His signature red curls are cut shorter now, and his face looks much fuller, but Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall’s voice is still strong.
The 55-year-old is back with Simply Red, touring again, and was showered with praise for a recent show-stopping performance in Dublin. But it’s been a battle for him to get back to the stage, after being diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 2014.
Hucknall had shunned the public eye for the past four years, after suffering from chronic fatigue, weight gain, and depression.
In an interview with UK’s Mirror, Hucknall said:
“I’m not fully recovered yet but it’s not as bad as it was. It was undiagnosed for years and the specialist I saw told me I’d probably had it since 1993. I had no idea. I knew I had aching joints and was tired all the time and had weight gain. But I thought it was simply growing old.”
He went on to say:
“It’s amazing how many side-effects there are. I had mood swings, aching joints, fatigue, lots of connecting things with that. Depression is also connected to the underactive thyroid as the illness prolongs.”
“But it’s not something that is talked about very much. There might be lots of people with this illness and if me speaking out about it raises the whole issue, and connects with somebody who then goes to the doctor and gets it treated, then great.”
Although his physician recommended medication for the condition, Hucknall preferred another route:
“I decided to recover very slowly by not taking the prescribed medication and doing it through diet alone.
“In addition to caffeine, I had to cut out cruciferous vegetables – that’s cauliflower and cabbage, etc – and eat more fish. I also had to get more selenium in my diet and take various vitamin and mineral supplements.”
The thyroid is a 2-inch-long, butterfly-shaped gland weighing less than 1 ounce. Located in the front of the neck below the larynx, or voice box, it has two lobes, one on each side of the windpipe. The thyroid is one of the glands that make up the endocrine system. The glands of the endocrine system produce and store hormones and release them into the bloodstream. The hormones then travel through the body and direct the activity of the body’s cells.
The thyroid gland makes two thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). T3 is made from T4 and is the more active hormone, directly affecting the tissues. Thyroid hormones affect metabolism, brain development, breathing, heart and nervous system functions, body temperature, muscle strength, skin dryness, menstrual cycles, weight, and cholesterol levels.
Thyroid hormone production is regulated by thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which is made by the pituitary gland in the brain. When thyroid hormone levels in the blood are low, the pituitary releases more TSH. When thyroid hormone levels are high, the pituitary responds by dropping TSH production.
Hypothyroidism is a disorder that occurs when the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone to meet the body’s needs. Thyroid hormone regulates metabolism—the way the body uses energy—and affects nearly every organ in the body. Without enough thyroid hormone, many of the body’s functions slow down. About 4.6 percent of the U.S. population age 12 and older has hypothyroidism.
Women are much more likely than men to develop hypothyroidism. The disease is also more common among people older than age 60
Hypothyroidism has several causes, including:
Thyroiditis causes stored thyroid hormone to leak out of the thyroid gland. At first, the leakage raises hormone levels in the blood, leading to hyperthyroidism—when thyroid hormone levels are too high––that lasts for 1 or 2 months. Most people then develop hypothyroidism before the thyroid is completely healed.
Several types of thyroiditis can cause hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism:
Less commonly, hypothyroidism is caused by too much or too little iodine in the diet or by abnormalities of the pituitary gland.
Hypothyroidism has many symptoms that can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms of hypothyroidism are
However, hypothyroidism develops slowly, so many people don’t notice symptoms of the disease.
Symptoms more specific to Hashimoto’s disease are a goiter and a feeling of fullness in the throat.
Health care providers treat hypothyroidism with synthetic thyroxine, a medication that is identical to the hormone T4. The exact dose will depend on the patient’s age and weight, the severity of the hypothyroidism, the presence of other health problems, and whether the person is taking other drugs that might interfere with how well the body uses thyroid hormone.
Health care providers test TSH levels about 6 to 8 weeks after a patient begins taking thyroid hormone and make any necessary adjustments to the dose. Each time the dose is adjusted, the blood is tested again. Once a stable dose is reached, blood tests are normally repeated in 6 months and then once a year.
Hypothyroidism can almost always be completely controlled with synthetic thyroxine, as long as the recommended dose is taken every day as instructed.