By Janice Graham
As you hit one of those big birthdays, you probably worry more about new
wrinkles than about less visible body parts — like your heart. But recent
research has found that each decade of your life is a crossroads, with new
health concerns to worry about. What's more, you need to be aware of these
issues — because your doctor may not be. "Many physicians fail to recognize how
much a woman's risk factors for heart disease evolve over her lifetime," says
Heavy or irregular menstrual periods that may last longer than 5 to 7 days.
If you have one or two of the above symptoms that have not changed or have changed very little over a long period of time, it is less likely that the symptoms are caused by hypothyroidism. Consult your doctor.
Talk to a doctor if you are pregnant and have some of the above symptoms. Also talk to a doctor if you have hypothyroidism and are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant. Your dose of thyroid hormone medicine may need to be changed.
Watchful waiting-a period of time during which you and your doctor observe your symptoms or condition without using medical treatment-is not appropriate for hypothyroidism that is causing symptoms. Treatment should begin as soon as the condition is diagnosed.
Watchful waiting may be appropriate for certain adults with mild (subclinical) hypothyroidism whose blood tests show only modest changes. Talk to your doctor about treatment, its cost and possible risks and benefits. Watch for any signs that you may be getting hypothyroidism. Doctors often want people to have yearly thyroid function blood tests to check to see if thyroid hormone production is normal.