According to the American Thyroid Association, the month of January is National Thyroid Awareness Month! The goal of establishing a national month for the awareness of thyroid diseases and cancer is to help individuals obtain the education they need so they can go about the best medical treatments they can. Additionally, to help individuals understand the best ways to go about preventing these conditions. Finally, to support research and physicians in the industry of treating thyroid diseases so that these conditions can be more manageable. Over all, the goal is to spread awareness for all types of thyroid conditions and their treatment so that information and support are more readily available to those who need it. In support of this awareness, we’ve come up with a list of most commonly diagnosed thyroid conditions.
What is the Thyroid?
Before we can understand conditions which affect the thyroid, we must understand what the thyroid really is. They thyroid is a hormone gland of the endocrine system responsible for producing and releasing hormones responsible for managing the body’s metabolism. It’s small and said to be shaped like a butterfly. The thyroid resides just below the adam’s apple and stretches across the windpipe. When the thyroid doesn’t do its job as it should, symptoms occur and conditions are diagnosed which require treatment.
Thyroid Awareness by Learning about Thyroid Conditions
Hypothyroidism: This condition is diagnosed when an individual’s thyroid is not producing enough hormones for proper function. It can be caused by autoimmune conditions, inflammation of the thyroid, or malfunction of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus of the brain. Common symptoms of Hypothyroidism include fatigue, constipation, muscle aches, dry skin, lack of focus, depression, and prolonged menstrual bleeding.
Hyperthyroidism: The opposite of Hypothyroidism, this condition is characterized by an over-production of hormones by the thyroid gland. While it’s not as common as Hypothyroidism and often goes unnoticed or undiagnosed, symptoms can include shaking, increased metabolism, exhaustion, heavy sweating, trouble concentrating, weight loss, increased heart rate, and anxiety. It’s thought that thyroid nodules, goiters, and Grave’s disease can lead to the development of this condition.
Goiters: A thyroid goiter is the term used when the thyroid is enlarged. There are many causes for goiters, so it’s a pretty general term for any enlargement of the thyroid. While this can be apparent in those diagnosed with both Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism, it can also be seen in individuals who aren’t diagnosed with any other thyroid condition.
Thyroid Nodules: These are growths recognized within the thyroid gland itself. While they can be less cancerous tumors and cysts, they can also be cancerous. Thyroid nodules can vary in size and number.
Thyroid Cancer: Thyroid cancer can be diagnosed in multiple forms since there are different cells of the thyroid which determine which type of cancer is at hand. While it’s a more common condition in women than men, those diagnosed with thyroid cancer have good chance at recovery and survival.
Help for Thyroid Conditions
While thyroid awareness is important so that individuals are educated, it’s also important to spread awareness for financial help. Many individuals diagnosed with a thyroid condition can afford their needed medical treatment. And, to help these individuals, patient assistance programs have been established to help cover the cost of medications. If you struggle to afford your thyroid medication, Advocate My Meds may be able to help. Contact us today to see if you qualify for our medication savings program!