What You Should Know About Your Thyroid
What IS your thyroid? When should you worry about it? What are some symptoms that indicate you might be having trouble with it?
One of the largest endocrine glands, the thyroid is found in the neck, below the "Adam's apple." The thyroid gland regulates how fast you use energy and make proteins. It also controls how sensitive your body is to other hormones.
Hyperthyroidism & Its Symptoms
One thyroid condition we commonly hear about is hyperthyroidism, which means the thyroid is making too much hormones. Some symptoms that occur with this are difficulty concentrating, fatigue, frequent bowel movements, foiter (visibly enlarged thyroid gland) or thyroid nodules, heat intolerance, Increased appetite, increased sweating, irregular menstrual periods in women, nervousness, restlessness and weight loss (rarely, weight gain).
Hypothyroidism & Its Symptoms
Another condition of the thyroid is HYPOthyrodisim, which occurs when the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone. Early symptoms of hypothyroidism are being more sensitive to cold, constipation, depression, fatigue or feeling slowed down, heavier menstrual periods in women, joint or muscle pain, paleness or dry skin, thin or brittle hair or fingernails, weakness and unintentional weight gain (unintentional). If hypothyroidism is left untreated, some of the late symptoms include decreased taste and smell, hoarseness, puffy face , hands, and feet, slow speech, thickening of the skin, and thinning of eyebrows.
Who Do I See About My Thyroid?
Ultimately, your "thyroid doctor" will be an endocrinologist. When you're experiencing any new signs or symptoms that trouble you, though, it's best to make an appointment with your general practitioner. For one thing, your regular doctor has your health history and information, and might be able to help you troubleshoot your issues through methods, medications or suggestions. Also, many specialists require referrals, and you can usually get those more easily from your primary care doctor than by trying to get in by yourself.
As always, the most important thing is to be aware of your body, its changes, and potential threats to your health.
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