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More than 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. However, an estimated 60 percent of people are unaware they have a problem with their thyroid. The thyroid is a small gland, but when it comes to your health, plays a big role. The butterfly-shaped thyroid sits inside your throat, just under your voice box. Small in size, this gland plays a major part in several bodily functions, including your metabolism. 

Your thyroid makes two hormones — T3 and T4. These hormones regulate the speed at which your cells work. Too much of these hormones, and you may find yourself with a pounding heart, sudden weight fluctuations, and feeling exhausted all the time.

As we observe National Thyroid Awareness Month this January,
let’s take time to understand the most common thyroid diseases and their symptoms. 

Hyperthyroidism 

When the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine (T4), this is hyperthyroidism. Hyper, of course, means overactive, which describes what is happening to your thyroid. It drives your body’s metabolism into high speed, which may lead to unexpected weight loss and rapid or irregular heart palpitations. 

Other hyperthyroidism symptoms include:

  • Nervousness, anxiety, and irritability
  • Increased appetite
  • Changes in menstrual patterns
  • Increased sensitivity to heat
  • Thinning skin
  • Fine, brittle hair
  • Trembling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Problems sleeping
  • Irregular bowel movements
  • Goiter – swelling at the neck from an enlarged thyroid

If not treated, hyperthyroidism can lead to other health problems, including:

Graves’ Disease – This autoimmune disorder is a common cause of hyperthyroidism. A classic symptom of Graves’ disease is that the tissues and muscles behind the eyes swell, which makes the eyes bulge or protrude. 

Osteoporosis – Too much thyroid hormone can block calcium absorption into your bones, making them brittle and subject to breaking.

Infertility – Women with an overactive thyroid can have difficulty getting pregnant. The condition can also be harmful to the mother and baby during pregnancy

Hypothyroidism

The opposite of hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, occurs when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough T4 or its counterpart hormone T3 (triiodothyronine). The result is a slowing down of many bodily functions. Sometimes people write off the symptoms of hypothyroidism as a component of aging. However, left untreated, it can lead to obesity, joint pain, infertility, and heart disease. 

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Hypersensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Hoarseness
  • Puffiness in the face
  • Muscle aches, tenderness, stiffness, and weakness
  • Elevated blood cholesterol
  • Thinning hair and dry skin
  • Slower heart rate
  • Depression
  • Forgetfulness

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis– The most common cause of hypothyroidism. It is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the thyroid. With Hashimoto’s, your body produces antibodies that attack and destroy the thyroid gland. 


Diagnosing Thyroid Issues 

If you’ve ever had a yearly physical, your doctor most likely placed their hands gently on each side of your windpipe and asked you to swallow. This is the most basic way to check for any abnormal bumps or enlargement of your thyroid gland. 

Your doctor can confirm a thyroid issue with one simple lab test. The Basic Thyroid Panel offered by Any Lab Test Now combines convenience and affordability. This panel consists of three tests,  which measure the balance of the three main hormones in the thyroid system.

They include: 

  • TSH: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is the most important of the hormones in the thyroid system. It stimulates or acts on the thyroid gland, telling it how much of the actual thyroid hormones need to be produced.
  • T4: This hormone is made by the thyroid, travels throughout the body, and is converted into T3.
  • T3: The active form of T4. This is the hormone that goes into the cells and controls their function throughout the body.

What to Expect During Your Visit

There is no need to make an appointment; walk-ins are always welcome. There is no need for a doctor’s order either, so you can skip the step (and the co-pay) of making an appointment with your doctor to get a prescription for testing. 

The results of your thyroid screening will serve as a blueprint for your physician to prescribe the correct dose of medication. Then later in the year, you can continue to follow up with Any Lab Test Now for additional testing to find out if the treatment is working.

New Year, Better You…Take Care of Yourself 

Whether you believe in setting a New Year’s resolution or not, the start of a new year is always an opportune time to create a new habit or three that’ll lead to a healthier, more fulfilling life.

To help you have a fresh start in 2022, utilize Any Lab Test Now for access to 8000+ lab testing options designed to help you monitor the health of your body. We want you to Take Control of Your Health® when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including determining the health of your thyroid.

We provide you with a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. 

Find your closest Any Lab Test Now store at www.anylabtestnow.com.