January Is Thyroid Awareness Month
The human body is an intricate system. Everything has a purpose, from helping us perform daily tasks, to keeping our organs functioning properly without us even knowing. Your body is truly an amazing thing, but if something goes wrong, even in the smallest way, it can result in big health problems. Such is the case when it comes to the thyroid. This January, in honor of Thyroid Awareness Month, we aim to help educate our patients about what the thyroid is and how thyroid problems can affect your overall health.
What is the Thyroid?
The thyroid is responsible for producing the thyroid hormone, which controls many of your body’s activities, including how quickly you burn calories and how fast your heart beats. Located at the base of your neck, this butterfly-shaped gland sends hormones in the blood throughout your entire body. When the thyroid makes too much or too little hormone, it can cause you to feel restless or tired, or you will notice weight loss or gain. While both men and women can experience thyroid problems, women are more likely to develop disease, especially after pregnancy and menopause. If a thyroid disease is left undiagnosed and untreated for too long, you may be at risk for other conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, and infertility.
Thyroid Problems & Diseases
Thyroid problems are quite common in women, with 1 in 8 developing it during her lifetime. Some of the most common thyroid diseases women experience include:
- Thyroiditis and Postpartum Thyroiditis
- Thyroid Nodules
- Thyroid Cancer
Women with thyroid disease may experience:
- Menstrual problems: Because the thyroid helps control your menstrual cycle, too much or too little of the hormone can cause periods to be very light, heavy, or irregular. Thyroid disease may also result in periods stopping for several months or longer. If it is found that your immune system is causing your thyroid disease, it could also affect your ovaries, leading to early menopause (before age 40).
- Issues getting pregnant: Due to its part in the menstrual cycle, ovulation is also affected, making it more difficult to get pregnant.
- Issues during pregnancy: A thyroid issue present during pregnancy requires careful monitoring as it can result in health problems for both the mother and the baby.
Diagnosing Thyroid Issues
Unfortunately, some symptoms of a thyroid problem are mistaken for menopause, resulting in it going undiagnosed for some time. Proper testing is needed to determine a correct diagnosis, which includes blood tests, imaging, and physical exams. If you are experience symptoms that could point to a thyroid issue, or it has been some time since you’ve had an exam, visit Midwest Express Clinic today.