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The Unknown Agitator: Thyroid Awareness Month

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We have months to spread awareness for diseases such as breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and other conditions, and rightfully so. These diseases impact millions of Americans every year, and countless groups and organizations are working to find a cure for them. There is also another set of diseases that are lesser known, but effect around 35-40 million Americans without most of them knowing it.

Doctors believe over half of the people with thyroid issues in the United States are not even diagnosed.

These are conditions involving the thyroid gland, which is located in the neck, just below the voice box. This butterfly-shaped gland is responsible for regulating our metabolism, as well as having a hand in the processes of the brain, liver, heart, kidneys and skin. There are various kinds of thyroid issues:

  • Hyperthyroidism- an overactive thyroid that produces too much thyroid hormone

  • Hypothyroidism- an underactive thyroid that produces too little thyroid hormone

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis- immune and autoimmune cells damage the thyroid, leading to hypothyroidism

  • Thyroid Cancer- the appearance of a painless carcinoma lump on the thyroid

  • Thyroid Nodules- a small lump or lumps in or on the thyroid, sometimes cancerous but mostly benign

While leaving a thyroid gland issue untreated can have severe consequences, they are very treatable when diagnosed. In fact, thyroid cancer, despite being one of the fastest growing cancer diagnoses in the U.S., is also one of the easiest to treat. However, it is best to know the warning signs in order to catch the issue before it causes you trouble:

  • A family history of thyroid problems

  • Neck swelling or tenderness

  • Daytime fatigue, even after nights of adequate, deep sleep

  • Sudden feelings of depression (hypothyroidism) or anxiety (hyperthyroidism) 

If you suspect you or a loved one may have a thyroid gland condition, Broadway Medical highly encourages you to contact your doctor and schedule an appointment. A healthy thyroid gland is just one more way to live better during the upcoming year!