FYI<

Menopause may mask thyroid disease

NEW YORK--Women who think they are experiencing symptoms of menopause such
as fatigue, forgetfulness, depression or mood swings, may actually have an
undiagnosed thyroid disorder, according to the American Association of
Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE).

"As women approach menopause, many symptoms may be quickly attributed to
this milestone in a woman's life without complete discussion of other easily
treatable disorders, such as thyroid disease, that often mimic or accompany
menopause," said Dr. Helena Rodbard, president of the AACE, in a statement
released by the organization.

About one in eight women aged 35 to 65 have thyroid disease, and that number
rises to one in five among women over 65, according to AACE.

But a survey released Wednesday by the organization shows that one third of
women 40 years of age and older did not discuss menopause at all with their
physician, and only one in four of those who did were recommended to be
tested for possible thyroid disease.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped organ in the neck that produces hormones
that control metabolism. An insufficient production of thyroid hormone, or
hypothyroidism, causes fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, weight gain and
constipation. Overproduction, or hyperthyroidism, causes fatigue, anxiety,
palpitations, sweating, weight loss and heat intolerance.

Thyroid disease can increase the risk of heart disease and worsen
osteoporosis, much like the increase in risk associated with dropping
natural estrogen hormone levels in menopause. About 13 million people in the
U.S. have thyroid disease, although only half of those are aware they have
the disease.

Women who are experiencing menopausal symptoms, even if they are taking
hormone replacement therapy, can perform a simple self-examination to check
for an enlarged thyroid, according to the AACE. More information on the
"Thyroid Neck Check," which is performed by drinking a glass of water while
observing the front of the neck in a mirror, can be obtained at the AACE's
website, http://www.aace.com.

Source:  The New England Journal of Medicine 1999;340:101-107.

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