Keeping your thyroid healthy can keep you healthy

Millions of Americans struggle with fatigue, obesity, gastrointestinal problems, and hair, skin, and nail issues—and the root of the problem could be a small endocrine organ located in the front of the neck: the thyroid. In this recent article in Community Impact, Samuel E. Long, III, MD, ARC General Surgeon, said everyone should have their tiny, butterfly-shaped organ tested for abnormalities.

“It’s small, but very important, and when it’s not working right, patients may feel it,” Dr. Long said. “Fortunately, with the help of your doctor, medications may be prescribed to either supplement or slow down your normal thyroid function, depending on your individual condition.”

Why is the thyroid so important?

Virtually every tissue in the body is affected or regulated by its hormone. The thyroid regulates the body’s metabolism, but it also plays a key role in the functioning of the:

  • brain
  • nerves
  • skin
  • hair
  • eyes
  • heart
  • intestines

“It is not an uncommon day or week for me when I meet folks who have really been suffering as far as a delay in their diagnosis of an issue, because of some of the more subtle [symptoms],” Dr. Long said. “All of a sudden, they get their thyroid working again, and people just feel like it gives them their life back.”

Symptoms

Symptoms of a thyroid condition include:

  • changes in weight,
  • quantity or quality of hair,
  • vision and eye appearance
  • gastrointestinal patterns

Aside from hormonal symptoms, thyroid issues are sometimes identified by a lump in the neck.

Prevention

Dr. Long said the best preventive measure is staying healthy and eating a balanced diet -although some thyroid issues are simply unavoidable. Pregnant women and older adults are at higher risk and tested regularly, Dr. Long said “but many patients will need to be on thyroid hormones at some point in their lifetime, and it is not because of something they did wrong.”

Dr. Long’s advice? “Be proactive.”

Make an appointment today

ARC is a full-service clinic for those suffering from conditions of the thyroid. From initial diagnosis to treatment, ARC can address ailments including hyperthyroidism, Graves’ Disease, toxic nodular goiter, and thyroiditis, as well as thyroid disease, cancer, nodules, and tumors.

To make an appointment with Dr. Long, call ARC South 1st Specialty and Pediatrics at 512-443-1311 or ARC Southwest at 512-282-8967 or book online or through MyChart.

Tags: thyroid