It’s Thyroid Awareness Month

Your thyroid plays a crucial role in so many of your body’s systems, but how much do you know about the little gland that has such a huge responsibility in your health and well-being? Since January is Thyroid Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to learn more about this small but mighty organ and the importance knowing what to look for to ensure your thyroid is functioning as it should. 

What is a thyroid?

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the base of the neck. Although it is small, the thyroid gland plays a vital role in our health, affecting many of the body’s most important organs, including the heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin. Making sure that your thyroid gland is healthy and functioning properly is critical to your wellness.

How common is thyroid disease?

As many as 30 million Americans are currently living with thyroid disease, with more than half of those being undiagnosed. Women are five times more likely than men to suffer from hypothyroidism, which is when the gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone.

Why is thyroid awareness so important?

Because the thyroid helps to control so many body systems, the results from it not properly functioning can be serious. Hyperthyroidism, when the gland produces too much hormone, can lead to osteoporosis, vision loss, heart problems, and stroke. Hypothyroidism can lead to lead to obesity, heart problems, depression, infertility, and others. You can see why this little gland working right can be so important.

What are some signs that you may want to have your thyroid levels checked?

  • Changes in your mood and energy level—restlessness, anxiety, depression, and fatigue can be signs of thyroid issues
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • Changes in bathroom habits—diarrhea and constipation can indicate a problem with thyroid function
  • Irregularities with the frequency or flow of menstrual cycles
  • Inability to tolerate heat or cold


The thyroid controls your metabolism and influences so many systems in your body that its function is extremely important to your overall health and quality of life. If you think you may have a thyroid dysfunction, early detection is key. Once diagnosed and treated, people usually live a normal, healthy life.

If you have questions or concerns about your thyroid health, the providers at Howard Memorial Hospital can help. Call 870-845-4400 with questions or to set up an appointment today.


Posted in:  Health