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29 Jan

Thyroid Awareness

Thyroid Awareness

January is Thyroid Awareness Month! The American Thyroid Association (ATA) has two goals throughout the month. The first is to educate the public with helpful resources regarding the treatment and cure of thyroid-related diseases. The second goal is to further develop the processes of managing, researching, and providing patient centered care surrounding these diseases throughout health care teams.

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that is located in your neck. Its function is to produce hormones that prompt cells to perform functions at specific rates. When the thyroid isn’t working properly, it can lead to many different symptoms that can be challenging and confusing to deal with. 

Some common symptoms of LOW thyroid levels are:

  • Cold hands/feet
  • Dry skin
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Feeling tired
  • Constipation

While some common symptoms of HIGH thyroid levels are:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loose bowels/diarrhea
  • Vision issues
  • Difficulty swallowing (due to lump on neck)

How common is thyroid disease?

Surprisingly enough, thyroid disease is common in the United States. As many as 20 million Americans live with thyroid disease and have to manage the symptoms on a daily basis. The scariest part of all is that 60% of these people do not even know they have the disease, which is where you and your health care team can play a major role!! 

Why you should consider a thyroid evaluation:

  • Family History
    • One of the first places to look for signs of thyroid disease is your own family tree
    • If you have a parent, sibling, or child with thyroid disease you should be evaluated
  • Prescription medications
    • Certain presciption medications can put you at a highger risk 
      • Lithium
      • Amiodorane
  • Radiation therapy
    • If you have had any of these raditation therpaies, you would benefit from an evaluation
      • Radiation therapy for your tonsils
      • Radiation therapy for acne 

 

For more information, visit: https://www.thyroid.org/january-thyroid-awareness/

By: Mitchell Kincaid and Anthony Walrath, PharmD Candidate 2018