“An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Up to 60 percent (are) unaware of their condition. Women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems. One woman in eight will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime.” ~ American Thyroid Association
For such a small gland, the thyroid gland has an immense impact on our health. Consider just some of the things that the thyroid hormone affects:
– cholesterol levels
– heart rate
– body weight
– energy levels and mood
– muscle contraction and relaxation
– skin and hair texture
– bowel function
– menstrual regularity
Given its broad scope of responsibilities, it’s hardly a surprise that many things can go awry when the thyroid isn’t properly functioning. A thyroid problem is directly related to hormone production – conditions known as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is the name given to an underactive thyroid. This disorder of the endocrine system is defined by low levels of thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism can cause numerous symptoms, including constipation, fatigue, depression, and weight gain.
Hyperthyroidism is characterized by the overproduction of thyroid hormone. An overactive thyroid can significantly accelerate the body’s metabolic functions. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include irregular heartbeat, nervousness and irritability, heart palpitations, and sudden weight loss.
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