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Medical Monday Thyroid Awareness Month

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 2:57 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - January is thyroid awareness month and health professionals are taking the opportunity to get information out about possible issues. It’s this weeks Medical Monday.

The thyroid is a gland in your neck that produces hormones and controls how the body uses and stores energy.

Samantha Paradis, a nurse practitioner at Northern Light AR Gould says, “Many thyroid conditions are hereditary, and so if someone in your family has had thyroid issues, then you’d want to let your provider know that.”

Paradis says there are typically three conditions that are often seen in people when their thyroid is not functioning correctly, hypothyroidism, where your thyroid isn’t performing at a normal rate, hyperthyroidism, where your thyroid is producing too much of a hormone and thyroid nodules or solid or fluid filled lumps that for within your thyroid. “More often than not, hypothyroidism is happening more than hyperthyroidism. Some people will have no symptoms at all, but most people will feel tired and it can make this condition hard to diagnose because a lot of conditions make people tired. But some other symptoms associated with hypothyroidism could include getting cold easily, having thin or course hair, becoming constipated, or heart palpitations.” says Paradis.

For hyperthyroidism, symptoms include anxiety, irritability, trouble sleeping, feeling sweaty, palpitations or uneven heartbeat and weight loss. While Paradis says thyroid nodules can cause trouble sleeping, feeling tired, weight loss and having a fast heart beat.

According to Paradis, “it’s pretty serious, if you do have something going on with your thyroid that you have it evaluated. And you can do that by having a blood test called a TSH and then having that monitored frequently. When you’re first started on treatment it may be another six to eight weeks because it can take a little while for that medicine to work. But the thyroid can effect most body systems, so it’s an important part of the body.”

Paradis adds most thyroid conditions are treated by medications. If you do suspect you are having an issue with your thyroid, Paradis encourages letting your healthcare provider know, as hospitals are no longer doing routine thyroid lab checks as preventative care. The test is only given if there is an indication that the issue might be connected to the thyroid.

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