Insightsthe blog of Porter Hills
Early Symptoms of Thyroid Problems
January is Thyroid Awareness Month
Nicole Maag, RN
Vice President of Operations
Watch the 13 On Your Side Senior Wellness Segment on this topic.
With approximately 20 million Americans having some form of Thyroid problem it is likely you, or someone you know, have some experience with Thyroid Disease. January is known as the month when Americans pledge to eat healthier, exercise more and lose weight, but it is also the month in which the Thyroid gland gets some much-needed attention. January is national Thyroid Awareness Month. With 1 in 7 people being diagnosed, and a larger number of as cases going undiagnosed each year, it is imperative, we pay attention to this small unassuming gland. So, what is this Thyroid, why does it matter and when should we be worried?
What is it?
Your Thyroid is a small, butterfly shaped endocrine gland located in the front of your neck below your Adam’s apple. This gland secretes hormones which help regulate the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and the rate in which food is converted to energy. Thyroid hormones are essential in the function of every cell in our body.
Why does it matter?
The Thyroid gland plays a huge role in our body, influencing the function of many of the body’s most important organs. If problems in the Thyroid gland go undiagnosed the results can be long term complications.
There are generally two categories of Thyroid disease; hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is the most common type and mainly effects women. Hypothyroidism is a type of thyroid disease which occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. This causes the metabolism to slow down, which also leads to many other health problems. The most common disease of hypothyroidism is Hashimotos Thyroiditis.
Hyperthyroidism is the opposite. It happens when the thyroid gland produces too many hormones and shoots your metabolism way up.The most common disease of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ Disease.
What should you be on the lookout for?
The way thyroid disease affects the body is case by case and depends on how far it has progressed, but below are some common symptoms.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:
- Exhaustion or weakness
- Weight gain or obesity
- Lack of appetite
- Changes to the menstrual cycle
- Lack of sexual desire
- Feeling cold
- Muscle aches
- Swelling around the eyes
- Brittle nails
- Hair loss
- Intolerance to cold
- Dry skin
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
- Weight loss
- Accelerated heart rate
- Increased perspiration
- Feeling hot
- Changes in the menstrual cycle
- More frequent bowel movements
- Accelerated heart rate
Thyroid specialists warn there is no concrete way to prevent either type of thyroid disease, but agree that a balanced diet, exercise, and healthy habits can be an important factor in reducing the risk of thyroid problems in the future.
It is important to talk with your doctor if you feel there is a chance you could have a thyroid disease.