Thyroid Awareness Month

  • January 17, 2024


Understanding thyroid disorders and their symptoms

January is National Thyroid Awareness Month.  According to the American Thyroid Association, 1 in 10 people suffer from a thyroid condition; however, 60 % of people are unaware of it. Therefore, it is important to recognize and spread awareness about a condition plaguing so many.

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped hormonal gland located in the neck. It plays a crucial role in a multitude of vital functions such as; metabolism, respiration, heart rate, body weight, cholesterol, muscle strength and maintain body temperature.  The thyroid gland secretes hormones into the blood to be transported throughout the body to execute the desired function.

Thyroid disease occurs due to dysfunction of the gland.  The most common thyroid conditions occur when it is overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism). Hyperthyroidism occurs when the body produces too many thyroid hormones, this condition can cause increased metabolism resulting in weight loss and irregular heart rate. Hypothyroidism occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, this impacts heart rate, body temperature and metabolism, resulting in fatigue, constipation, dry skin and weight gain.

Thyroid cancer begins when rapid and abnormal cell growth occurs on the thyroid gland.  The biggest warning sign of thyroid cancer is a lump or growth in your neck called a thyroid nodule.  Other symptoms include: difficulty breathing, loss of voice and swollen lymph nodes.  Fortunately, thyroid cancer is curable through a surgical procedure that removes some or all of the thyroid gland.

20 million Americans are living with a thyroid condition, with 1 in 8 women suffering from a condition.  That being said, it is important to get your thyroid checked regularly, speak with your health provider about your risk for thyroid related conditions.

For more information regarding thyroid cancer please contact Dana-Farber Community Cancer Care at (617) 632-5335.

A note about Whittier and COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in our area, we ask all clients and patients to call ahead before coming to any of our sites. We are working to take care of most clients/patients via phone/video encounter so we can meet your ongoing healthcare needs. This is for your safety and so we can provide the highest quality of care to you while following CDC guidance for COVID-19. Please call 617-427-1000 for any questions or concerns.

Whittier will provide COVID-19 testing from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday to Friday. Following CDC guidance, we recommend testing if you have a fever AND one of the following three symptoms: cough OR shortness of breath OR sore throat. Please bring your picture identification and your insurance card (if you have insurance).