The thyroid is a small gland in front of the neck that secretes different hormones which affects how many parts of our body function. Thyroid hormones control metabolism, which converts the food we eat into energy that is used by the different parts of the body. They also have an effect on our breathing, body temperature, and heart rate, among other things.
Certain diseases, however, may cause the thyroid gland to produce either too much amount of hormones (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism). Hashimoto’s disease and lack of iodine can cause hypothyroidism. Some of the causes of hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, are thyroiditis, consuming too much iodine, and the autoimmune condition called Graves’ disease.
People suffering from hyperthyroidism may experience increased sweating, nervousness, hand tremors, fast or irregular heartbeat, weight loss, bulging eyes, facial redness, and swollen skin. Meanwhile, those with hypothyroidism may suffer from weight gain, slow heartbeat, decreased sweating, dry skin, thinning hair, and constipation.
Both of these two conditions can also have specific symptoms on women. These include lighter and less frequent menstrual periods for hyperthyroidism and heavier and more frequent periods for hypothyroidism.
Get your thyroid checked as part of your annual health exam. Help spread awareness about thyroid diseases so that more people could be diagnosed earlier and receive appropriate treatment. And if you or someone you know has Graves’ disease, join our Living with Graves’ disease community so that you can have a safe and supportive online community.