We probably know at least one person with a thyroid disorder so it’s an important topic to discuss and be aware of.
Our thyroid is a small butterfly shaped gland at the base of our neck in front of our trachea, that helps to regulate our metabolism.
Most of the time we not even aware of our thyroid carrying out its important work in our body, however, sometimes it can become over active, known as hyperthyroidism, or more commonly under active, known as hypothyroidism. These disorders occur in both men and women but are much more common in women. Statistics from the UK show that it affects 15 in every 1,000 women and 1 in 1,000 men.
If your thyroid is underactive, these are some of the symptoms you may notice:
A slow heart rate
Being sensitive to the cold
These are very common and general symptoms which we may have all felt at some point, and there are a host of other conditions which may cause us to experience these symptoms. It is however important to rule out or confirm a thyroid disorder with a simple blood test, because untreated, thyroid disorders can lead to further difficulties can lead to cholesterol abnormalities and can affect the heart and mind. An under active thyroid can be easily managed by supplementing with a thyroid supplement, and the symptoms will then start to resolve.
Usually if a thyroid is under active it is something permanent and management is generally lifelong. Monitoring the thyroid function with blood tests is vital, at least once a year but more often if the medication needs stabilising and every 6-8 weeks after any dosage change.
Conversely, If your thyroid gland is over active you may notice symptoms which are opposite to those above:
Intolerance to heat
Again, it’s very important and only requires a simple blood test to diagnose. Treatment is slightly different but also aims to bring the thyroid hormones into balance and regulate them.
If you notice any of these symptoms then please call us to make an appointment to have your thyroid tested.
Contributor, Dr Susan Ford, GP at FEMINA HEALTH