January is National Thyroid Awareness Month

Thyroid disorders can wreak havoc on your health, but are treatable.

Thyroid disorders can wreak havoc on your health, but are treatable.

By far, the most common New Year’s resolution in America and perhaps worldwide is to lose weight. But if you’ve had trouble reaching your weight loss goals year after year, it may be something other than your will power that’s to blame. January is National Thyroid Awareness Month, and a top related issue just happens to be hypothyroidism-related weight gain.

Your thyroid is a large, ductless gland in the neck that secretes hormones responsible for regulating growth and development via your metabolism rate. Two primary thyroid disorders are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, both of which can affect your overall health.

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland fails to make enough thyroid hormones, upsetting the normal balance of chemical reactions in your body. Symptoms can take years to appear and most notably include weight gain that cannot otherwise be explained. Despite cutting calories and exercising, the pounds just keep piling on. This can further compound other symptoms including depression, fatigue, constipation, hair loss, constantly feeling cold and irregular menstrual cycles in women.

The flip side of this coin is hyperthyroidism, caused by the thyroid gland producing more thyroid hormones than the body needs. Common symptoms include otherwise unexplained weight loss, diarrhea, palpitations, feeling anxious or jittery, trouble sleeping, excessive sweating, feeling hot and, as with hypothyroidism, irregular periods in women.

“Thyroid disorders are sometimes hard to diagnose, because symptoms of over-active and under-active thyroid may be similar to those associated with aging, depression or other life changing events,” said Zeeshan S. Aziz, MD, a thyroid specialist with St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat. He noted that women are up to five times more likely than men to have a thyroid condition.

The good news is that multiple treatment options exist for hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, including anti-thyroid medication, radioactive iodine and or surgery. If you’re experiencing symptoms that you suspect may be the result of a thyroid condition, call 904-461-6060 and schedule a consultation with St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat today.

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism & Hypothyroidism

If you've experienced unexplained weight gain, your thyroid could be to blame.

If you’ve experienced unexplained weight gain, your thyroid could be to blame.

Known as the “great regulator of mind and body,” the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that produces hormones credited with controlling metabolism, the system that helps the body use energy. But when your thyroid goes into overdrive, producing too little or too much hormone, it can wreak havoc on your body and health.

When your thyroid gland produces too much hormone, it’s called hyperthyroidism, while a low level of the same hormone is referred to as hypothyroidism. Symptoms of each include…

Hyperthyroidism:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Sped-up heart rate
  • Feelings of anxiety, irritability, restlessness or trouble sleeping
  • Excessive sweating or an aversion to heat
  • Muscle weakness or trembling hands
  • Vision problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Irregular menstrual periods

Hypothyroidism:

  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Fatigue or feelings of depression
  • Feeling cold
  • Dry skin and brittle nails
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands
  • Constipation
  • Abnormal menstrual periods

Additionally, hair loss or swelling in the neck can be caused by either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Both issues tend to affect women more than men, and hypothyroidism is particularly common among women over 60. Other risk factors include a family history or personal history of either issue, or any autoimmune disease.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, treatment is critical. Contact St. Augustine Ear, Nose and Throat at 904-461-6060 to schedule an appointment with our Thyroid Specialist, Dr. Zeeshan Aziz.