Along with several other worthy causes, January is Thyroid Awareness Month.  Awareness is the first step in understanding thyroid disease.

Did you know that approximately 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease? It’s estimated that up to 60 percent of those people are unaware that they have a thyroid condition.

Women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems. One woman in eight will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime.

For the past 10 years, my mom has suffered from the symptoms of an underactive thyroid. It’s a topic that she and several of her friends talk about. It seems that many women at a certain age struggle with thyroid issues. I didn’t really believe that it was just something that happens as you get older but when I looked into it there is a correlation.

Thyroid conditions like hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and Hashimoto’s Disease can manifest anytime.  However, several studies of people over 65 years show that thyroid illness is very much a disease of the elderly and that it often goes undiagnosed.  Thyroid issues are tough to diagnose older people because abnormalities can appear much different from the way they are supposed to.


Symptoms of Thyroid Disorders
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Muscle aches and cramps
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Poor appetite
  • Goiter (enlarged thyroid gland)
  • Dry, rough skin
  • Coarse hair or hair loss

Looking at the top 10 symptoms of Thyroid Disease it’s understandable that it’s often undiagnosed or at least underdiagnosed.  They are so common that they could be symptoms of several other conditions or simply effects of diet, lifestyle or even family background.

At this very moment, I could complain of three of the 10.  I’m intolerant to cold.  I do live in Minnesota and have never acclimated to the weather here.  So, is that a symptom or simply a response to my environment. In this case probably the later.  (As I write this article ist 5 degrees Fahrenheit outside).

I’ve gained a bit of weight this year.  Again symptom or result of too much chocolate?

I have really thick, coarse hair.  Always have, so how would I know if this was a new symptom?

Since several of my aunts on both my mother’s and father’s side either have or had a thyroid disease does that mean that I am destined to suffer? The answer? Possibly.  Family history is a risk factor as is being female and caucasian.  That’s three out of 5 but there are many other risk factors aswell.


Here are some of the risk factors
  • Being female
  • Being older than age 60
  • Having a family history of thyroid disease
  • Having a family history of autoimmune disease
  • Being of Caucasian or Asian ethnicity

Diet and lifestyle are thought to play a positive role.  If you eat real food and live a healthy lifestyle you can ward off a lot of things.  Genetics?  Maybe.  Dr. Karen Wolfe has a great article on Epigenetics that talks about this in more detail.

As with anything health-related if you have a question or concerns visit your doctor.  If you are not satisfied with their diagnosis, get a second opinion. It’s your health, take control.

Here are two additional resources that I find useful to better understand Thyroid Disease

Prime Therapeutic Article

Stop the Thyroid Madness


Denise Stegall
Denise Stegall

Hi, I’m Denise Stegall,

As a speaker, coach, and curator of Living Healthy List my experience ignites ideas, conversation, and connection. I am a connector, a leader who radiates emotional intelligence, strength, positivity, resilience, and a zest for life!

I bring you 20 years of experience/study in nutrition, cooking, exercise, and coaching to show you how you can enjoy a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life through nutrition and self-empowerment.

I earned my Bachelors’s Degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Business Management with a focus on nutrition, experience in the hospitality industry and has certifications in Health Coaching, Life Coaching, Nutrition, ETP and Plant-Based Cooking.

My experience in cooking and nutrition delivers a unique perspective on what works (and doesn’t work) for most people.  The Living Healthy List Method uses three pillars: Eat Real Food, Make Good Decisions, and Be Accountable.  By following this simple plan anyone can have a truly healthy, happy, and fulfilling life.

As an authentic connector, inspirational thought leader I am determined to provide Living Healthy List readers with honest, reliable, research-backed content that can be implemented in real life to help you create a healthy, happy life you are working hard to find so you can grow, relax and transform into the person you always dreamed of being!  Feeling more confident.  Reaching beyond your limitations.  Enjoy life more and FLOURISH!