We often overlook the thyroid when it comes to our overall health. However, this little gland can have a massive effect on your body.
The thyroid is a tiny butterfly shaped gland found inside your neck. It’s responsible for regulating your metabolism hormones which keep your whole body functioning, so it has a pretty important job! However, sometimes the gland can become under or over productive resulting in your body getting not enough hormones, or too much.
These two disorders are called hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, and unfortunately are more common in women than men. This gland can also impact on your weight so if you notice any sudden weight gains or losses, or the inability to easily lose or gain weight it could be down to this little gland.
This is the more common of the two problems and occurs when your thyroid gland isn’t producing enough metabolic hormones. This can be something you’re born with or something that happens later in life. Often the symptoms are very minor, involving weight gain, minor hair loss and feeling sluggish. Because of this it can go undetected for a long time.
This occurs when your thyroid is overproducing metabolic hormones. The symptoms for this are often more noticeable but can be mistaken for anxiety. You may experience rapid weight loss, your heart beating unusually fast, feeling light headed or dizzy, pain behind the eyes, anxiety and restlessness. This one leaves you feeling pretty sick and while it is relatively rare, women in their 20’s are more likely to get it.
How to check your thyroid health
Luckily checking on your thyroid is relatively easy. The problem is many people just don’t realise their symptoms are related to this gland. A blood test can be done to check on the levels of hormones you have. From here it’s often treatable with medication.
One other thing to look out for is genetics. These problems often stem from an autoimmune disease, if this is the case it’s likely there will be a genetic link. If anyone in your family has had thyroid problems before you may be more likely to have them also. If you find you do have these problems and no one else in your family does it may also be good for them to see a doctor also.
So if you’re experiencing any symptoms listed above it may be a good time to visit your doctor. Most thyroid problems are easily fixed or managed and you’ll find yourself feeling so much better once it is.
For more information check out the New Zealand Thyroid facts website.