January is Thyroid Awareness Month, and the American Thyroid Association offers a number of resources to learn more about the prevention and treatment of thyroid diseases.
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located in the front of the neck—that’s why the butterfly is used as the symbol for Thyroid Awareness Month. The thyroid gland secretes hormones that regulate a person’s energy level and body warmth and keeps your organs and muscles working as they should. This makes it very important—and any irregularity can result in a number of symptoms ranging from depression, fatigue and distraction to anxiety and a state of restlessness. Unexplained weight changes, temperature sensitivity, an irregular heartbeat or the appearance of throat or neck abnormalities should also be discussed with your doctor.
A simple blood test is often the best way to test the functioning of the thyroid gland. And while you may not be able to prevent thyroid disease, early diagnosis and treatment is the best way to prevent complications.
Dr. Stacie Kahan is an endocrine surgeon at White Plains Hospital. Find more information about the thyroid at www.endocrinediseases.org. To find a physician, you can call 914-849-MyMD.