January is Thyroid Awareness Month


By Sam Neace - sneace@civitasmedia.com



Courtesy photo | Thyroid awareness ribbon


HAZARD — The thyroid is a tiny gland that has a big job in terms of human health and development. Located in the front of the neck, the thyroid produces hormones that regulate metabolism and growth. Anyone can become a victim of thyroid disorders. However, thyroid disorders are four to seven times more likely to develop in women.

One motto of Thyroid Awareness Month is, “Sick and tired of being sick and tired.” This phrase is an appropriate battle cry for those fighting thyroid disease because two major symptoms of hypothyroidism, which is a condition that causes an under-active thyroid, are fatigue and illness. Hypothyroidism can also make weight loss extremely difficult regardless of the victim’s diet and exercise routine. Common signs of hypothyroidism are a weak and slow heartbeat, muscular weakness, constant fatigue, puffy or dry skin, slowed mental processes or poor memory, constipation and swelling of the thyroid gland. Treatments are available. However, early detection is key in preventing permanent bodily damage.

Hyperthyroidism is a condition, which causes the thyroid to become overly active. Victims of hyperthyroidism often suffer from these symptoms: a rapid and forceful heartbeat, tremors, muscular weakness, weight loss regardless of diet, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, profuse sweating, low heat tolerance, diarrhea and swelling of the thyroid gland.

The number of identified types of thyroid cancers has increased over the past few years. Thyroid cancer patients have a favorably high survival rate with treatment. Without treatment, thyroid cancer is deadly.

Thyroid disease is possible with children, as well as adults of all ages. Since the thyroid plays a major role in growth and metabolism, thyroid disease can drastically affect the development of a child. Children showing warning signs of thyroid disorders should see a doctor immediately.

Nearly 200 million people worldwide are victims of thyroid disorders and disease. The butterfly is often used as a symbol for thyroid awareness because the thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly. More information on thyroid related issues can be found on the American Thyroid Association’s website, thyroid.org.

Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.

Courtesy photo | Thyroid awareness ribbon
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