January is Thyroid Awareness Month and to me, that is very near and dear to me as a large number of people in my family have or have had Thyroid issues. Understanding the facts about thyroid disease and its symptoms is the best defense in treating this disease and maintaining a healthy life.
Do you even know what or where your thyroid is??
Your thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland found immediately below the Adam’s apple. This gland produces hormones that influence every organ, tissue and cell in your body. If you have a thyroid disease and it is left untreated there are serious consequences including elevated cholesterol levels, heart disease, infertility, muscle weakness, osteoporosis and in extreme cases coma or death.
Here are some facts about thyroid disease: An estimated 27 million American have overactive or underactive thyroid glands, but more than half remain undiagnosed. Women are more likely than men to develop thyroid disease. Additionally, people with diabetes and/or their siblings are 15 to 20% more likely todevelop thyroid disease.
The incidence of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) increases with age; by the age 60, as many as 17% of women and 9% of men have an underactive thyroid.
How do I know if I have a thyroid disease? Testing for thyroid disease is easy, although not routinely included in an annual physical blood work. Treatment of thyroid disease is also easy and often includes taking a daily pill of synthroid or a generic substitute. However, without proper diagnosis many people suffer from the following symptoms.
How do I know if I should be tested for thyroid disease? Common symptoms of Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
Dry, coarse skin & hair
Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
Heat intolerance, sweating
Alterations in appetite
Frequent bowel movements
Changes in vision
Fatigue and muscle weakness
For more information on thyroid disease and/or to find a medical expert in thyroid conditions visit the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists website.