As we finish up the month of January, which is recognized as National Thyroid Awareness month, this post will give you some insight into the thyroid gland and hypothyroidism, which may be related to your fatigue, weight gain, sluggishness, and even high cholesterol. Often, since symptoms of low thyroid function are pretty general in nature, people may mistakenly think they are just part of the aging process.
About the Thyroid Gland. The thyroid is a "butterfly-shaped" (1) endocrine gland located in the front of a your neck and above the collarbone. It produces hormones that help in the regulation of your metabolism, and as part of the endocrine system, it has an impact on all body systems.
Statistics about Thyroid Disease. The American Thyroid Association estimates that 20 million Americans have a form of thyroid disease, with more than half going undiagnosed. The Association states that "women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems" and that "one woman in eight will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime" (2).
Symptoms of Low Thyroid Function. Many of the symptoms that indicate your thyroid may be functioning at sub-optimal levels are the kind that you might easily dismiss (3, 4). In addition, they can develop gradually over several years.
About Hypothyroidism. In general, this occurs when they thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormones. The most common form of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disease (3). In this case, the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland.
Thyroid Function Tests. The following laboratory tests are performed to evaluate thyroid function (3, 5):
Written by Michelle Baglio of Optimal Nutrition and Health (Google+). The information contained in this post is provided for educational purposes only with the understanding that Optimal Nutrition and Health makes no warranties, either expressed or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of the information. Readers are advised not to use information in this post or others found on this website for the treatment or prevention of disease, and it should not be used in place of medical treatment or advice. Please do not reprint this post for distribution without my permission. To feature on your website or social media, please link to this post as the original source.