KYW Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Hypothyroidism – or an underactive thyroid gland – is a relatively common problem.

The first step to feeling better is getting it diagnosed. That is because if you have hypothyroidism, you can control your condition with medication. Untreated, an underactive thyroid can have numerous negative effects including fatigue and cold intolerance.

Although experts don’t fully understand why, thyroid disorders and depression are linked. People who have an underactive thyroid are more likely to have depressive symptoms than those who don’t.

There are other issues. Untreated hypothyroidism can affect a woman’s fertility and women with untreated or poorly controlled hypothyroidism who become pregnant are at greater risk for complications.

Hypothyroidism is linked to higher cholesterol levels – a risk factor you can’t feel, but one that can increase your chance for heart attack.

You get the idea. It is worth getting the thyroid checked out and it can be done with a simple blood test.