Thyroid Disease Awareness: A Complete Guide to Understanding Your Thyroid Glands

January 3, 2023

AFC provider in Malden waiting for the next patient to come in for a thyroid checkup

Living with a thyroid disorder can be a challenge, but with the right diagnosis and treatment, you can lead a healthy life. Thyroid disease awareness is key to understanding the symptoms, causes, and treatments. 

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the lower front of the neck. It produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism, heart rate, and blood pressure. An imbalance in thyroid hormones can lead to an underactive or overactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, which may potentially cause future health issues.

It is important to seek medical attention and have the proper tests done to determine if you have a thyroid disorder. AFC Urgent Care Malden has created a guide to help you understand the symptoms, causes, and treatments of thyroid disease, so that you can take the necessary steps to preventing it and managing your health.

Causes of Thyroid Disease

In order to better understand the causes of thyroid disease, let’s first take a look at the anatomy and physiology of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland that sits in the front of the neck, just below your Adam’s apple. 

It produces the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which help regulate metabolism, heart rate, brain function, body temperature and more. The thyroid gland is controlled via the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. When the thyroid gland is producing more or less of the hormone it produces, a Thyroid condition is more than likely to occur. 

Hypothyroidism is one type of thyroid disease:

With hypothyroidism your thyroid gland can’t make enough hormones to function well.. In hypothyroidism, the gland’s hormone production slows. This, in turn, slows your metabolism, which can lead to weight gain and other symptoms. 

Hyperthyroidism is the cousin of hypothyroidism:

As its name suggests, hyperthyroidism occurs when your body makes too much of the thyroid hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), and becomes overactive. If you have hyperthyroidism, you may experience a fast heartbeat, increased appetite, anxiety, sensitivity to heat, or sudden weight loss.

Does Thyroid Disease Have Any Symptoms Or Warning Signs?

Some of the most common symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, feeling cold, sensitivity to heat and difficulty concentrating. These symptoms can be caused by many different factors, so if you experience them, you shouldn’t automatically assume you have a thyroid condition. 

If you have any of the following symptoms, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible. These could be symptoms of a thyroid condition

  • Increase in heart rate or shortness of breath 
  • Rapid or abnormal heartbeat
  • Generalized anxiety
  • Feeling hyperactive or restless
  • Feeling anxious or irritable
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Feeling hot all the time
  • Unusual sensitivity to cold
  • Weight loss or unexplained weight gain - Changes in bowel habits
  • Changes in menstruation
  • Dry, brittle hair or hair loss
  • Changes in skin, including skin texture or color

Testing for a Thyroid disease 

If you’ve been experiencing any of the symptoms above, it’s important to get tested for thyroid disease. A doctor can perform a physical exam and ask about your medical history to rule out other conditions.

They may also order blood tests to check hormone levels and look for signs of an autoimmune condition.

Life with Thyroid condition 

Living with a Thyroid isn’t impossible and for the most part, a person can live their regular life. Some changes like diet, adapting to medication and treatment is bound to happen. A thyroid condition does not disrupt any exercise routine. Exercising is recommended. 

AFC Urgent Care Malden Offers Checkups For Thyroid Disease 

Can’t get an appointment with your primary care? Don’t delay your diagnosis.AFC Urgent Care Malden can see you any day of the week to evaluate and test you for a thyroid condition. 

Our doors are open 7 days a week and we take in walk-ins as well as appointments. Our medical providers will perform a full checkup from head to toe and will administer blood work to give you the results you need. If you’re diagnosed with a thyroid condition, take it as a motivational step to get your health back on track with necessary lifestyle changes and treatments to manage your condition. 

Always here for you!  

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