Thyroid disorders, the inside scoop

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Thyroid disorders are prevalent, about one in 20 people have some kind of thyroid disorder, which may be temporary or permanent.  Although they can affect anybody at any age, including children and babies, they mainly occur in women. A

Did you know?

Thyroid problems often go undiagnosed because the symptoms can mimic other conditions, especially in the early stages. Left untreated, they can cause distress and serious health problems.



The thyroid gland explained.

It’s a small, butterfly-shaped endocrine gland at the base of the neck made up of two lobes that sit on either side of the trachea (wind-pipe) and joined by a small bridge of thyroid tissue called the isthmus.  While this gland may be small, it has an essential role in health. As part of the endocrine system, it is responsible for coordinating many of the body’s functions, including manufacturing hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism. 

There are three main hormones produced and stored by the thyroid gland: Thyroxine, also known as T4, and Triiodothyronine, also known as T3, and calcitonin. These hormones regulate every aspect of metabolism, from nutrient usage to body temperature and controlling to heart rate.


What can go wrong?

Thyroid problems can occur when the thyroid gland becomes overactive; a condition called hyperthyroidism. However, more people are affected by Hypothyroidism, meaning that the thyroid is under-active. Both conditions can cause an array of problems because when the thyroid is not working correctly, it can disrupt many vital bodily functions. There are five common noncancerous disorders of the thyroid 

  1. Hashimoto’s disease (Hypothyroidism)
  2. Graves’ disease (Hyperthyroidism)
  3. Goitre 
  4. Thyroiditis
  5. Thyroid nodules.
  6. Plus Subclinical Hypothyroidism


Summary

Problems with the thyroid gland can cause a host of health problems, especially for women after pregnancy and during or after the menopause. Midlife can bring some unwelcome changes: energy levels, weight, skin, hair, and even mindset. But, before accepting these changes as just the kisses of time and consequences of the menopause and beyond, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re not the result of an underactive thyroid gland. Fortunately, Hypothyroidism can be easily diagnosed with a blood test and treated with medication. Left untreated it can increase the risk of raised cholesterol, high blood pressure, and risk for heart disease. Is it time to book you a well women checkup?


Read more:

  • Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Subclinical Hypothyroidism
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