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The thyroid gland manages and regulates everything from our metabolism to our growth, from our digestion to our body temperature, and more. When our thyroid malfunctions, however, these basic functions are impacted, and we feel the consequences. Hormone imbalance due to thyroid issues can increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. However, research shows about one in ten Americans, mostly women, have some form of thyroid dysfunction and don't know it.
Thyroid problem impacts on all areas of our life, but acts as a chameleon disguised as a multitude of other diseases. Early detection and treatment are especially significant, and can save our lives. At Allegheny Medical, we have an experienced nurse practitioner who focuses on hormone therapy to help you determine if you are suffering from a thyroid related hormonal imbalance. Call us at 412-494-4550 to schedule an appointment, or book an appointment online!
When the thyroid system breaks down, it can result in two disorders:
Hyperthyroidism is an excess of thyroid-produced hormone levels in the body. Too much thyroid hormone over stimulates your metabolism, resulting in fast heart rate, shaking, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, panic attacks, feeling hot, sweating, increased appetite, diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, and (for women) long and irregular menstrual cycles. Hyperthyroidism is relatively rare. In general, hyperthyroidism symptoms are dramatic enough to call attention to the condition, which is easily diagnosed.
Hypothyroidism is a deficiency of active thyroid hormone and is more insidious than its overactive counterpart. The symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weakness, weight gain, aching, constipation, and depression. These symptoms are easy for both patients and doctors to dismiss and blame on overeating, not enough sleep, and life situations or circumstances.
In addition to causing discomfort, making daily functions harder, and contributing to weight related problems, an elevation of cholesterol is one of the characteristic features of an underactive thyroid gland. The Thyroid Foundation estimates that almost 7 million Americans walk around with no idea they have an underactive thyroid that may be hiking their cholesterol and harming their hearts.
A hidden thyroid problem can thwart all your efforts to lower cholesterol with diet and exercise. And unfortunately, high cholesterol does not present with symptoms, allowing this issue to get worse over time. Regular cholesterol tests are an important part of anyone’s care plan, to help monitor for cardiac issues. It's crucial to test for thyroid failure if cholesterol numbers are high, to rule out thyroid issues as a cause.
The thyroid helps the body prepare for menstruation and has a key role in managing this cycle. A hormonal problem can cause depression, anxiety, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), tiredness, irritability, insomnia, menstrual irregularities, painful periods, and headaches. In addition to causing troublesome symptoms that affect a woman's day-to-day quality of life, estrogen dominance can increase the risk for breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, infertility, and uterine cancer.
Depending on an individual’s medical history, the recommended age for their initial screening can be anywhere from 40 to 50, as well as at pregnancy or after delivery. Risk factors for mild thyroid failure:
Additionally, the link between high cholesterol and thyroid disease is so strong, it makes even more sense to get your thyroid checked along with your cholesterol as part of your heart health care and management.