Are you the one in 10?
Photo caption: Butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is situated beneath the Adam's apple
(NC) One in 10 Canadians has a thyroid disorder without knowing it. Could it be the case for you as well? Signs and symptoms of most thyroid disorders are often general or vague and may not be considered as indicators of underlying disease, so this is a possibility.
Typical thyroid disease symptoms include depression, constipation and unexplained weight gain. Other symptoms are fatigue, forgetfulness, muscle aches and pains, mood swings and an increased sensitivity to cold.
Before dismissing such symptoms, you may want to consider this: the thyroid gland, lying below the “Adam's apple”, produces the hormones that regulate growth, maturation and speed of metabolism for both men and women.
Thyroid hormones influence the metabolic rate in two ways. First, they stimulate almost every tissue in the body to produce proteins. Second, they increase the amount of oxygen that the cells use. When cells work harder, the body works faster.
By far the most common thyroid disorder is an under-active thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). Producing insufficient thyroid hormones causes the metabolism to slow down, resulting in one or more of the symptoms mentioned.
Risk factors for developing hypothyroidism are female gender; age 50 years or older; having a family history of thyroid disease, and previous surgery or radiation of the thyroid gland.
Untreated thyroid disorders may lead to complications such as an enlarged thyroid (goiter) that can affect swallowing, elevated cholesterol levels and heart disease, osteoporosis and clinical depression.
So, if you're experiencing two or more of these symptoms or have risk factors, ask your doctor for a TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test. This simple blood test is considered the most accurate for diagnosing hypothyroidism, which usually is easily treated with thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
For more information, visit www.thyroidsymptoms.ca
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