As many as 30 million Americans may be affected by thyroid disorders, with the condition being most common in women.
The thyroid is a small gland located in the base of the neck that helps regulate the function of many of the body’s important organs, including the heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin. Two of the most common thyroid disorders are hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).
Symptoms of hypothyroidism often include fatigue and/or drowsiness, constipation, weight gain and/or fluid retention, dry, brittle hair and nails, longer or heavier menstrual cycles and dry, itchy skin. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism often include fast heart rate, weight loss and/or weight fluctuation, lighter menstrual cycles, trembling hands, loose and frequent bowel movements and muscle weakness.
Goiter, enlargement of the thyroid gland, and thyroid nodules are also common disorders of the gland.
Signs of an enlarged thyroid (goiter) may include a visible lump in the neck, hoarseness, choking and trouble swallowing.
A thyroid nodule is a lump that has developed in or on the gland, and can sometimes be cancerous.
Because the thyroid serves such an important purpose in our bodies, it is extremely important to become educated on common thyroid disorders and their symptoms.
Be sure to discuss any signs of thyroid dysfunction with your doctor.
Cone Health has an exceptional network of primary care physicians, endocrinologists, oncologists and many other related health care providers dedicated to properly educating, diagnosing and treating individuals in the community with thyroid disorders.
- Hormone Health Network: www.hormone.org
- American Thyroid Association: www.thyroid.org
- EmPower: http://www.empoweryourhealth.org/thyroid
Dr. Jeffrey S. Kerr is a board certified endocrinologist and member of Cone Health Medical Staff. Dr. Kerr is a 2000 graduate of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Cone Health and completed his fellowship in Endocrinology at Southern Illinois School of Medicine.