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January is National Thyroid Awareness Month – You’ve heard of the thyroid, but do you know what it does?

The thyroid gland is a large, butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that releases hormones responsible for metabolism. This important gland is located in front of your throat below the “Adam’s apple” or larynx.

The thyroid is responsible for two main hormones:

  • Triiodothyronine (T3)
  • Thyroxine (T4)

  Why is any of this important?

Using your blood stream, T3 & T4 travel to your cells to help regulate the speed that your metabolism works. (Metabolism is simply the way your body uses energy.) These hormones help to regulate functions such as breathing, heart rate, body temperature, body weight and more.

If your levels of T3 & T4 are too high, this is known as hyperthyroidism. Symptoms may include:

  • Nervousness or hyperactivity
  • Sweating or increased sensitivity to heat and high temperatures
  • Hair loss
  • Shaking or trembling, especially in the hands
  • Irritability or moodiness
  • Anxiety

On the other hand, when T3 & T4 levels are too low (hypothyroidism,) you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Excessive fatigue or tiredness
  • Increased sensitivity to cold temperatures
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Dry skin & hair

There are several types of tests your doctor can order if they are concerned about your thyroid hormone levels or any symptoms you may be experiencing. They may also refer you to an endocrinologist – a specialist in glands and the hormones they produce.

Looking for a highly trained endocrinologist? Dr. Sumbul Ali, MD is a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the Endocrine Society and the American Medical Association. To read more or schedule an appointment, click here.

 

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Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279388/

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diagnostic-tests/thyroid#whatis

https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid-nodules/thyroid-gland-controls-bodys-metabolism-how-it-works-symptoms-hyperthyroi

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