What is Thyroid Disease?

An estimated 20 million Americans — or more than 12 percent — have some form of thyroid disease. Many are unaware of their condition. To explain, thyroid disease is when the thyroid gland produces either too much or too little hormones that regulate your metabolism and heart rate bodily functions.

When faced with thyroid hormonal imbalance, there can be two main causes of thyroid disease, called hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism is the overactivity of the thyroid gland, resulting in a rapid heartbeat and an increased rate of metabolism.

Hypothyroidism is the abnormally low activity of the thyroid gland, resulting in retardation of growth and mental development in children and adults.

What is A Thyroid?

The thyroid is responsible for metabolism, growth and maturation in both infants and adults. It makes thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. This butterfly-shaped endocrine gland is located in the lower front of the neck. 

The thyroid plays a role in the function of the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, skin and just about every organ in the body. Thyroid hormone helps the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should.

What are Thyroid Disease Symptoms?

The following are common signs and symptoms of having thyroid disease. However, there are multiple conditions that can cause any of these symptoms, therefore all symptoms and circumstances must be relayed to a physician to fully assess and diagnose the patient. 

If any of these symptoms persist, it is advised to visit your medical professional for further analysis. Whether you have a thyroid condition or not, your symptoms should be appropriately addressed.

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1. Muscle & Joint Pain

Patients suffering from thyroid issues often experience chronic, generalized muscle pain in multiple parts of the body, including the wrists, back, arms, legs, neck and ankles.

2. Neck Discomfort or Swelling

The thyroid is located in the neck, so swelling, redness and discomfort may be present in the neck with thyroid disease.

3. Fatigue

Are you tired in the morning after you experience a seemingly full night's sleep (between 8-10 hours)? If fatigue and lethargy are setting in and you are unable to explain it, it could be a good indication of a thyroid problem.

4. Change in Hair/Skin

An increase or decrease in certain hormones can lead to hair loss, dry hair, and dry, cracked and scaly skin. If nothing else has changed in your behavior/lifestyle, but you experience a significant change, it could be caused by a thyroid problem.

5. Weight Changes

Thyroid dysfunction affects metabolism. If you suddenly find it extremely difficult to lose or gain weight with concerted effort, consult your physician.

6. Bowel Issues

Severe and painful constipation is another symptom of an underlying thyroid problem. If you have not changed your diet or are not under significantly more stress when the change occurs, consult a physician.

7. Depression/Anxiety

If your routine is the same and there are no additional points of contention in your life, yet you feel more unhappy or irritable, look for an underlying cause. These signs could be your body's way of reacting to a thyroid problem.

8. Menstrual Problems

If your normal periods suddenly change to irregular — in time or intensity — it could be related to a thyroid problem. Seek medical attention if it persists for more than two cycles.

9. Cholesterol

If you haven't made any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle and you notice a rise in your cholesterol levels, it could be an early indicator of a thyroid problem.

10. Family History

Thyroid issues can be genetic. If someone in your family has suffered from a thyroid issue, there is a likelihood that you may be affected. If you experience any of the above symptoms and have family history, notify your physician and be sure to share your family history.

Book a Consultation

If you are experiencing symptoms and have concerns about your health and thyroid function, we urge you not to self-diagnose. Consult with a knowledgeable physician, like a member of our caregiver team, and share all your observations about how your body has changed. To make an appointment with Sierra Nevada Ear, Nose, Throat, call 775.883.7666.

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