Medical Monday: Thyroid Awareness Month

Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 12:57 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - January is Thyroid Awareness Month. Dr. Brian Adrian, Primary Care Physician at the Northern Light Fort Fairfield Health Center explains the symptoms to be aware of that might indicate hypo or hyperthyroidism.

Dr. Adrian says, “For low thyroid, it’s fatigue, hair and skin changes, uh bowel changes with low appetite and constipation. Those in combination are pretty good hallmarks for that. On the flip side high thyroid, hyperthyroidism it’s the gradual onset of um feeling irritable, a tremor, fast heart rate, sweating that’s unexpected um, and having maybe, uh lesser appetite but more diarrhea or other bowel changes. Again, it’s the combination that we look for and that helps us determine, um whether it’s a thyroid issue or it may be related to something else.”

Dr. Adrian says there are issues that can happen if you leave your thyroid condition untreated.

“If people’s thyroid hormone becomes too low that literally turns the body’s thermostat down and for lack of a better term can stop bodily function. True severe hypothyroidism is a life-threatening condition. On the other side, hyperthyroidism can also be very important to treat. The thyroid controls the rhythm and the pace of nearly every bodily function. And so people with very high levels of thyroid hormone can have very high heart rates, palpitations, difficulty breathing, and typically and can lead to potentially a heart attack. So, it’s very important to get these conditions treated and maintain the medication treatment after that.” according to Dr. Adrian

Dr. Adrian gives us one last word of advice. “If an individual is experiencing any of these symptoms whether it’s high thyroid or low thyroid. It is better and more appropriate to go talk to your doctor. Do it earlier than later. Because recognition and subsequent diagnosis of whatever is causing those symptoms can be addressed at an earlier stage and generally through more effective needs.”