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January is Thyroid Awareness Month

January is Thyroid Awareness MonthAre you feeling sluggish, tired or depressed? Have you noticed your nails are brittle and your hair feels like straw?

Sleepless nights and fatigue overcome you. Last but least those extra 10 pounds you have been trying to lose will not leave, instead you see the numbers on the scale keep rising. It may be time to have your thyroid checked.

Many people do not know about the thyroid and what its main function is in the body. The thyroid is a small butterfly gland located in the lower part of your neck. The function of the thyroid is to secrete hormones throughout your body. You may hear these hormones called T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). These hormones are responsible for delivering energy to your cells.

Thyroid conditions are classified under categories. These categories are:

Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid is under-active. Symptoms of an under active thyroid include a slowed down metabolism which can include weight gain, fatigue, depression, thinning hair and brittle nails are just some. One of the most common causes of hypothyroidism is the autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s disease. This happens when the antibodies attack the thyroid and destroy the ability for the thyroid to produce hormones.

Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid gland becomes overactive. The most common cause associated with hyperthyroidism is the autoimmune condition called graves disease. This is the opposite of hypothyroidism. Antibodies target the thyroid, which in turn causes the speeding up of releasing hormones. Symptoms include weight loss, fatigue, rapid heart rate, increased bowel movements, nervousness are just a few.

Another cause of hyperthyroidism is called thyroiditis. This is known as inflammation of the thyroid. Any type of viral or bacterial infection can cause thyroiditis.

When a thyroid becomes enlarged it is known as a Goiter. These thyroid nodules can be cancerous and non cancerous. Nodules can be solid or liquid filled cysts, lumps and tumors. A small percent of these can be cancerous causing the removal of the thyroid.

If you feel you have any of these symptoms you should speak to your doctor. Your doctor will send you for blood work to determine your TSH levels. A TSH under 0.5 indicates hyperthyroidism and a TSH level over 0.5 indicate hypothyroidism. Whether low or high medication will be given to regulate your thyroid.

For an under active thyroid a person will be given a synthetic thyroid hormone called Synthroid or Levothyroid. Propylthiouracil and Pethimazole (Tapazole) are used on a person who has an overactive thyroid. It can take anywhere form six to twelve weeks to start seeing some improvement. Blood tests will be taken again to see if the medication is the right dosage or should be adjusted.

Along with medication, a healthy diet and exercise regimen is essential. Some foods will counteract with your medication and your thyroid. Some of these foods are raw cruciferous vegetables like brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and kale, rutabaga, turnips, and bok choy. Soy products like soymilk, tofu, soybeans and soy sauce should be avoided. A brisk walk twenty minutes a day, at least three times a week will help you to build up a strong mind and body.

Remember January is thyroid awareness month. If you think you may be experiencing a thyroid condition don’t wait speak to you doctor about your symptoms so you can get your thyroid under control.

Interim Healthcare of Leesburg, LLC.
352-326-0400
www.interimhealthcare.com/leesburg

Interim Healthcare of Ocala, LLC.
352-351-5040
www.interimhealthcare.com/ocala

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