Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s taking its toll on us all in many ways, not the least of which is our waistlines. In fact, 61% of American adults have reported undesired weight changes since the COVID-19 outbreak. Packing on a few extra pounds isn’t always just a sign of overindulgence, lack of activity, or stress and anxiety. It could be a red flag of an under-active thyroid.
“It could actually be a metabolic issue, an endocrine issue, and at times it could be a thyroid issue,” warns Millennium Physician Group Family Medicine Physician Nektarios Demetriou, D.O.
Hypothyroidism, or under-active thyroid, is when the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones to meet your body’s needs. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, this condition affects nearly 5 out of 100 Americans older than 12. While most cases are mild or have few obvious symptoms, there can be signs.
“Typically, when the thyroid is under functioning, you’ll have symptoms of fatigue, weakness, maybe even fogginess in your thought process as well,” explains Dr. Demetriou. “Your metabolism will completely slow down.”
Thyroid disease is very common in middle age, and it affects more women than men. A diagnosis of hypothyroidism can’t be based on symptoms alone because many are the same as those of other conditions or diseases, but a simple blood test will confirm the diagnosis.
“Your primary-care physician should be able to assist you in not only diagnosing but also treatment and monitoring,” advises Dr. Demetriou. “I would recommend just go and get it checked. Go to your primary-care physician and run some simple blood tests to determine whether or not there are actually medical issues going on.”