January is National Thyroid Awareness Month. One in ten people in America suffers from a thyroid disorder, and more than half of those suffering are undiagnosed.
What is the thyroid?
The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located just above the collarbone and sits in front of the windpipe. The thyroid gland is a part of the endocrine system, directly affecting nearly every single organ in the body. Additionally, the thyroid controls essential functions such as regulating breathing, heart rate, body weight, muscle strength, cholesterol, and body temperature. Thyroid disorders can occur when the thyroid gland produces too much or insufficient hormone.
What is thyroid disease?
Thyroid disease refers to any condition that affects how the thyroid gland functions. More than 30 million Americans are affected by thyroid disease. Some of the more common conditions that affect the thyroid include hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, Grave’s disease, and thyroid cancer.
What are some common symptoms of thyroid disease?
Symptoms of an overactive thyroid may include:
- Experiencing anxiety, irritability, and nervousness
- Trouble sleeping
- Weight loss
- Enlarged thyroid gland
- Muscle weakness and tremors
- Sensitivity to heat
- Vision problems or eye irritation
Symptoms of an underactive thyroid may include:
- Weight gain
- Experiencing forgetfulness
- Dry or coarse hair
- Hoarse voice
- Intolerance to cold temperatures
How is thyroid disease diagnosed?
Your provider can perform a blood test to measure your hormone levels and determine if your thyroid gland is functioning properly.
How is thyroid disease treated?
The goal of treatment for thyroid disease is to return your thyroid hormone levels to normal. There are a variety of treatment methods that will depend on the cause of the thyroid disease.