January is Thyroid Awareness Month! Unfortunately, many still are inadequately informed or are completely unaware of this gland just under the larynx. Therefore, we will discuss what you need to know about this gland.
Thyroid Awareness Month
What is the Thyroid?
The thyroid produces hormones which help your body regulate metabolism, growth and development, and body temperature. While a relatively small organ, the thyroid place a significant role in your body. It influences the function of many of your body’s most important organs, including the following:
Therefore, ensuring you have a healthy thyroid gland that is functioning properly is necessary for your body’s overall well-being.
What is Thyroid Disease?
Thyroid disease refers to numerous condition that affect how your thyroid functions.
A few of the more common diseases of the thyroid include the following:
Hyperthyroidism is an elevation of thyroid hormones that causes your body to enter a rushed or overclocked state. This can result in an increased heart rate, hyperventilation, rushed digestion and excess burning of calories.
Additionally, excessive amounts of T4 and T3 triggers hyperthyroidism and keeps the body in an exhaustively active condition. While less common than hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism is quite prevalent. Those who have hyperthyroidism exhibit symptoms to those with chronic anxiety or depression. Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include the following:
- Heart palpitations
- Excessive perspiration
- Sensitivity to heat
- Weight loss
- Panic attacks and anxiety
- Increased appetite
- Irregular, or loss of, menstrual period
- Muscle fatigue and weakness
- And others
Hypothyroidism, conversely, is an under-active thyroid that causes a reduction of thyroid hormone levels. However, many live with this condition without even being aware of it.
This thyroid disease manifests itself in several ways. People with hypothyroidism commonly experience fatigue, sensitivity to cold an inability to focus. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include the following:
- Weigh gain
- Muscle and joint pain
- Poor sleep
- Chronic yeast infections
- Brittleness in hair or nails
- And others
With Hashimoto’s, one’s antibodies have actively turned against the body and view proteins in the thyroid gland as threats. This ultimately results in destruction of the thyroid gland, leading to a severe thyroid deficit and hypothyroidism.
However, during this destructive process, temporary bursts of thyroid hormone is released as the cells are destroyed. This results in a momentary thyroid spike where one may experience symptoms closely in line with hyperthyroidism. One may experience a brief thyroid high. However, they will likely be left with a permanent thyroid deficiency because hormone production is severely inhibited.
People with Hashimoto’s may experience goiters, tenderness in the neck and a variety of other symptoms, including the following:
- Fluctuations in weight
- Heat and/or cold intolerance
- Anxiety and depression
- Tightness in the throat and difficulty speaking
- Muscle weakness
- And others
Who is Affected by Thyroid Disease?
Women are more likely to men to experience thyroid diseases, particularly right after pregnancy and after menopause.
One in eight women will develop thyroid problems during her lifetime.
How Can a Thyroid Problem be Diagnosed?
Blood tests are generally the first step in diagnosing thyroid disease.
A comprehensive thyroid panel evaluates how well your thyroid is working by checking levels of thyroid hormone.
How Does Treatment of Thyroid Problems Work?
The following will influence treatment of thyroid problems:
- Cause and severity of the disease
- Other health conditions
These are just the basics of the thyroid gland for Thyroid Awareness Month. Contact us with the link below for more information!