Sign up for our Newsletters

The Thyroid Gland

Located in the front of your neck, just below the Adam’s apple, the thyroid is a small gland that secrets thyroid hormone. It’s shaped like a butterfly, with one “wing” on either side of your windpipe. If the thyroid becomes diseased or injured, it may not work properly.

Every cell in your body is affected by the thyroid gland. The thyroid produces several hormones that are collectively called the thyroid hormone. This hormone is carried by the bloodstream to every cell in your body. Within these cells, this hormone controls your metabolism – the rate at which the body produces energy from nutrients. The growth of your cells and the working of your muscles depend on having the correct level of thyroid hormone. Your temperature, cholesterol level, moods, memory, and many other things are all affected by the hormone.

Your heart, liver, kidneys, and skin all need the right amount of thyroid hormone to work effectively. Thyroid hormone also affects muscle strength, reproductive functions, and appetite.

Problems arise when the thyroid does not function properly and begins producing thyroid hormone in the wrong amounts. This is referred to as a thyroid disorder. Too little or too much thyroid ormone can produce a wide array of signs and symtons. Thyroid disorders, both hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone) and hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone), affect more than 11 million Americans – 90% of them women.

Hypothyroidism

If your thyroid gland produces insufficient thyroid hormone, you may have a condition called hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is commonly caused by Hashimoto’s disease (also called chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis) a condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland.

Insufficient thyroid hormone causes the cells in your body to “slow down” their process. This can affect your body in many different ways. The list below includes the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Signs and Symptons of Hyothyroidism

  • Tiredness
  • Forgetfulness/Slower Thinking
  • Moodiness/Irritability
  • Depression
  • Inability to Concentrate
  • Thinning Hair/Hair Loss
  • Loss of Body Hair
  • Dry, Patchy Skin
  • Weight Gain
  • Cold Intolerance
  • Elevated Cholesterol
  • Family History of Thyroid Disease or Diabetes
  • Puffy Eyes
  • Swelling (Goiter)
  • Hoarseness/Deepening of Voice
  • Persistent Dry or Sore Throat
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Slower Heartbeat
  • Menstrual Irregularities/Heavy Period
  • Infertility
  • Constipation
  • Muscle Weakness/Cramps

Hyperthyroidism

If your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, you may have a condition known as hyperthyroidism. Having too much thyroid hormone causes your body to “speed up”, resulting in nervousness, fast heartbeat, and unexplained weight loss – among other symptoms.

Hyperthyroidism is common. In fact, for reasons not completely understood, hyperthyroidism is seven to nine times more common in women than men. If your doctor has told you that you are hyperthyroid, chances are you may have noticed a wide range of symptons.

Signs and Symptons of Hyperthyroidism

  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Difficult Sleeping
  • Bulging Eyes/Unblinking Stare
  • Swelling (Goiter)
  • Menstrual Irregularities/Light Periods
  • Frequent Bowel Movements
  • Warm, Moist Palms
  • Excessive Vomiting in Pregnancy
  • Hoarseness/Deepening of Voice
  • Persistent Dry or Soar Throat
  • Difficulty Swallowing
  • Rapid Heartbeat/Irregular Heartbeat
  • Infertility
  • Weight Loss
  • Heat Intolerance
  • Increased Sweating
  • 1st Trimester Miscarriage
  • Family History of Thyroid Disease or Diabetes