January is Thyroid Awareness Month. Located in the front of our neck, this butterfly shaped gland may be small but it can affect major functions of our body. Under-active and over-active thyroid are commons issues that directly affect our metabolism.

Hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid can cause symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain, and trouble sleeping, common problems that many people mistake for other conditions or they chalk it up to just getting older.  In fact, experts say Hypothyroidism is one of the most misdiagnosed medical conditions in the U.S. With hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid,  your body produces excessive amounts of thyroid hormones which can speed up some of your body's processes causing heart palpitations, nervousness or shortness of breath. Thyroid conditions can usually be treated but they must first be diagnosed. Check out the most common symptoms, and if you have any of these, ask your doctor if they could be related to your thyroid.

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    Hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid):

    • Appetite change (decrease or increase)
    • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
    • Fatigue
    • Frequent bowel movement—perhaps diarrhea
    • Heart palpitations
    • Heat intolerance
    • Increased sweating
    • Irritability
    • Light menstrual periods—perhaps even missed periods
    • Mental disturbances
    • Muscle weakness
    • Nervousness
    • Problems with fertility
    • Shortness of breath
    • Sudden paralysis
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    Hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid):

    • Increased sensitivity to cold
    • Fatigue
    • Constipation
    • Dry skin
    • Weight gain
    • Puffy face
    • Hoarseness
    • Muscle weakness
    • Elevated blood cholesterol level
    • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
    • Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
    • Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
    • Thinning hair
    • Slowed heart rate
    • Depression
    • Impaired memory