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What Is Your Thyroid Responsible For?
Your thyroid is a gland that is responsible for balancing and releasing hormones that control your metabolic rate (metabolism). Located in the neck, the thyroid is part of your endocrine system and regulates how energy is processed and exerted in your body. As energy is needed for all bodily functions and processes, your thyroid gland working effectively is key to maintaining good health.
What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a term used for an underactive thyroid, where the gland doesn’t produce enough hormones your body requires. It is more commonly found in women, however, you or anyone can develop an underactive thyroid and at any age, even children and babies. Common symptoms include tiredness, weight gain, mental health problems (eg depression), muscle aches and dry skin and hair.
Individuals with hypothyroidism have a higher risk of developing other diseases such as high cholesterol and heart disease.
What is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism refers to an overactive thyroid, where the thyroid gland produces too many hormones. Again, this is more common in women but can still affect anyone, more commonly presenting symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40. Symptoms include, weight loss, changes in mental health (eg anxiety), trembling, heart palpations, irregular periods, infertility and swelling in the neck.
Hyperthyroidsm can be a result of autoimmune conditions such as Grave’s disease, nodules on the thyroid and some medications
The general practitioner might suggest periodic follow-up blood tests to monitor if you eventually develop hypothyroidism.
Additionally, blood tests can be used for other purposes, like measuring the hormone triiodothyronine levels, although this is not commonly done as standard practice.