Thyroid Gland Facts: 10 Things You Should Know About Your Thyroid by Joyce Knestrick, CRNP, FAANP
Roughly 20 million people have thyroid problems, and more than half have no idea. Part of the problem is thyroid issues are difficult to diagnose – symptoms are usually vague and hard to pinpoint. As a result, this tiny gland is one of the most misunderstood.
Here are 10 things you should know about your thyroid gland:
- It’s shaped like a butterfly, no bigger than your thumb.
- It produces hormones that influence every cell, organ and tissue in your body.
- It regulates critical bodily functions like your metabolism.
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) causes dry skin, forgetfulness, muscle cramps and weight gain.
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) causes irritability, racing heartbeat, sleep trouble and weight loss.
- Women are five to eight times more likely to have thyroid problems.
- One in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder in her lifetime.
- If you’re a woman over 35, the odds of developing a thyroid disorder are more than 30 percent.
- Thyroid disorders can most often be treated with medication.
- The causes of thyroid problems are largely unknown.
Your thyroid is small, but important. Don’t take this mighty little gland for granted!
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