Thyroid disease is a common condition, affecting an estimated 20 million Americans. Your thyroid is a small gland in your neck that produces hormones vital for bodily functions like metabolism and heart rate.
This disease occurs when your thyroid makes too little or too much of the hormones. Hypothyroidism is the term for too little production of the hormones, while hyperthyroidism develops when your thyroid makes too much.
Thyroid imbalance affects more women than men, with nearly 1 in 8 women experiencing thyroid disease at some point in her life. The condition comes with a variety of symptoms, from weight fluctuation and fatigue to menstrual irregularity and more.
For comprehensive thyroid care, come to Terry Baker, MD, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Dr. Baker is an expert in thyroid conditions, and our team is here to help you understand thyroid imbalance and how it’s affecting your body.
How hypothyroidism affects your body
Your thyroid doesn’t make enough hormones if you have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Changes in your body often develop slowly with hypothyroidism and may not be noticeable at first. Over time, symptoms can get more severe as the hormone deficiency increases.
Common symptoms of hypothyroidism often include:
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Dry skin
- Muscle weakness or aches
- Thinning hair
- Irregular or heavy menstrual periods
- Sensitivity to cold
- Slowed heart rate
Hypothyroidism is most common in women over the age of 60, but it also commonly develops during or after pregnancy. A family history of hypothyroidism also increases your risk.
How hyperthyroidism affects your body
Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) occurs when your thyroid makes too much of certain hormones. Because thyroid hormones control metabolism, hyperthyroidism often causes weight loss and rapid heartbeat.
The signs of hyperthyroidism can appear like other heart conditions, and often include:
- Weight loss, even when diet and exercise habits don’t change
- Rapid or pounding heartbeat
- Irregular heartbeat
- Increased appetite
- Sensitivity to heat
- Changes in menstrual patterns
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty sleeping
Like hypothyroidism, women are more likely to develop hyperthyroidism than men. A family history of hyperthyroidism may put you at increased risk as well.
When you visit Dr. Baker for thyroid imbalance, he diagnoses your condition through a comprehensive exam that includes bloodwork. He reviews your symptoms with you to help you find the best long-term treatment option for your body and your lifestyle.
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are two of the most common types of thyroid imbalance, but they’re not the only ones. Other thyroid conditions that Dr. Baker treats include:
- Parathyroid conditions
- Thyroid nodules and cysts
- Thyroid cancer
Patients with hypothyroidism often take medication to increase the hormone levels in their thyroid to address symptoms of thyroid imbalance.
If you have hyperthyroidism, Dr. Baker often recommends antithyroid medication to limit the amount of hormone your thyroid produces. Radioactive iodine is another common treatment option for hyperthyroidism.
Do some of the symptoms above sound familiar? You might have a thyroid imbalance. For a professional diagnosis and expert treatment options, make an appointment with Dr. Baker by calling our office today.