Could it Be Your Thyroid?

General Steward Health Care

For such a small gland, the thyroid has a big job. It keeps your body working properly. It regulates your metabolism and energy.  Do you need routine screening to make sure you don’t have a thyroid problem?

What the Research Says
More people are being treated for thyroid disease. It’s a common problem for an aging population.

Research suggests thyroid dysfunction can harm your health. It may raise your risk for heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeats and heart failure.

When You Should be Tested
“The symptoms of a thyroid problem aren’t always clear,” says Lori Wang, MD, endocrinologist at Steward Health Care. “For example, you may feel tired or hyper. You may have weight gain or weight loss. You may feel hot or cold. These symptoms may be signs of thyroid dysfunction.“

If your thyroid makes too much thyroid hormone, you have an overactive thyroid, and this condition is called hyperthyroidism.  The symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include:

  • Being nervous or irritable
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue or muscle weakness
  • Heat intolerance
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Hand tremors
  • Rapid and irregular heartbeat
  • Frequent bowel movements or diarrhea
  • Weight loss

If your thyroid makes too little thyroid hormone, you have an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism.  The symptoms of hypothyroidism can vary from person to person and can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • A puffy face
  • Cold intolerance
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Dry, thinning hair
  • Heavy or irregular menstrual periods and fertility problems
  • Slowed heart rate

If you have any unexplained symptoms that suggest an overactive or underactive thyroid, talk with your health care provider. People who are at high risk for a thyroid problem, such as those with a family history of thyroid disease, should also think about testing for thyroid dysfunction. Generally, an examination and blood tests can detect a thyroid problem. Treatment may include medicine.

 

To find a doctor or schedule an appointment, visit Steward DoctorFinder™.