Thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland wrapped around your windpipe and is located at the base of your neck. Despite its small size, it plays a crucial role in many of our body systems by producing important hormones which regulate functions in our brain, heart, kidneys, liver and skin.
According to American Thyroid Association, around 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease where women are, five to eight times, more likely than men to have thyroid problems. More than half of the patients are even unaware of their condition. Therefore, it is crucial to know the possible warning signs which can aid in the early detection of Thyroid disease, thereby, potentially avoiding serious health complications.
Thyroid diseases are caused by abnormal production of hormones. Some of them are mentioned below with their respective common warning signs to help you in recognizing the symptoms earlier:
This condition occurs when the gland is overactive and secretes too many hormones. This leads to many of the body’s functions to speed up. Approximately, one percent of females are affected by it and this type is less common in men.
You are more likely to get diagnosed with hyperthyroidism if you have a family history of Thyroid disease or are suffering from other medical conditions such as Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
A variety of signs that can help you in detecting it include:
- Unintentional weight loss: This can happen even though there are no changes in the daily intake of food or even an increase in food consumption
- Irritability and/or sleep disturbances
- Heart Palpitations: This causes sudden pounding of heart, fast or uneven heartbeat
- Changes in Menstrual Cycle: A woman’s period becomes irregular and lighter
- Can experience nervousness, anxiety, or irritability
- Muscle weakness
This is when the thyroid gland is underactive, that is, it doesn’t produce enough hormones. This, in turn, can slow down body functions. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states that around 5 out of 100 Americans ages 12 and above are likely to develop this condition, with women and people above the age of 60 constituting in larger number of cases.
You are more likely to develop hypothyroidism if it is a hereditary disease or you have other health problems such as pernicious anaemia or type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
- Fatigue: One feels tired more easily
- Muscle weakness
- One can experience hair loss
- Heart rate becomes slower
- Changes in Menstrual cycle: Periods become more frequent and heavier
- Increased sensitivity to cold and dry skin
This cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid gland showing up as a nodule (abnormal overgrowths of tissue) or a mass. Canadian Cancer Society estimated that in 2021, around 6,700 Canadians will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
3 of every 4 thyroid cancers are diagnosed in women. Besides gender, some other risk factors include genetics (family history of thyroid cancer), exposure to moderate levels of radiation in the neck or head area and lower consumption of iodine in one’s diet.
Initially, symptoms might not be detected, however, they become more pronounced as cancer grows by causing swelling and pain in one’s neck. The following signs can occur:
- Rapid growth of lump in the neck
- Can face trouble in breathing and swallowing
- Experiencing pain in the front of the neck which can sometimes go up to the ears
- Your voice can become hoarse
- A persistent cough (not due to a cold)
Thyroid disease can swiftly escalate into serious complications like heart disease if ignored or left untreated. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, you should visit your doctor immediately upon encountering an anomaly so that its cause can be detected and treated.
For healthcare assistance at home, give Annie’s Place a call. Our caregivers assist each patient with their own unique needs. Please do not hesitate to call us to discuss how we can help you.