January is Thyroid Awareness Monthby Phillips Clinic on 12/31/22
Understanding YOUR Thyroid
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located front and center at the base of the neck. It plays an important role in the communication system of the body. It regulates metabolism, or energy-related functioning within cells, by releasing or withholding thyroid hormone.
The thyroid gland influences just about everything in the human body, including the eyes, brain, heart, skin, hair, bones, bowels and mood.
When you experience weight loss, anxiety, palpitations, high blood pressure, brittle nails, constipation or a host of other symptoms , these symptoms can be related to a hormone imbalance brought on by thyroid that’s over or under functioning.
According to the American Thyroid Association, of the 20 million Americans who have thyroid disease, up to 60 percent go undiagnosed.
A lack of awareness might be partly to blame; thyroid disease doesn’t get the same amount of press as heart disease. Plus, , many of the symptoms of thyroid disease are vague.
Thyroid disease is sometimes mistaken for depression, irritable bowel syndrome, some other condition or aging.
The causes of a faulty thyroid are not fully understood — although your risk increases if you are female or if there is a family history of the disease.
Symptoms of Thyroid Disease
· Muscle and Joint Pains, Carpal Tunnel, Tendonitis, Plantar's Fasciitis
· Neck Discomfort, Enlargement, Hoarseness, Goiter
· Hair Loss, Hair Changes, Skin Changes
· Constipation, Bowel Problems, Diarrhea, Irritable Bowel
· Menstrual Irregularities and Fertility Problems
· Family History of Thyroid and Autoimmune Disease
· High Cholesterol, Unresponsive to Cholesterol Medications
· Depression and Anxiety
· Unexpected Weight Changes without Changes to Diet Or Exercise
· Fatigue and Exhaustion
Source: About Health
Too much thyroid hormone, called hyperthyroidism, can cause irritability, a rapid or erratic heartbeat, weight loss, high blood pressure and diarrhea, among other things. It can weaken bones, sometimes leading to osteoporosis over time, and can leave patients feeling anxious and unable to focus, with racing thoughts.
An autoimmune disease called Graves’ disease leads to many cases of hyperthyroidism. Graves’ disease, causes the immune system to attack the thyroid gland, and triggers the thyroid to produce a surplus of thyroid hormone.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism, or not enough thyroid hormone, include depression, hair loss, weight gain, high cholesterol, extreme fatigue, constipation and stomachaches.
If your doctor suspects that a patient has thyroid disease, usually a blood test that gauges the amount of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in the blood will be ordered.
An elevated or reduced level of TSH indicates possible thyroid trouble. A small percentage of people, however, will have normal lab results even though they have thyroid symptoms, and may require additional testing.
Treatment for hypothyroidism is usually straightforward: patients take prescription medicine to boost their supply of thyroid hormone.