Health Facts: Trishanna Sookdeo column

Health Facts: Trishanna Sookdeo column

Painless neck swelling? Palpitations? Poor mood? It might be your thyroid gland

 

The thyroid gland is an endocrine organ found in the front of your neck. It secretes thyroid hormones that regulate your body’s metabolism. An overactive thyroid gland can cause your body’s function to speed up and function erratically. Hyperthyroidism can affect your behavior, emotions, and physical health. Symptoms can vary from person to person. They include:

  • Irritability or nervousness
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Heat intolerance
  • Excessive sweating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Hand tremors
  • Rapid and irregular heartbeat
  • Frequent bowel movements or diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Goiter (enlarged thyroid, causing neck swelling)
  • Thinning hair
  • Brittle nails
  • Irregular menstrual periods that are less frequent and lighter

Causes of hyperthyroidism include Graves’ disease, the presence of overactive thyroid nodules, thyroiditis or thyroid infection, consumption of too much iodine, and taking too much synthetic thyroid hormone.

Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. It is characterized by a painless goiter, and skin and eye problems. Your fingers can become wider at the tips while the nails become thick and lift off. One might notice lumpy red skin on the shins and the tops of both feet and both eyes being bulging and red.

If you are concerned about your thyroid function, a visit to your primary care physician is advised. During this visit, you likely will discuss your symptoms, have a physical examination, and undergo a thyroid panel, which is blood test.

FACTS

  • Hyperthyroidism is more common in women.
  • Hyperthyroidism can cause some men to stop producing sperm, causing temporary infertility.
  • Breast enlargement is considered a sign of hyperthyroidism in men.
  • Studies show that Graves’ disease is more likely to occur in people who smoke.

Dr. Trishanna Sookdeo is a board-certified physician who has a Master’s in Public Health. She cares for the whole family, ages 3 days and up. Should you have any questions or wish to schedule an appointment, call 863-419-2420, Ext. 2, and ask for Dr. Sookdeo.

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