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Thyroid Awareness Month

By January 12, 2015Archives

Your thyroid gland is an interesting part of the body. It’s tiny, shaped like a butterfly, and located just below the Adam’s apple. Most people are unaware of its existence. However, it plays a huge role in the way our body works. It influences many important organs such as the heart, brain, liver, and kidneys. Without it, our body wouldn’t know what to do! That’s why it’s important to honor January, Thyroid Awareness Month.

There are two common types of thyroid disorders.

Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a common name for an underactive thyroid. This occurs when the gland does not produce enough of its hormones to regulate your body. Common signs of hypothyroidism include:

  • Low energy
  • Depression
  • Weight Gain
  • Pain or stiffness in the joints

As you can see, a lot of these symptoms can be confused with the common symptoms of aging. However, it’s important that they do not go unnoticed. According to the American Association of Endocrinologists, thyroid disease in those over 65 years old is much more likely to remain undiagnosed as compared with thyroid disease in 30 to 40 year olds. If left untreated, these symptoms can turn into some very serious side effects such as goiters, heart disease, enlarged heart, and heart failure. Be weary that even the smallest of glands can have the biggest of impacts on your health.

Hyperthyroidism
This thyroid disorder is the exact opposite of the aforementioned one. It’s common name is ‘overactive thyroid’ and occurs when the gland produces too many hormones. In younger folks, it commonly causes excessive energy and weight loss. However, for older adults some of the symptoms shown are:

  • Abnormal Heart Rhythm
  • Osteoporosis
  • Lack of Energy
  • Weakness of the Muscles

15 percent of people diagnosed with this condition are over the age of 60, according to the American Association of Endocrinologists. It’s best not to be complacent when dealing with any of the symptoms mentioned above. Be sure a senior you care for schedules an appointment with their doctor to get their thyroid checked. A simple blood test can determine whether everything is okay, or if they need to make a change in diet, take new medicine, or get surgery.

Image Credit – http://weareallears.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/115052882.jpg

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