January is Thyroid Awareness Month



What Is The Thyroid Gland?


The thyroid gland helps the body regulate metabolism, growth, and development. It releases thyroid hormones into the body to help with various duties the body performs daily. For example, during adolescence, the thyroid gland will let out its hormones so that you can grow properly. It's found at the base of the neck and looks similar to a butterfly shape. It's a small gland but plays a big part in our overall health. Without it strategically releasing hormones, you can experience hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.


Hypothyroidism


Hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid gland does not create enough hormones for the body. Without enough of these hormones, you can experience problems like obesity, joint discomfort, infertility, and even heart disease. It's easy to overlook symptoms but you should always be on the lookout for any changes in your body. Watch out for signs like the following:

  • Enlarged thyroid gland

  • Depression

  • Slower heart rate

  • Thinning hair

  • High cholesterol

  • Muscle weakness

  • Weight gain

  • Fatigue


Hyperthyroidism


As the name suggests, hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid produces too many hormones. If the body is getting more hormones than it needs, you can experience unnatural weight loss or an irregular heartbeat. Symptoms for hyperthyroidism can include:

  • Unintentional weight loss

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Increased appetite

  • Anxiety

  • Enlarged thyroid gland

  • Tremors in the hands and fingers

  • Fatigue

  • Thinning skin


The Thyroid & Seniors


Unlike younger people, seniors are likely to experience only one or two symptoms if they have a thyroid problem. It's harder to detect when seniors experience only fatigue or an irregular heartbeat. It's important to take note of when a symptom starts and if it continues to persist. Hypothyroidism is more common in seniors than hyperthyroidism. Luckily, both can be treated with prescriptions and sometimes surgery.


Summary


The thyroid gland is an important part of daily life. Potential thyroid problems can happen at any stage of life. The good news is that thyroid gland issues can also be easily managed. Be sure not to ignore the signs of potential thyroid troubles. Make sure to let your doctor know if you experience any symptoms of thyroid irregularity. For more information about the thyroid gland and potential diseases please use our sources below.


Sources:


How does the thyroid gland work? (2018, April 19). Retrieved January 15, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279388/


Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). (2020, November 14). Retrieved January 15, 2021, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperthyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20373659


Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). (2020, November 19). Retrieved January 15, 2021, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/symptons-causes/syc-20350284


Older Patients and Thyroid Disease. (n.d.). Retrieved January 15, 2021, from http://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-disease-older-patient/



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