January is National Thyroid Awareness Month!

So, what is a Thyroid? The Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits low on the front of the neck. According to WebMD, the Thyroid secretes several hormones, collectively called Thyroid hormones. These hormones act throughout the body influencing metabolism, growth, and development, and body temperature.

The Mayo Clinic states that Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your Thyroid Gland doesn’t produce enough of certain crucial hormones. The signs and symptoms of Hypothyroidism vary depending on the severity of the hormone deficiency.

Hypothyroidism and Similarities with Sleep Apnea

The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine published a study in 1998 entitled “Screening for Hypothyroidism in Sleep Apnea“. According to this study, Hypothyroidism and Obstructive Sleep Apnea share many signs and symptoms in common. Someone with Hypothyroidism can experience similar Sleep-Disordered Breathing, which can lead to a misdiagnosis of Sleep Apnea. The conclusion of the study recommends biochemical screening for Hypothyroidism to prevent the misdiagnosis of Hypothyroid Sleep-Disordered Breathing as Sleep Apnea. They also found that testing for Hypothyroidism can be a cost-effective component in the investigation of Sleep Apnea.

Untreated Hypothyroidism can lead to mental disorders, heart disease, decreased lung function, and many other infections and illnesses, according to Everyday Health. Sleep Apnea can also be very dangerous if left untreated.

The Alaska Sleep Clinic recommends talking to your physician if you think you may be suffering from any Sleep-Disordered Breathing. Without treatment, additional exhaustion and fatigue will affect your under-active Thyroid in negative ways. You could also try keeping a sleep diary to record how you felt when going to bed versus waking up and how many times you woke up throughout the night. The sleep diary can provide clues for you and your physician to help understand the nature of your sleep issues.

After discussing everything with your physician, see if a sleep study is the best option for you. If you’re experiencing any symptoms of Sleep-Disordered Breathing, it’s essential to do everything you can to get to the root cause of the issue so you can live your best life!

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