Despite its critical importance, many people don’t even know where their thyroid gland is located or what exactly it does. Wonder no more. The thyroid is a small gland shaped like a butterfly that drapes over the front of your windpipe. It releases two hormones, nicknamed T3 and T4, which direct how your cells use energy. The thyroid also regulates growth and metabolism.
Disorders of the thyroid are very common, with about 12% of people worldwide experiencing a problem at some point. Unfortunately for females, women are about eight times more likely to have thyroid issues than men. But the risk increases with age for everyone.
Thyroid disease happens when the levels of hormone are too high or too low for proper function. When levels are too low, it is called hypothyroidism, levels too high indicate hyperthyroidism. It is important to nip either one of these conditions in the bud. They are quite treatable, but left unchecked, can lead to infertility, heart disease, and kidney disease.
Because one condition involves too much thyroid hormone and one involves too little, the symptoms of each are like two sides of a coin. Following are 8 pairs of symptoms to watch out for and 2 that are actually the same for both conditions. You’ll be fascinated by these last two, which cause the same symptom in very different ways.