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Thyroid Health Can Affect Your Entire Well-Being
In every breath you take and every surge of energy you feel, the thyroid plays a role.

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the base of the neck just below the Adam's apple. Although relatively small, the thyroid gland plays a huge role in our bodies, influencing the function of many of the body's most important organs, including the heart, brain, liver, kidneys, and skin. It controls the rate at which every cell and organ in your body functions from muscles, bones, and skin to your digestive tract, brain, heart, and more. It does this by secreting hormones that control how efficiently cells convert nutrients into energy, a chemical activity known as metabolism.

Ensuring that the thyroid gland is healthy and functioning properly is vitally important to the body's overall well-being. If your thyroid is not functioning properly, it can produce too much thyroid hormone, which causes the body's systems to speed up, a condition known as hyperthyroidism with symptoms including nervousness, hunger, and sleep problems. Hypothydroidism is a condition where the thyroid creates too little thyroid hormone, leading to symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, and dry skin.

Thyroid disease is more common than diabetes or heart disease.

Thyroid disease is a fact of life for as many as 30 million Americans - and more than half of those people remain undiagnosed. Women are five times more likely than men to suffer from hypothyroidism (when the gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone). Aging is just one risk factor for hypothyroidism.

Untreated thyroid disease may lead to elevated cholesterol levels and subsequent heart disease, as well as infertility and osteoporosis. Thyroid disease can be misdiagnosed as heart disease or depression. Misleading symptoms are the reason why many people with thyroid disease have never been diagnosed.

Since many symptoms may be hidden or mimic other diseases and conditions, the best way to know your thyroid is functioning correctly is to ask your doctor for a TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test, a simple blood test to verify your thyroid gland's condition. If you have a family member with thyroid disease, are over the age of 60, or have any symptoms or risk factors associated with thyroid disease, you should talk to your doctor about getting a TSH test.