January is Thyroid Disease Awareness Month

January is Thyroid Awareness Month

What is the Thyroid?

The thyroid is a gland that covers the windpipe from three sides. One of its jobs is to help the body create and control hormones adrenaline and dopamine. These chemical substances help control certain cells and organs. They are also active in physical and emotional responses that include fear, excitement and pleasure. Other hormones from the thyroid regulate a body’s metabolism and how calories change into energy.

A healthy thyroid helps a body break down proteins and process carbohydrates and vitamins. Weight gain can be a result from an unhealthy thyroid. Medication and a change in diet can control this problem.

When the thyroid is healthy it works without you noticing it. If your thyroid is not healthy you may experience the following:

  • Unexplained swelling in the neck
  • Intolerance to heat and cold
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Pain in the muscles or joints

Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid overproduces hormones. Symptoms can result in an increased metabolism, which can include a fast heart rate, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, frequent bowel movements, tiredness, weight loss, and others.

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. Symptoms can result in a slower metabolism, which can include weight gain, sadness, tiredness, decreased libido, hair loss, and intolerance to cold temperatures, among others.

Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism are the most common thyroid conditions. Other conditions affecting the thyroid include:

  • Thyroid cancer
  • Thyroid nodules: noncancerous growths on the thyroid
  • Hashimoto’s disease: inflammation of the thyroid
  • Goiter: enlargement of the thyroid
  • If you have symptoms, your physician may send you to see an endocrinologist – this is a physician that specializes in medical treatment of the thyroid. If surgical intervention is required, the endocrinologist will refer you to a surgeon. Advanced Surgical Associates (ASA) has experienced surgeons that are trained and prepared to care for surgical needs in thyroid treatment.

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