Is your thyroid acting like it’s on a roller coaster with so many twists and turns you can’t figure out how to slow it down or get off the ride? If you are suffering the difficulties and trials of a hormone imbalance, it’s time to talk with your doctor about a new ride. Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.
People of all ages and races can get this disease, but women are five to eight times more likely than men to have it. One woman in eight will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime. According to the Centers for Disease Control, every year about 12,000 men and 36,000 women get thyroid cancer, but with treatment, the cure rate is over 90 percent.
Small but powerful
The thyroid is a small, soft butterfly-shaped gland located on the front of the neck, below the Adam’s apple. Weighing only about an ounce, it influences cells, tissues and organs in the body. When working properly, it will provide the amount of hormones required to keep the body working at a satisfactory rate.
Who’s driving the coaster?
Problems arise when the signal from the pituitary gland senses either a lack of hormones or a higher level. Imagine the conflict between the two and what it takes to regulate the body. Recognizing the symptoms is an essential step when talking with a physician.
Overactive (too much)
If you have too much thyroid hormone all the functions of the body are on the fast track coaster. You may start out with lots of energy, but when an overactive hormone continues, the body breaks down and you become tired. The problems may start slowly but in some young patients, it may change quickly.
- Irritability, Anxiety
- Heart racing
- Fine, brittle hair
- Menstrual flow may lighten
- Periods that occur less often
- Unexplained weight loss
- Thinning of your skin
- Sleep Disturbance
- Vision Problems and Eye Irritations
Underactive (too little)
This coaster goes a little slower and may not cause as many symptoms in the beginning, but over time, and if left untreated, it can lead to several health problems. Women over 60 are also more likely to have this problem. Be sure to check with a doctor if you experience:
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness/aches
A new ride for better health
Treatment of thyroid issues is specific to each individual and coordinating care depends on the severity of the disorder, age, medical history and overall health.
As women, we need to take an active, empowering approach to our health care needs. Talk with your doctor to ensure that you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to your thyroid; your hormones will thank you!
The information on this site is intended to raise awareness and understanding of specific health issues. It should not be used for diagnosis or a substitute for health care by your physician.