Common signs you might be suffering from a thyroid disorder

Article Source: https://www.metro.us/body-and-mind/health/thyroid-disorder-symptoms

 

January is National Thyroid Awareness Month. Here’s how to know if you have a thyroid problem and how to get treatment

 

Here’s how to know if something might be out of whack with your thyroid. Photo: ISTOCK

You’ve probably heard of the thyroid, but it’s less likely that you know what it is or how it actually functions in the body. The two-inch, butterfly-shaped gland, located in the neck just below the adam’s apple, secretes hormones that help regulate important systems in the body, including temperature, metabolism, heart rate, weight and menstruation.

When too much or too little of these hormones are produced, several bodily functions can get out of whack. For National Thyroid Awareness Month, we asked endocrinologist Dr. Byan McIver to talk us through common thyroid disorders and signs that you might be suffering from them.

Who is likely to develop a thyroid disorder? 

 According to the American Thyroid Association, 20 million Americans have thyroid disease, although women are five to eight times more likely to suffer from it than men. Typically, it affects women in their mid-thirties to mid-sixties who have a family history of thyroid problems — although the disorder isn’t strictly genetic. 

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid

McIver likens the thyroid to a “conductor” for the body’s symptoms.

“When there’s too much thyroid hormone, it’s like that conductor has gone a little crazy and gone too fast, and the whole music goes into dissonance,” he explains, describing the condition of hypothyroidism. This can cause rapid heartbeat, restlessness and anxiety, trouble sleeping, difficulty with memory and focus, hot flashes, an overactive bowel — symptoms akin to how you feel if you’ve had too much coffee, according to McIver. Over time, it can lead to hair loss, muscle weakness, shortness of breath and in severe cases, injuries to internal organs.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid

The most common thyroid condition, hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones. This can cause patients to feel tired and low energy or depressed, have a slower heart rate, be more susceptible to the cold, experience constipation and rapid weight gain. It can also interfere with the menstrual cycle, which can lead to issues with infertility. If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, you might consider getting your thyroid tested to see if that’s the culprit, says McIver.

Nodular thyroid disease 

Talk about a lump in your throat. Nodules are a swelling on or inside the thyroid, and they’re actually very common — you’ll find them in half of women over the age of 50, McIver explains. Depending on the size of the nodule, you can feel it or even see it protruding from your neck. As it grows, it can lead you to develop a raspy voice or have difficulty swallowing. Luckily, the majority are benign, but on occasion they are cancerous.

How do you diagnose and treat thyroid conditions? 

If you’re experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms of overactive or underactive thyroid, or if you suspect you might have a nodule, let your doctor know, McIver recommends. They can refer you to an endocrinologist who can diagnose the condition by testing the levels of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) through a simple blood test.

In the case of hypothyroidism, the endocrinologist can treat it with thyroid hormone replacement therapy. If it’s hyperthyroidism, there are medications to help slow down the thyroid, or removal of the thyroid through radioactive iodine or surgery.

In the case of a potential nodule, a doctor can confirm it with an ultrasound and then biopsy it, or use genetic testing to determine the cancer. Thyroid cancer has a good prognosis, McIver explains.

 

Find out how you can help medical research and contribute to finding cures by contacting PlasmaMed through our website: www.plasmamedpatients.com/contact 

 

What, Me Donate Plasma for Research?

The reasons are fairly obvious and straightforward. Research undertaken in the past by committed and forward-thinking people has given us a standard of living and life expectancies that would have been unimaginable not that long ago. It’s easy to take all of this for granted. Treatments for diseases that were deadly and intractable didn’t come out of a vacuum. Every one of us is healthier, happier, and some of us are actually still alive, solely because some nameless people made a commitment to research.

Participation in research studies comes in a few broad categories. Some studies seek only patient records in order to establish trends and extract data on the relative successes and failures of various treatment modalities. Other studies administer investigational drugs to patients in double-blind trials as part of the final phases of their approval. At Plasma MedResearch, LLC, we recruit patients for a third type of study. Our participants donate biospecimens in the form of plasma or blood samples along with various other body tissues and fluids as research requirements dictate. These patients are then compensated for their donation, time and travel, depending on the study and the specimen given.

Why are people reluctant to get involved? There are many reasons ranging from logistics, family/work responsibilities, impaired health, lack of mobility, and privacy concerns. These are all very valid reasons to take a pass on participating. In this day and age people are simply not comfortable having their personal information “out there”. This is understandable. Anyone who works with Plasma MedResearch, LLC, can rest assured that their personal information is protected. We meet and exceed all existing HIPAA and regulatory requirements for the safeguarding of personal information. Our commitment to our donors’ privacy cannot overstated.

We serve biotechnology companies, pharmaceutical companies, and Universities around the world. Our capabilities include a wide range of disease-state biospecimens, from Arthritis to Zika. People who consider donating often ask to know what research institution will be using their specimen and the exact nature of the study. Although this is a great question, it is not possible to answer. Regulations require a strict de-linking between donor and researcher. The most important part of this that researchers cannot know any identifying information about the person who provided the specimen. This is a critical protection for the donor. But, as a consequence, the donor cannot be privy to information about the people and company(ies) doing the actual research.

The selfless act of donating a specimen to a particular research study will have a positive ripple effect down through the generations, improving the quality of life on planet Earth.