How's Your Thyroid?
January is National Thyroid Awareness Month
The thyroid is part of the endocrine system. It is a crucial gland shaped like a butterfly located in the front of your neck. The thyroid releases hormones that are taken throughout the body. Thyroid diseases can occur in anyone, however they occur more often in people over the age of 60 and women.
Hyperthyroidism is an overactive thyroid where it produces too many hormones. A common cause is Graves’ disease. There are many common symptoms of overactive thyroid, including unexplained weight loss, anxiety, hair loss, and increased sweating.
Hypothyroidism is underactive thyroid where it does not produce enough hormones. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. There are many common causes of underactive thyroid, including fatigue, weight gain, depression, and cold intolerance. People over the age of 60 are at an increased risk of hypothyroidism.
Lumps may sometimes form on your thyroid. They are called thyroid nodules and are an unhealthy growth of thyroid cells. The thyroid gland itself may also swell up, which is called a goiter.
The most common test for thyroid health is a blood test to check the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). However, your doctor may also test the level of T3 and T4, thyroid hormones. Or they may perform a thyroid antibody test to see if an autoimmune disorder is attacking the thyroid.
Normal TSH Levels
For those aged 51-70, the normal TSH range is between 0.5-4.5 mU/L. The normal range for those 71-90 years old is 0.4-5.2 mU/L. However, these ideal ranges may be different if you have certain conditions.
If you have any symptoms of hypo or hyperthyroidism, it is important to bring them up with your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will most likely have you do some lab tests and may also decide to refer you to an endocrinologist, who is a specialist who treats thyroid problems.
Physicians Medical Group of San Jose is the largest independent physician’s association in Santa Clara County. We have been part of the community for 40 years with more than 1,000 doctors in 460 offices, plus we speak 30+ languages. Call 888.988.8682 or visit pmgmd.com for more information.