National Thyroid Awareness Month

Raising awareness about the thyroid is essential because it plays a very significant role in the human body. Now is the time to be examined and tested by your doctor.

January is National Thyroid Awareness Month, which reminds us to pay attention to the health problems related to the thyroid gland. It is crucial to understand the significance of this gland and be aware of the signs of trouble. This month provides an opportunity to discuss the conditions and symptoms of thyroid disease, the importance of diagnosis and treatment, and the various challenges individuals with thyroid problems face daily.

The Importance of the Thyroid Gland

The thyroid gland is a small but mighty organ that produces hormones. These hormones have a crucial role in regulating the proper functioning of almost every organ in the body. For instance, they help to regulate the menstrual cycle, maintain skin integrity, control calcium levels, and regulate the nervous system and cholesterol levels. Additionally, thyroid hormones play a vital role in controlling brain development, body temperature, metabolism, respiration, and fat production..

There are many illnesses and diseases related to the thyroid, including:

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    Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
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    Graves’ disease
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    Thyroid cancer
National Thyroid Awareness Month

What is hyperthyroidism?

This condition is also known as overactive thyroid disease, and it occurs when your thyroid gland produces excess levels of thyroxine. This hormone controls and regulates several metabolic and digestive processes in your body. Additionally, this type of thyroid disease significantly increases your body’s metabolism, digestion, heart rate, muscle works, and bone strength, eventually causing rapid weight loss and an irregular heartbeat.

Some interesting facts about hyperthyroidism:

  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), weight loss, anxiety, and irritability are hallmark symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
  • Graves’ disease, the most common form of hyperthyroidism, results from an autoimmune response affecting the thyroid gland.
  • In some cases, hyperthyroidism can lead to a condition called thyrotoxic crisis, a severe, life-threatening exacerbation of symptoms requiring immediate medical attention.

What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism means having an under-active thyroid. Contrary to hyperthyroidism, this condition occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Some of the effects of hypothyroidism’s deficiency of thyroid hormones are disruption of the heart rate, increased body temperature, and slow down in all aspects of metabolism. Significant symptoms include fatigue, cold sensitivity, constipation, dry skin, and unexplained weight gain.

Thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer begins when cells grow and multiply rapidly near the thyroid area. These malignant cells form tumors, and the abnormal cells can eventually spread throughout the body. In most cases, there are no early symptoms. However, as the cells grow, they may cause a small lump in the neck, swollen lymph glands, voice changes, and difficulty swallowing. Most cases of thyroid cancer can be cured and treated with surgery to remove the affected area or, in some cases, all of the thyroids. Medications are needed to provide necessary hormones that the thyroid is no longer supplied.

Thyroid Facts and Statistics in the US

  • Thyroid diseases affect a significant portion of the American population, with approximately 20 million people suffering from some form of thyroid disorder.

  • Among these cases, about 60% are unaware of their condition.

  • Women are more susceptible to thyroid disorders, with estimates suggesting that women are five to eight times more likely than men to experience thyroid problems.

  • The most prevalent thyroid disorders include hypothyroidism, affecting about 5% of the population, and hyperthyroidism, impacting nearly 1.2% of Americans.

  • Thyroid cancer rates have been steadily increasing, becoming one of the most rapidly diagnosed cancers in recent years.

  • Autoimmune thyroid diseases, such as Graves’ and Hashimoto’s, are the leading causes of thyroid dysfunction.

Thyroid diseases, including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiter, thyroid nodules, and thyroid cancer, are all considered Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs). NCDs are long-term health conditions that progress slowly and are not transmitted from person to person.

National Thyroid Awareness Month

Observing National Thyroid Awareness Month

Thyroid awareness month can be observed through these actions:

Our dedicated registered nurses are ready to assist you in addressing any concerns or queries regarding thyroid health or other healthcare needs. Feel free to reach out to us at any time for guidance and support.

Let’s unite in spreading awareness and taking proactive steps toward better understanding, preventing, and managing thyroid diseases during National Thyroid Awareness Month in 2024.

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