The thyroid, a gland found in your neck, controls ways your body uses energy and its sensitivity to hormones by producing its own hormones. These are crucial because they are responsible for the metabolic activity of our cells.
It is important to have your thyroid examined each year because health problems can occur when the thyroid gland is not active enough, called hypothyroidism. While an under active thyroid is more common, one that is too active, called hyperthyroidism can also lead to serious issues.
Thyroid problems tend to run in families and women are affected more often than men. Some things to watch out for include:
• Weight gain or loss that varies for each person
• Irregular bowel habits
• Sleep issues
• Dry brittle hair or fingernails
• High blood pressure
• Always feeling hot or cold
• Hair loss
• Water retention
• Elevated cholesterol
• Muscle and joint pain
If you suspect you may have a thyroid problem or have a family history of thyroid issues, see your doctor. A simple blood test called the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is how we measure thyroid function.
And, even if you don’t suspect serious thyroid concerns, it’s a good idea to ask your doctor to check your thyroid as part of a regular visit.