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Friday, April 26, 2013

Women Have 10 Times the Risk of Thyroid Disease Than Men

Thyroid Disease

The thyroid is a gland located near the Adam's apple that produces hormones which control the body's metabolism. The metabolism is basically the speed at which your body functions and it affects the heart rate, body temperature and energy. Most people don't pay any attention to the thyroid gland until something goes wrong.

Women are 10 times more likely to have a thyroid disease order (like Hashimoto's disease) than men, and Caucasians are more commonly affected than African-Americans. Two types of thyroid conditions include hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism exists when the thyroid gland is not producing enough hormones (underactive), and hyperthyroidism is just the opposite--the thyroid gland is producing too many hormones.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, constipation, hair loss, dry skin, depression, and blurred vision. One of the reasons women are at greater risk is that the condition is often associated with pregnancy and menopause, as well as type 1 diabetes. Symptoms of hyperthroidism, on the other hand, include increased sweating, nervousness, loss of weight, loose bowels, and feeling tired.

Both conditions are very treatable. Most doctors treat thyroid problems with antithyroid medicines and radioactive iodines for hyperthyroidism. The antithyroid medicine slows down the hormones being secreted by the thyroid gland, and the radioactive iodine treatment actually shrinks the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism is treated with thyroid hormone medicine which helps the gland secrete more hormones.

Iodine is an essential element that enables the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism is actually an iodine deficiency. The body does not produce its own iodine, so iodine can be added to the diet by using iodized salt, and eating foods such as cheese, milk, eggs, yogurt, ice cream, saltwater fish, shellfish, soy sauce and soy milk.
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