WOMEN AND THYROID DISEASE

What is thyroid disease?
   The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located just above the collarbone on the front of the neck. It produces hormones that help control metabolism - the process of converting food to energy. If you have thyroid disease, your body does not use energy properly.
   A thyroid gland that is not active enough results in hypothyroidism, which is the most common thyroid condition. When the thyroid is too active, it makes more thyroid hormone than your body needs. This condition is called hyperthyroidism.

HYPOTHYROIDISM

Statistics
Approximately 3% of Americans have pronounced hypothyroidism and another 15% have mild disease.
Over one half of the people with hypothyroidism don't know it.

Risk Factors
Family history
Increasing age
Female gender
Caucasion or Asian
Having another autoimmune disorder, such as type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, pernicious anemia, etc.
Having Down's Syndrome or Turner's Syndrome
Having bipolar disease (manic-depression)
The rate of hypothyroidism goes up during pregnancy, after delivery and around menopause

Signs and Symptoms
Reduced energy
Difficulty awakening in the morning and tendency to fall asleep during the day
Feeling cold when other people feel warm
Reduced persperation
Dry, itchy, orange or yellow skin
Increased hair loss
Loss of appetite
Mild weight gain
New or worsening problems with memory, slower thinking
New snoring
More frequent and severe muscle cramps and joint aches
Slowing of heart rate
Increased cholesterol level

Treatment
   Hypothyroidism can not be cured, but in almost every case, it can be controlled. Hypothyroidism is treated by supplementing the hormone thyroxin produced by the thyroid gland with synthetic form.

HYPERTHYROIDISM

Statistics
In 2002, there were 15,668 deaths and 260,000 hospital visits among persons with pulmonary hypertension.
Among 807,000 patients hospitalized with pulmonary hypertension as one of the diagnoses between 2000 and 2002, 61% were women and 34% were younger than age 65.

Risk Factors
Family history
Young age
Female gender

Signs and Symptoms
Nervousness
Irritablility
Increased perspiration
Heart racing
Hand tremors
Difficulty sleeping
Thinning skin
Brittle hair

Treatment
   No single treatment is best. Your doctor's choice of treatment will be influenced by your age, the type and severity of your disease and other medical conditions that may be affecting your health. Treatment may include anti-thyroid drugs, radioactive iodine, surgery and beta blockers.

WNH Services
Internal medicine, family practice and surgery specialists
Diagnostic imaging services
Clinical laboratory
Surgical services

WNH Physicians
Health Professionals by Specialty

Resources
National Institute of Health
American Thyroid Association
American Association of Endocrinology