Thyroid Disease

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The thyroid is a small gland, shaped like a butterfly in the middle of the lower neck. The thyroid’s primary function is to control the body’s metabolism. A properly functioning thyroid will maintain the right amount of hormones to regulate how much energy the cells use to function optimally. While anyone can get thyroid disease, women are more likely than men to have thyroid problems.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid produces too much hormone and the body uses energy faster than it should.

The following are symptoms for hyperthyroidism:

  • Irritability/nervousness
  • Muscle weakness/tremors
  • Infrequent, scant menstrual periods
  • Weight loss
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Vision problems or eye irritation
  • Heat sensitivity

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormone and the body uses energy slower than it should.

The following are symptoms for hypothyroidism:

  • Fatigue
  • Frequent, heavy menstrual periods
  • Forgetfulness
  • Weight gain
  • Dry, coarse skin and hair
  • Hoarse voice
  • Intolerance to cold 

Thyroid diseases are life-long conditions. Treatment is available to help patients manage hormone levels in the blood. With treatment, people with thyroid disease can live healthy, normal lives.

Consult your family physician or endocrinologist if you have symptoms of thyroid disease. If you need a physician, consult the physician search or call Hunterdon Medical Center’s Physician Referral Service at 1-800-511-4462.

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