• Thyroid Awareness Month

January is Thyroid Awareness Month! According to the American Thyroid Association, more than 12 percent of the U.S. population will experience thyroid dysfunction at some point in their lives. This makes thyroid diseases the most common endocrine disorder. On the bright side, thyroid conditions can be treated allowing one to live a healthy life! 

What Does the Thyroid Do?

The thyroid is a small gland found at the base of the neck. It almost looks like the shape of butterfly wings. It is responsible for producing hormones that play a role in the metabolism, growth, and development of the human body. 

What Are the Different Types of Thyroid Disorders?

There are a number of thyroid disorders, among which the most prevalent are:

  • Hyperthyroidism: constituted by an overactive thyroid, hyperthyroidism is when there is an excessive production of hormones made by the thyroid gland which can cause symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, increased sweating, irritability, muscle weakness and a rapid or irregular heartbeat. 
  • Hypothyroidism: constituted by an underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism is when not enough thyroid hormone is produced leading to symptoms such as unexplained weight gain, feeling cold, a slow heart rate, a puffy face and dry or thinning hair. 
  • Hashimoto's disease: caused by an inflammation of the thyroid gland due to the immune system attacking it. The swelling of the thyroid can typically be seen or felt and can potentially lead to hypothyroidism.
  • Thyroid cancer: a mass found on the thyroid which can typically be seen or felt as a lump at the base of one's throat. Thyroid cancer can cause symptoms such as pain, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, frequent coughing, and hoarseness in one’s voice. However, less than 10% of thyroid nodules are cancerous in adults and most types of thyroid cancer are treatable if detected early.
How Can I tell if I have a Thyroid Disorder?

Aside from the symptoms listed above, another way to tell if something is up with your thyroid is by taking a sip of water and as you swallow look for any bulges or protrusions in your throat area. Be sure not to confuse the Adam’s apple for a lump! If you suspect that you may have an issue with your thyroid, contact your primary care physician. To schedule an in-person or virtual appointment with a UCR Health physician, click here or give us a call at 1-844-827-8000.