Get to Know Your Thyroid
January is Thyroid Health Awareness Month. Take a moment to learn about thyroid health as we start the new year.
Prevalence and Impact of Thyroid Disease
- An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease.
- Around 60 percent of those with a thyroid condition are not aware of it.
- The causes of thyroid conditions are largely unknown.
- Women are more than 5 times more likely to develop a thyroid condition.
- Undiagnosed thyroid disease may put patients at risk for other serious conditions.
Source: American Thyroid Association
What is my Thyroid Gland, and what does it do?
- The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located in the front of your neck.
- It is a hormone-producing gland that regulates the body’s metabolism, helping the body to use and regulate energy.
- Although the thyroid gland is relatively small, the hormone it produces influences every cell, tissue, and organ in the body.
Below is a list of common symptoms for the two most common thyroid diseases.
(Note: not all individuals experience thyroid problems in the same way.)
Common symptoms for Hypothyroidism (under active thyroid):
- Feeling cold frequently
- Weight gain
- Dry Skin
Common symptoms of Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
- Racing heart / palpitations
- Feeling hot frequently
- Unexplained weight loss
- Irritability / anxiety / nervousness
- Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)
- Vision problems and eye irritation
If you are worried about your thyroid, start with your primary care provider. They can thoroughly explore your symptoms to determine if they are attributable to the thyroid, or if the problem lies elsewhere. If you do require screening, it is done through a simple blood test that measures thyroid stimulating hormone and if treatment is required. Your primary care provider will discuss the options that best fit your condition.