Is it normal to be this tired?

Patient

Q: I'm a 17 year old girl and I'm always tired. I try to go to bed early but my brain just can't seem to slow down and fall asleep so I end up going to bed at 2 am or in general late. Then the next day I would wake up at 12 pm or later if I am able to. Then usually around 5pm I start to get really sleepy and take a nap for about 3 hours. Today I was just too sleepy to go to school, so I slept in until 11pm then felt sleepy again and took a nap for 5 hours. This is starting to become an issue as I am skipping school just to sleep or my school work doesn't get done because I fall asleep. My question is is this normal?

Symptoms:  Fatigue, irritability, eating a lot more, weight gain
Doctor

A:   Thank you for your question. Your symptoms could possibly be due to the fact that you have an underactive thyroid gland. This is referred to as hypothyroidism. This would cause you to have symptoms of fatigue, lethargy, increased sleep, and weight gain. The thyroid gland produces a hormone that assists in the control of your body's metabolism and energy levels. Your symptoms are consistent with decreased thyroid hormone. We recommend that you go to your doctor and conduct a thyroid function blood test along with a physical examination to determine if you have hypothyroidism. If diagnosed, you can be treated with medication to raise your thyroid hormone levels to normal, relieving your symptoms.

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