Welcome to Thyroid Awareness Month. With the new year, January is an ideal time to reset and start anew, and that includes understanding your thyroid and how it affects your health.
You’ve certainly heard of the thyroid gland, yet you may not be aware of the vital role this gland performs in your body. An estimated 20 million Americans have a thyroid disorder. If you’re one of them, we can help.
At Balance Hormone Center, our team can create a thyroid imbalance treatment plan based on your specific condition and symptoms. The treatments we offer can significantly enhance your quality of life.
Thyroid issues can affect anyone, although they typically affect older women. Treatment could include medication, hormones, therapy, or surgery. Below, we explain thyroid illness symptoms and signs so you can seek medical help when needed.
Thyroid gland basics
The thyroid gland is a tiny, butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck, in front of your windpipe, and right above your collarbone. It affects your liver, kidneys, heart, brain, and skin.
The thyroid’s primary function is to produce hormones, which are then secreted into the bloodstream and transported to all tissues in your body.
This hormone has several different roles, including controlling body temperature, digestion, and metabolism. That’s why ensuring your thyroid gland is healthy and operating at peak efficiency is essential.
For an accurate diagnosis of a thyroid disorder, you need a blood test that gauges your thyroid hormone levels. This test determines whether the gland is functioning appropriately.
Risk factors for thyroid disorder
Anyone can experience a thyroid disorder. Some risk factors include:
- Having a family history of thyroid disease
- Having a medical condition such as anemia, Type 1 diabetes, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis
- Taking a medication that’s high in iodine (amiodarone)
- Being over 60, especially women
- Having had treatment for a past thyroid condition or cancer (thyroidectomy or radiation)
Diabetes raises your risk of thyroid illness, and having one autoimmune condition increases your risk of developing another. Both overactive and underactive thyroid disorders can have adverse effects on your health.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland generates too much thyroid hormone. This thyroid condition might speed up your metabolism, which results in weight loss and an irregular heartbeat.
Hypothyroidism is brought on by a lack of thyroid-stimulating hormone production. The lack of thyroid hormones can cause disturbances in your metabolism, including your heart rate and body temperature.
Fatigue, sensitivity to the cold, constipation, dry skin, and unexpected weight gain are among the main symptoms.
Early warning signs of thyroid disorder
If you have thyroid disease, you could encounter a wide range of symptoms. Unfortunately, thyroid disease symptoms frequently resemble those of other illnesses and life stages. This can make it challenging to determine if your symptoms are the result of a thyroid condition or something else.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can include:
- Weight loss
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Heat sensitivity
- Vision problems
- Trouble sleeping
- Enlarged thyroid gland or goiter
- Muscle weakness or tremors
Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include:
- Weight gain
- Heavy and frequent menstrual periods
- Dry hair
- Hoarse voice
- Intolerance to cold
Because the symptoms of thyroid disease are sometimes mistaken for those of other conditions, diagnosing it can be challenging. If you’re pregnant or reaching your senior years, you might have symptoms comparable to those you would have if you had thyroid illness.
Fortunately, at Balance Hormone Center, we can perform tests to determine whether the origin of your symptoms is a thyroid problem. Call our Norman, Oklahoma, center to make an appointment today. You can also request an appointment online.