Thyroid Health

Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck just below the center of your throat. It’s part of an intricate network of glands called the endocrine system. Your endocrine system is responsible for coordinating many of your body’s activities. Your thyroid gland manufactures hormones that regulate your body’s metabolism. Maintaining optimal function of the thyroid is vital for overall health. Dysfunction of thyroid hormone performance is quite common and may result in conditions such as thyroiditis and hypothyroidism. In the United States, hypothyroidism reportedly affects up to 10% of adults.

The autoimmune condition known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common type of hypothyroidism, affecting one to two percent of people in the US, most of them women. In this disorder, a dysregulated immune response impairs the production of thyroid hormones. On the flip side from a low-functioning thyroid is hyperthyroidism, which impacts about one percent of people in the US, with women two to ten times more likely to develop the condition. Graves’ disease is the most common type of hyperthyroidism in the US. In this autoimmune disorder, autoantibodies activate the thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor, inducing excessive thyroid hormone secretion.

Many symptoms of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) are the same as those of other conditions, so it can easily be confused for something else.

Symptoms usually develop slowly and you may not realise you have a medical problem for several years.

Common symptoms include:

  • tiredness
  • being sensitive to cold
  • weight gain
  • constipation
  • depression
  • slow movements and thoughts
  • muscle aches and weakness
  • muscle cramps
  • dry and scaly skin
  • brittle hair and nails
  • loss of libido
  • pain, numbness and a tingling sensation in the hand and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • irregular periods or heavy periods

Elderly people with an underactive thyroid may develop memory problems and depression. Children may experience slower growth and development. Teenagers may start puberty earlier than normal.

If you have been experiencing any of symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, give us a call. Symptoms of hypothyroidism can be easily missed if you don’t have comprehensive studies performed. TSH may not be a sufficient screening tool to do a comprehensive thyroid panel. Let us check your labs. $150 or use insurance. 

Mandi

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