people in their 20s and 30s, but it can occur in older women and men too, says Robert J. McConnell, MD, co-director of the New York Thyroid Center at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.
Hypothyroidism causes fatigue, an inability to concentrate, and muscle soreness, even with minor activity. Other symptoms include weight gain due to water retention, feeling cold all the time (even in warmer weather), heavier and more frequent menstrual flows, and constipation. Hypothyroidism is most common in women over age 50. In fact, as many as 10% of women past 50 will have at least mild hypothyroidism, says McConnell.
Tests: Thyroid disease can be detected with a blood test. “Thyroid disorders are so treatable that a thyroid test should be done in all people who complain of fatigue and/or muscle weakness,” says McConnell.
Depression is a major illness that affects the way we sleep, eat, and feel about ourselves and others. Without treatment, the symptoms of depression may last for weeks, months, or even years. So it’s important to recognize the warning signs and get help.
Symptoms: People experience depression differently, but commonly, depression can cause decreased energy, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, problems with memory and concentration, and feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and negativity.
Tests: Your doctor may be able to identify it by asking you a series of questions. If you experience five or more symptoms below for more than 2 weeks, or if they interfere with your life, see your doctor or mental health professional.
• Fatigue or loss of energy
• Sleeping too little or too much
• A persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
• Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain
• Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
• Restlessness or irritability
• Persistent physical symptoms that don’t respond to treatment, such as headaches, chronic pain, or constipation and other digestive disorders
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
• Feeling guilty, hopeless, or worthless
• Thoughts of death or suicide
5. Rheumatoid Arthritis
RA happens when your immune system turns against itself and attacks healthy joint tissue, sometimes resulting in irreversible damage to bone and cartilage.
Symptoms: Many symptoms (such as fatigue, low energy, loss of appetite, and joint pain) are shared by other health conditions, including fibromyalgia and lupus. Also, anemia and thyroid disorders, which also cause fatigue, are even more common in people with RA, according to John Klippel, MD, president and CEO of the Atlanta-based Arthritis Foundation.
Tests: A thorough physical exam by a rheumatologist can provide some of the most valuable evidence of the disease, but there is also