Unless you have a reason to really think about it, the thyroid is a kind of unsung hero of the body. While most of us know it has something to do with our metabolisms, and that cancer of the thyroid does exist, it still remains a bit of a mystery.
The thyroid is a gland that is located at the lower part of your neck. It is responsible, as we know, for weight loss and gain. However, it is also responsible for your blood pressure, the temperature of your body, and your heart rate. It regulates all these different areas of your body with hormones that it releases.
At your first suspicion of any problem with your thyroid, contact a trusted physician immediately. But it also pays to have some knowledge about what you are going through. Here are two different issues that can arise because of problems with the thyroid, how to identify them and how they are treated.
This is the name for a condition where you have an overactive thyroid gland. Your thyroid makes a hormone known as thyroxine, and if you are suffering from hyperthyroidism, that means you are making too much of it.
The main symptoms are weight loss, without trying, and a fast heartbeat. However, you may also experience an irregular heartbeat, abnormal sweating, feeling anxious or annoyed, feeling very hungry, your menstrual cycle or digestion patterns can be disrupted, your hair and skin could suffer and become brittle or thin.
This condition could also make you feel like you can't stand being hot, and even make your eyeballs protrude slightly from their sockets.
The good news is that this condition is easy to treat. There are several medications and treatment methods available that have high rates of success.
This is the opposite of hyperthyroidism above. In this case, your thyroid is not active enough, which means it’s not producing the hormones your body needs for different processes. It mainly affects women over 60, but can be very problematic in infants. This can certainly cause weight gain, but it also produces a host of other symptoms as well. Your muscles and joints can feel weak, stiff, or tight and you can feel exhausted. You could have memory problems or even feel depressed. Physically, you may have constipation, drier than usual skin, and an aversion to being cold. Your cholesterol could go up, and your heart rate could go down.
As mentioned, this is a lot more concerning when experienced by an infant, so consult a hospital or doctor at any signs of this in your baby. With babies, hypothyroidism can be observed by the presence of a big, bloated tongue.
This is also fairly easy to treat once you talk to your doctor. You will usually be prescribed synthetic thyroid hormones, which is successful in almost all cases.
There are other issues related to the thyroid that can arise, such as cancer or thyroid nodules. Luckily, they are fairly easy to treat as well. The bottom line is, if you suspect you have a thyroid issue, get your doctor to check it out.