What is the nature of the thyroid gland?
The thyroid gland is butterfly shaped and located at the front of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. Thyroid hormones are produced by the thyroid gland which are important for metabolic health controlling heart, muscle and digestive function, brain development and bone maintenance.
What is hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland can’t make enough thyroid hormone to keep the body running normally so the body’s metabolism slows down. Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune thyroid disease which causes inflammation of the thyroid gland resulting in a reduction in thyroid hormone levels.
Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone so the body’s metabolism speeds up. Graves’ Disease is an autoimmune thyroid disease which causes the thyroid gland to become overactive.
What are some symptoms of thyroid disease?
- feeling cold regularly
- tiredness and/or reduced concentration
- dry skin and hair
- forgetfulness and/or depression
- trouble sleeping
- weight gain
- slow heart rate
- more frequent and stronger menstrual periods
- hoarse voice
- feeling hot or sweaty
- feeling nervous or irritated
- hair loss
- weight loss
- fast heart rate
- muscle weakness and tremors
- infrequent menstrual periods
- sleep issues
- eye irritations
Your G.P. is the best person to diagnose thyroid disease as a blood test will initially help to test thyroid hormone levels (serum TSH, T4, T3 and thyroid antibodies). A thyroid ultrasound is essential to determine the structure of the gland and any abnormalities. Further testing may also be required including a CT scan or radionuclide scans. Please speak to your G.P. about the symptoms you are experiencing as well as any family history of autoimmune diseases, thyroid disease or cancer.