Thyroid Disease

A woman faces as high as a one in five chance of developing thyroid problems during her lifetime, a risk that increases with age and for those with a family history of thyroid problems. Women develop thyroid problems seven times more often than men.

Where is the Thyroid and What Does it Do?

Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland, located in your neck, behind and below the Adam’s Apple area. The thyroid produces key hormones which help oxygen get into cells and make your thyroid the master gland of metabolism. The thyroid has the only cells in the body capable of absorbing iodine.

If you have a thyroid disease, your body uses energy more slowly or quickly than it should.

The most common thyroid abnormality is a thyroid gland that is not active enough and produces less thyroid hormone, called hypothyroidism. It can make you gain weight, feel fatigued and have difficulty dealing with cold temperatures.

If your thyroid is too active, called hyperthyroidism, it makes more thyroid hormones than your body needs. Too much thyroid hormone can make you lose weight, speed up your heart rate and make you very sensitive to heat.

The following are symptoms for hypothyroidism:

  • Fatigue
  • Frequent, heavy menstrual periods
  • Forgetfulness
  • Weight gain
  • Dry, coarse skin and hair
  • Hoarse voice
  • Intolerance to cold

The following are symptoms for hyperthyroidism:

  • Irritability/nervousness
  • Muscle weakness/tremors
  • Infrequent, scant menstrual periods
  • Weight loss
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Vision problems or eye irritation
  • Heat sensitivity