Has Your Thyroid Been Hibernating?
If you experience achy joints and low energy, your thyroid may be the cause. It could also be the reason for a racing heart rate and vision problems.
Located in the front of the neck, the thyroid gland can influence your heart rate, body temperature and metabolism.
Hyperthyroidism, caused by an overactive thyroid, can lead to symptoms including irregular heartbeat, osteoporosis, double vision and—though rare—potential vision loss. Causes include an autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease, thyroid inflammation and taking too much thyroid hormone medication. Those at higher risk include seniors and people with Type 1 diabetes.
Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, can lead to symptoms that include fatigue, weight gain and depression. Causes include an autoimmune disorder known as Hashimoto’s disease, inflammation of the thyroid and radiation treatment of the thyroid. Seniors, people who have had a previous thyroid disorder or thyroid surgery, or people with autoimmune diseases — such as lupus, Type 1 diabetes and Sjögren’s syndrome — are especially at risk.
Back on Track
In the case of hypothyroidism, treatment involves taking daily prescription medication to replace the thyroid hormone. Though it cannot be cured, it can be controlled with medication. Conversely, hyperthyroidism may include daily hormone-reducing medication or the removal of the thyroid along with daily thyroid hormone replacement.
If you think you have a thyroid disorder, talk with your doctor.