Even though your thyroid is just a small gland located near the base of your neck, its importance to your bodily functions cannot be overstated. The thyroid’s basic functions affect many of your larger organs, such as the liver, heart, brain, kidneys, and even your skin. A healthy, properly functioning thyroid is vitally important to your overall wellbeing.
That’s why January is dedicated to Thyroid Awareness Month. Learn the signs of a complication with your thyroid, and how to get regular checkups to prevent various types of thyroid disease.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, and especially if you have several at once, it is definitely time to visit your doctor to have your thyroid function checked.
- Constant fatigue
- Weight gain
- Fluid retention
- Dry, itchy skin
- Dry, brittle hair and nails
- Sensitivity to cold
- Muscle or joint pain
- Slow pulse
- High cholesterol
- Increased sensitivity to medication
Often, a combination of the above symptoms can indicate an underactive thyroid, or other problems with the gland. In many cases medication can reverse the condition and improve symptoms, but early detection and treatment is more effective. Your doctor will monitor you regularly, to determine whether your thyroid function has improved. Your medication might be adjusted periodically to keep you healthy.
In some cases a problem with the thyroid can indicate thyroid cancer. As we know, early detection of cancer leads to a better outcome, so don’t wait. If you suspect a problem with your thyroid, make an appointment with your doctor right away to discuss your concerns.