Article: Are you one of the 25 million?

2776c70140748855789bd91bd359fc8eThyroid Facts

Thyroid disease affects the health and productivity of millions of Americans, particularly women and the elderly.

• Thyroid hormones are key regulators of metabolism and affect the rate of nutrient consumption of every cell, tissue, and organ in the body.

• Over 13 million Americans are currently under treatment for thyroid dysfunction.

• An additional 12 million are estimated to have unrecognized thyroid dysfunction.

• Conditions of both thyroid over-activity (also known as hyperthyroidism) and under-activity (hypothyroidism) are five times more common in women than in men.

hh• Undetected hypothyroidism in pregnant women increases the risk of miscarriage, pregnancy complications, and childhood learning disabilities.

• Six percent of U.S. women develop a thyroid problem in the year following pregnancy.

• Thyroid dysfunction is both more common and harder to recognize in the elderly. The implications of thyroid disease are far-reaching as the thyroid gland produces hormones that influence cells throughout the body. Numerous aspects of a patient’s health are affected by thyroid disease, so being able to effectively treat and care for the thyroid is critical.

What Are the Symptoms of Thyroid Problems?

The symptoms of hyperthyroidism, in which the body produces too many thyroid hormones, may include:

Weight loss, despite increased appetite

Increased heart rate, heart palpitations, higher blood pressure, nervousness, and excessive perspiration

More frequent bowel movements, sometimes with diarrhea

Muscle weakness, trembling hands

Development of a goiter (an enlargement in your neck)

Lighter or shorter menstrual periods

The symptoms of hypothyroidism, in which the body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones, may include:

Lethargy, slower mental processes or depression

Reduced heart rate

Increased sensitivity to cold

Tingling or numbness in the hands

Development of a goiter (an enlargement in your neck)

Constipation, heavy menstrual periods, or dry skin and hair

Subacute thyroiditis:

Mild to severe pain in the thyroid gland

The thyroid feels tender to the touch

Pain or discomfort when swallowing or turning your head

Appearance of these symptoms shortly after a viral infection, such as the flu, mumps, or measles. (WebMD)

images eeeNovel formulations of levothyroxine are in testing that make it easier to take with other medications, and this would particularly facilitate the regimen for elderly patients prescribed multiple medications. In addition, studies are underway to improve identification of women at risk for postpartum thyroiditis and its associated postpartum depression.


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