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Thyroid Awareness Month

The thyroid is small, but mighty butterfly- shaped gland located in the front of the neck, which controls the body’s most important functions. It produces hormones which effect breathing, heart rate, body temperature and digestion. If your thyroid is not functioning properly, it can cause your whole body to be affected. Women and people over the age of 60 are at greater risk for thyroid issues, as well as those who have a family history of the illness. Many Americans who suffer with thyroid issues are undiagnosed. January is Thyroid Awareness Month and a perfect opportunity to get screened.


Hyperthyroidism vs Hypothyroidism


A thyroid can either be overactive or under-active. Hyperthyroidism (or overactive) occurs when the thyroid produces too much of the thyroid hormone. It speeds up the body’s metabolism causing weight loss and an irregular heartbeat. Approximately 1 in 100 people over the age of 12 have this condition.


Hypothyroidism (under-active) occurs when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough of the thyroid hormone. This can cause fatigue, unexplained weight gain, and sensitivity to cold. Approximately 10 million American suffer with this illness.


Causes                 

     

Thyroid conditions can be caused by autoimmune disorders in which the body mistakenly attacks its own cells. One example of this would be an autoimmune disorder known as Graves’ disease, the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. An autoimmune disorder that causes hypothyroidism may include Hashimoto’s disease.


Symptoms and Treatment


Thyroid conditions have various symptoms associated with each, however, some common symptoms may include, a slow or rapid heart rate, weight loss or gain that cannot be explained, intolerance to cold or heat, depression, and irregular menstrual periods. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider. They will be able to run blood test to determine if your thyroid is the cause of the symptoms. Treatment varies depending on the condition; however medication, surgery and radiation therapy is available.

 

 

 

 

 

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