Your Thyroid: Majestic Butterfly or Sluggish Caterpillar?
Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that produces hormones. These hormones influence every cell, tissue and organ in your body – doing amazing things for energy level, metabolism, heart rate and mood. But what if rather than a majestic butterfly, your thyroid is more like a wildly flapping moth or a sluggish, swollen caterpillar?
You’d join the estimated 20 million Americans, 60 percent of whom are unaware, with some form of thyroid disease. And if you’re a woman, according to the American Thyroid Association, you’re five to eight times more likely to have a thyroid that needs to shape up and fly right.
“It’s a concern particularly since abnormal thyroid activity may cause so many other conditions, like depression,” according to CHI Health Clinic Primary Care Provider Steven Osborn, MD.
Signs your thyroid is the problem:
- Always fatigued or exhausted, or too much energy
- Depressed, losing your enthusiasm for life
- Irritable, impatient, anxious, panicky, heart palpitations
- Feeling too hot or too cold
- Brain fog, trouble concentrating, forgetfulness
- Thinning hair, dry skin
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Appetite or taste buds are altered
- Sleeping poorly or insomnia
- Vision problems, eye irritation
- Changes in bowel habits, menstrual cycle
- Hoarseness or swelling in the neck
- Irregular heart rate, high cholesterol
Thyroid imbalances like hypothyroidism (low function) or hyperthyroidism (high function) have many causes, and Dr. Osborn says left unregulated, there are very real risks for certain serious conditions.
“Cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage – thyroid issues can lead to these problems, and more,” Dr. Osborn said. “But they can all be prevented with proper medical treatment.”