January is Thyroid Awareness Month

Could you have a thyroid problem and not know it?

The thyroid is responsible for producing hormones that help the body regulate its metabolism. When not working properly, it can cause the body’s system to speed up (hyperthyroidism) or slow down (hypothyroidism),
Source: Mount Sinai Medical Center 

Prevalence and Impact of Thyroid Disease

  • More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime.
  • An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease.
  • Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.
  • Women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems.
  • One woman in eight will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime.
  • Most thyroid respond to treatment, although a small percentage can be very aggressive.
  • The causes of thyroid problems are largely unknown.

Source: The American Thyroid Association (ATA)

Signs of a thyroid problem

Overactive thyroid:

  • Fatigue
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Increased appetite
  • Sweating
  • Nervousness, restlessness
  • Unintentional weight loss

Underactive thyroid:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Muscle weakness
  • Brittle nails and hair
  • Hoarse voice
  • Unintentional weight gain

Testing for thyroid problems

Whether or not you have symptoms, if you’re over age 60, you should consider getting screened for subclinical hypothyroidism, according to new guidelines from the American Thyroid Association. A simple blood test can reveal thyroid problems. Consider asking your if this is necessary for you.

Source: Harvard Health Publishing – Harvard School of Medicine