Monday, January 9, 2023
January is Thyroid Awareness Month, and Norman Regional Endocrine Surgeon Dr. Tom Connally is here to explain the importance of this key gland. Located in the neck, the thyroid gland plays a crucial role in regulating metabolism and producing hormones that control heart rate, body temperature, and energy conversion from food.
Thyroid disorders are a common health concern in Oklahoma, with data from the American Thyroid Association, an estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Of these, up to 60% are unaware of their condition. Thyroid disorders are more common in women than in men, and the prevalence increases with age.
What is the difference between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism?
The most common thyroid disorder in the United States is hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. This condition occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones and can cause symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and dry skin.
Hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough hormones, and hyperthyroidism, a condition where the gland produces too much hormone.
Problems with the thyroid can lead to various health issues, including weight gain or loss, fatigue, mood changes, and even heart problems. That's why it's important to be aware of potential thyroid issues and to have them checked by a medical professional.
Is it time to get your thyroid checked?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common thyroid disorder in the United States is hypothyroidism. This condition occurs when the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough hormones and can cause symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and dry skin. Women, people over the age of 60, and those with a family history of thyroid problems are more at risk of developing hypothyroidism.
Another common thyroid disorder is hyperthyroidism, which occurs when the gland produces too much hormone. This can cause symptoms such as weight loss, rapid heartbeat, and anxiety. Hyperthyroidism is more common in women and people under the age of 40.
It's important to be aware of the symptoms of thyroid disorders and to speak with a medical professional if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to managing thyroid disorders and preventing further complications.
During Thyroid Awareness Month, it's a good time to remind ourselves of the importance of this gland and to take steps to protect our thyroid health. This may include getting regular check-ups, being aware of any changes in our bodies, and taking steps to manage stress.
Who to talk to about your thyroid?
If you have any concerns about your thyroid health, don't hesitate to speak with a medical professional. Dr. Connally and the team at Norman Regional are here to help you take care of your thyroid and overall health. So, it’s very important to be aware of your thyroid health and get it checked regularly to avoid any potential issues.
In addition to regular check-ups, there are also steps you can take to support thyroid health. These include:
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Getting enough exercise to support overall health and well-being
- Managing stress through techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing
- Avoiding exposure to environmental toxins that can impact thyroid function
By taking care of your thyroid gland and overall health, you can help to prevent thyroid disorders and enjoy a higher quality of life. Don't wait until Thyroid Awareness Month to start thinking about your thyroid health – make it a priority all year round.