MEN and WOMEN
THE THYROID IS THE MASTER GLAND OF METABOLISM AND PRODUCES SEVERAL HORMONES
Your thyroid is one of your body's most important glands. When your thyroid doesn't work properly, it can cause you to feel nervous or tired; make your muscles weak; cause weight gain or loss; impair your memory; and affect your menstrual flow. A thyroid disorder can also cause miscarriage and infertility.
Hypothyroidism: When too little TH is released, the body's metabolic rate decreases, and the body slows down. Hypothyroidism often goes undiagnosed because its symptoms are often mistaken for or attributed to other conditions. Symptoms include: fatigue, depression, low body temperature, weight gain, dry or itchy skin, thin, dry hair/hair loss, puffy face, hands and feet, decreased taste and smell, slow heart rate, constipation, poor memory, trouble with concentration, hoarseness/husky voice, irregular or heavy menstruation, muscle aches, infertility, high cholesterol, goiter (enlarged thyroid gland)
Hypothyroidism can occur spontaneously, develop during or after pregnancy or after treatment for hyperthyroidism. You can be born with it or it can be caused by Hashimoto's thyroiditis, the leading cause of hypothyroidism.
Named for the Japanese health care professional who first described it in detail, Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease. That means the immune system attacks the body's healthy tissues instead of fighting off invading bacteria or viruses. In this case, the immune system produces antibodies to attack the thyroid gland as if it were a foreign substance that needed to be destroyed. The resulting damage leads to reduced production of TH.
Hyperthyroidism: When too much TH is released, the body's metabolic rate increases, and your metabolism speeds up. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include: nervousness/irritability, weight loss, fast/irregular heart rate, heat intolerance/increased perspiration, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances (such as insomnia), muscle weakness, trembling hands, more frequent bowel movements, shorter and scantier menstrual flow, exophthalmos (bulging eyes), goiter (enlarged thyroid gland)
FOR MORE INFO: please visit The National Women's Health Resource Center at: www.healthywomen.org