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How Does Your Thyroid Affect Your Hormones?
This article first appeared in the Fall 2018 Beacon magazine. READ THE ISSUE.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits in your neck. It is responsible for secreting hormones that regulate growth and can control your metabolism, or how fast you burn calories.
More and more research is being done on the thyroid and the conditions that can cause it to malfunction. The most common issues with the thyroid gland is the overproduction or underproduction of essential hormones. This can throw your body out of balance and cause you to experience a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Dry skin
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Muscle weakness
- Thinning hair
- Heavier than normal menstruation
Because the symptoms are so varied, thyroid conditions often take some time to be diagnosed.
Conditions of the thyroid include:
+ Hypothyroidism: This condition is caused when your thyroid does not produce enough of certain hormones. It is more common in women over 60 and can cause problems such as weight gain, joint pain, infertility, and heart disease.
+ Hyperthyroidism: TThis condition is caused when your thyroid produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. It causes accelerated metabolism, which leads to sudden weight loss, rapid or irregular heartbeat, sweating, and irritability. This is more common in women than in men, and it often runs in families.
+ Hashimoto’s disease: This condition (often the cause of hypo-thyroidism) causes your immune system to attack your thyroid. Inflammation from the disease often leads to an underactive thyroid gland. It is more common in middle-aged women and is often treated with thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
+ Graves’ disease: This disorder is most common among women before the age of 40. It causes overproduction of hormones, similar to hyperthyroidism, which can lead to anxiety, irritability, a tremor of your hands or fingers, enlargement of the thyroid (goiter), fatigue, and bulging eyes. It can also cause a skin condition called dermopathy.
If you think you could have any of these thyroid disorders, talk to your primary care provider about having a blood test.
When thyroid issues become too much, Beebe General Surgery can help. Mark Facciolo, MD, is a Board-Certified General Surgeon with a special interest in Endocrine Surgery. In partnership with your primary care and Beebe Endocrinology specialist, Dr. Facciolo can help create your personalized treatment plan.
To find out more about Endocrinology Services at Beebe: www.beebehealthcare.org/endocrinology.