About the Thyroid
The thyroid is the gland that produces the hormones - triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) - that circulate in the bloodstream to control your metabolism and regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and how the body converts food to energy.
It has an impact on every cell in your body, so when thyroid problems develop, they manifest in a number of different ways.
Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid is underactive and does not produce enough of these hormones. The condition can aﬀect your energy levels, slow down many of your body’s functions including your heart rate, increase the ﬂuid around your heart, raise your cholesterol levels, and, ultimately, lead to heart failure. Taking medication to replace missing thyroid hormones may help or reverse some heart conditions, in addition to treating your other symptoms.
Know the Signs
Protect your health by discussing any potential symptoms of hypothyroidism with your primary care provider or an endocrinologist, a doctor who specializes in glandular issues and hormone imbalances. In addition to high cholesterol and a slow heart rate, some common symptoms include:
- Diﬃculty tolerating the cold
- Dry or thinning hair
- Dry skin
- Fertility issues
- Goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland)
- Irregular or heavy menstrual periods
- Joint pain
- Muscle weakness, stiﬀness or pain
- Swollen or puﬀy face
- Weight gain
Hyperthyroidism is a complex condition that can be tricky to manage. It causes your metabolism to accelerate dramatically, affecting everything from body weight to the speed of your heart. If left untreated or uncontrolled, an overactive thyroid gland can put your health at serious risk — leading to heart problems, osteoporosis, vision loss and more.
Know the Signs
Hyperthyroidism often imitates other health problems. Adding to the confusion, older adults often have no symptoms at all. Or, they may experience only a few warning signs like rapid pulse, fatigue and sensitivity to heat. The symptoms of an overactive thyroid may include:
- Anxiety, irritability and mood swings
- Unexplained weight loss
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Fatigue, muscle weakness and/or tremors
- Excessive sweating
- Increased sensitivity to heat
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased appetite
- Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter); swollen neck
- More frequent bowel movements or other digestive changes
- Menstrual changes
- Thinning of the skin
- Vision problems or eye irritation
- Fine, brittle hair
Take the next step
Discuss your thyroid health with your primary care provider. Are you looking for a new PCP? Visit www.HeartlandAnytime.com to schedule online, anytime—see who’s available and chose an appointment time that is most convenient for you. It’s that easy!