2021 is underway, and we are all hoping to see a much healthier (and honestly, just all-around better) year than 2020 proved to be. You may have resolved to make your health a top priority this year. In this blog post, we’d like to address the thyroid, as many people are not familiar with the thyroid’s purpose, though it affects almost every organ.

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid is a gland located in the neck that manages the body’s metabolism and creates new proteins. Many people are not familiar with the thyroid’s purpose, but it essentially affects almost every organ. Additionally, the thyroid is responsible for regulating skin integrity, menstrual cycles, calcium levels, and the nervous system, as well as the heart and cholesterol levels. Your thyroid affects brain development, body temperature, respiration, metabolism, and fat production. Difficulties with the thyroid occur when the thyroid gland produces too much, or not enough, hormone. 

Thyroid-Related Illnesses

There are various illnesses related to the thyroid, such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease, Graves’ disease, and thyroid cancer. Many symptoms associated with thyroid-related problems include fatigue/sluggishness, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, pale or dry skin, a puffy face, brittle nails, hair loss, enlargement of the tongue, unexplained weight gain or loss, joint pain, muscle aches/weakness, excessive menstrual bleeding, depression, and memory lapses. After looking at the various symptoms one could experience with this disease, it is evident that it affects the entire body in different ways, making regular thyroid checks extremely important.

Treatment Options for Thyroid Diseases

Treatment options are available for individuals who suffer from thyroid diseases. Hormone replacement medications are the primary form of treatment currently. Diagnosis is based on symptoms and blood work results detecting the amount of TSH and sometimes the level of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine. 

It’s a new year and time for a new, fresh start. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect that you may have a thyroid-related disease, consult your primary care physician and determine whether or not you may need treatment. Make your health a priority this year, and stay on top of your regular checkups with your doctor. Here’s to 2021!

About the Author

Chelsea Woods has a Master’s degree in special education and is an Educational Diagnostician. Her passion is children, particularly children with special needs. Chelsea has been married to her husband Dylan for 6 years, and they have two girls, Kamdyn, five, and Emersyn, one. She enjoys time with her church family, working in their garden, and taking vacations and making memories as a family.