January is National Thyroid Month. One of our primary care providers, Dr. Orlando Fernando, wants everyone to know more about this small but very important gland that can so significantly affect how our body works.
The thyroid is a gland that sits low on your neck, is bow-tie shaped, and has a very important function. It releases the hormones that control our metabolism. Metabolism is how we create energy and use the food that we eat.
However, more than half of the people in the United States who have a thyroid disorder have not been diagnosed.
If your thyroid is overactive and produces more of the thyroid hormones than your body needs, it causes hyperthyroidism. Common symptoms include rapid heartbeat, weight loss, excessive sweating, hand tremors, nervousness, irritability, frequent bowel movements, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping.
Conversely, hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough of the thyroid hormones. Some of the common symptoms are weight gain, sluggishness, decreased energy, enlarged thyroid, slow heartbeat, fatigue, cold intolerance, depression, muscle aches, menstrual problems, constipation, dry skin and hair, brittle nails, and decreased libido.
Because all of these symptoms can be caused by many different conditions, it’s often difficult for people to recognize when it’s thyroid related. According to Dr. Orly, thyroid issues are relatively easy to identify with a blood test and both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can typically be treated with medications.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, talk to your doctor or make an appointment with Dr. Orly today at (912)367-0102.