February is not just all about Valentine’s Day, chocolates and hearts. It’s also focuses on awareness of a butterfly-shaped hormone gland known as the thyroid. The thyroid has the difficult task of controlling your metabolism, growth, development, and body temperature. The thyroid gland is located on the throat and wraps around the windpipe. The presence of too much or too little thyroid hormone is determined by a blood test. So how will you know if you have an over or underactive thyroid and why would it happen?
There are many ways thyroid function to be affected, including the body attacking itself or cancers. Graves disease is an autoimmune disease that causes an increase in thyroid hormone. Overactive thyroid causes symptoms like more frequent bowel movements, feeling anxious, increased body temperature and sweating, loss of hair, increased heartbeat, and weight loss even with having increased appetite. It can also affect the menstrual cycle by causing lighter, shorter periods. It also possible to develop a goiter which is an enlarged thyroid gland. This condition is usually treated with medication to block the stimulation of the thyroid, removal of the thyroid, or radioactive iodine to help shutdown overactive thyroid cells. Many of these procedures end up causing patients to have an underactive thyroid that has to be treated with medication.