Thyroid disease: Common and treatable

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The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, just above your collarbone that produces hormones to control the rate of many activities in your body. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, just above your collarbone that produces hormones to control the rate of many activities in your body. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Thyroid problems are common. Nearly 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Thyroid problems are common. Nearly 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

By Dr. Thompson

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, just above your collarbone that produces hormones to control the rate of many activities in your body. 

Some of these activities include how fast you burn calories; your body weight, heartbeat, body temperature and menstrual bleeding.

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Thyroid problems are common. Nearly 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease.

Thyroid problems are more common in women than men and one in eight women will develop a thyroid problem in her lifetime. 

There are two main types of thyroid diseases: overactive thyroid—hyperthyroidism and underactive thyroid—hypothyroidism. 

In the most common thyroid diseases, an individual’s own antibodies attack the thyroid and causing it to be overactive (Grave’s disease) or underactive (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis).

A simple blood test is the first step in checking for problems with thyroid function.

You should consult your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Excessive fatigue
  • Poor tolerance to cold temperatures
  • Intellectual ability worsens
  • Deeper, hoarse voice
  • Irregular menstrual periods or lack of menstrual periods
  • New onset insomnia
  • Hand tremors
  • Losing weight despite normal or increased appetite
  • Excessive sweating
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Eyes seem to be enlarging
  • A sudden change in bowel habits—constipation or diarrhea

Fortunately, although the effects can be unpleasant or uncomfortable, most thyroid problems can be managed well if properly diagnosed and treated.

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