Your thyroid influences almost all of your body’s metabolic processes. Some thyroid issues can lead to problems that require little to no treatment, while others can be life threatening.
It’s important to learn and recognize the signs of thyroid problems, and through early diagnosis and treatment, you can. Learn more.
Thyroid disorders can strike anyone for any reason, regardless of age or ethnic background.
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According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), nearly 30 million Americans have thyroid disease. It’s more common than diabetes or heart disease, and it strikes women five times more often than men.
A butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck, the thyroid uses iodine to produce vital hormones that control how the body’s cells use energy. It’s controlled by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, so problems with these tissues can also cause thyroid problems.
Specific thyroid disorders include:
The AACE has created a public service announcement and provides different resources about thyroid health and how to check your neck for thyroid problems.
As part of this January’s Thyroid Awareness Month, take some time to understand the symptoms of thyroid disorders. Thyroid disease can be confused with many other conditions, so knowing the signs can help you catch this disease early.
Five common signs of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid):
Five common signs ofhyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid):
Thyroid nodules, goiter and thyroid cancer can all cause swelling in the neck, trouble swallowing and trouble breathing. Often, though, symptoms aren’t present, and the condition goes unnoticed unless a doctor detects a lump in the throat during a routine exam. Additional testing may be necessary to determine thyroid hormone levels and rule out serious illness or the need for surgery.
The American Thyroid Association recommends having your thyroid checked if you’re over 35 years old, with a follow-up test every five years after that. Your risks for thyroid problems go up if you are a woman over age 60, have a family history of thyroid or autoimmune disease, or if you have received radiation to the neck or upper chest.
Have you had your thyroid checked lately or encouraged a senior to undergo screening? Share your story in the comments below.