Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck which produces two important hormones; thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones are secreted into your blood – their primary role is to influence your metabolic rate. Guidelines from the NHS state that an overactive thyroid can affect anyone, and typically starts between the ages of 20 and 40.
It is very easy to mistake the symptoms of these common thyroid disorders with something else. The disorders may come on very slowly at first, and you may not notice any symptoms for some years.
Thyroid problems are very common in the UK, affecting around 1 in 20 people. Although men and women can both suffer from thyroid problems, women are up to 10 times more likely to be affected than men. Symptoms of thyroid disorders can often be quite broad. But common signs of an underactive thyroid may include unexpected weight gain, lethargy, thinning hair (particularly on the eyebrows), dry skin, feeling cold and depression. Symptoms of an overactive thyroid may include unexpected weight loss, anxiety or nervousness, swelling in the throat and problems sleeping. An underactive thyroid can usually be managed by daily hormone replacement tablets prescribed by your Doctor. Similarly, an overactive thyroid is also usually treatable through medication, although in some cases your Doctor may recommend a surgery to remove all or part of your thyroid. If either condition is not identified and treated early, complications can arise. According to the NHS, these could include eye problems like double vision and complications during pregnancy.
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