The thyroid is a gland in your body that can impact your health in many ways, from metabolism regulation to brain development. Since it performs many important functions, any issues with the thyroid can be cause for concern. If you suspect you may be experiencing thyroid issues, it’s important to speak with your medical provider and have tests done to help pinpoint the problem. Here is some important information about the thyroid to help you observe Thyroid Awareness Month.
What You Should Know About Your Thyroid Before Speaking With Your Medical Provider
What the Thyroid Does
The thyroid gland is located at the base of the neck and is part of your body’s endocrine system. It produces two hormones, thyroxine or T4, and triiodothyronine or T3, that serve many functions in your body. They’re mainly known for supporting the chemical processes that break down your food, supporting a healthy metabolism. However, they also impact your body temperature, heart rate, cholesterol levels, and respiratory function.
How to Tell Whether Your Thyroid Is Functioning Properly
Most people have healthy thyroid function, but many do develop thyroid issues at some point, especially women after pregnancy or menopause. If you’re dealing with weight issues or fatigue, those could be early signs of a thyroid problem. Speak with your medical provider to determine if any laboratory testing needs to be performed. This may include a TSH test, or thyroid stimulating hormone test; this is a blood test that measures the level of hormones that your thyroid produces. Your doctor may also order a T4 lab screening that detects abnormally high or low thyroxine hormone levels in your blood, which can also be an indication of thyroid disfunction.
Common Thyroid Issues
If you’re gaining weight and feeling a bit sluggish, it could be what’s known as hypothyroidism. This is when your thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones to maintain a healthy metabolism. On the other end of the spectrum, your thyroid may produce too much of these hormones, which is called hyperthyroidism. Symptoms include weight loss, weakness, and irritability. Thyroid glands can also swell or develop growths, which can cause discomfort.
If you’re experiencing any of these issues with your thyroid or want to make sure yours is working properly, contact the professionals at Hillside Family Medicine in Anchorage, AK. This medical provider offers a wide array of health care services, from wellness exams and pediatric care to lab tests and osteopathic adjustments. The award-winning facility has been serving area residents for more than 20 years, and the team works hard to provide the best possible care to every patient. You can find new patient registration forms online, or call (907) 344-0200 to schedule an appointment.