Women are more likely to develop this condition

Women are more likely to develop this condition

About 20 million people in the United States will have a thyroid condition at some point in their life. Women are between five and eight times more likely to develop a thyroid condition in their lifetime – especially after pregnancy or menopause.

“The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck that makes hormones for the body,” says Kathryn Brucato, family medicine nurse practitioner at Aurora Health Care in Mukwonago, Wis. “It helps our bodies regulate many functions, including body temperature, blood pressure and metabolism.”

It is largely unknown why women are at a higher risk for thyroid conditions, but it is believed that a person’s autoimmune system and family history may be factors. Since thyroid conditions can affect one in eight women, according to the American Thyroid Association, it’s important to know what exactly to look for.

Brucato explains that common thyroid conditions include:

Occurs when the thyroid gland is overactive, meaning too much thyroid hormone is produced. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks healthy tissue, which is a form of hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism can cause symptoms of weight loss, brittle hair, muscle weakness, and hand tremors, among others.

Happens when the thyroid gland is underactive, meaning not enough thyroid hormone can be made for the body to function as normal. Some symptoms of hypothyroidism can include fatigue, sensitivity to cold, dry skin and constipation. Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease where antibodies from the immune system attack the thyroid. This disease is a common cause of hypothyroidism.

This is an abnormally enlarged thyroid gland. It can be caused by other thyroid conditions such as Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s disease, and is often an indicator that there is an underlying issue with the thyroid. A goiter typically causes swelling in the neck and, if large enough, can be visible or felt.

Thyroid Nodules
These are abnormal growths on part of the thyroid. Like goiters, they can become large enough to see or feel. Because they aren’t typically accompanied with symptoms, it’s important to make sure your provider is checking your thyroid in your neck for any lumps or growths.

If you are displaying symptoms, blood tests are one of the most definitive ways to diagnose a thyroid condition. Your primary care provider can work with you to determine your risk and next steps.

Are you trying to find a doctor? Look here if you live in Illinois. Look here if you live in Wisconsin.

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One Comment

  1. Colleen Onstott May 22, 2023 at 2:50 pm · Reply

    I have suffered with a thyroid problem since I’ve been 27 yrs old. I’m 59 Now. However I’m hyperactive.. I suffer all the symptoms u said, hair loss is my Major issue. Weight loss , NO appetite, nails r so Brittle, mood swings. I have been on meds for many yrs. I do have a Goiter & I do go to my Dr. Every 3 mths for my blood work. But it has been a journey.

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About the Author

Hannah Koerner
Hannah Koerner

Hannah Koerner is a Public Affairs Specialist with Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. In her free time, she enjoys biking, snowshoeing, and cheering on Wisconsin sports teams.