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The thyroid gland regulates many different processes in your body, including metabolism, reproduction and brain function, and a malfunctioning thyroid can affect your health in various ways. This butterfly-shaped organ influences how fast your heart beats, how quickly you burn calories, regulates your sleep, contributes to heat production, tissue growth and other important physiologic functions. The thyroid produces and stores the body’s metabolic hormone (also known as TH), which is essential for the development of your skeletal and nervous system.
Stress, aging, hormonal imbalances and other factors can lead to thyroid disorders.
Hyperthyroidism, also known as overactive thyroid, is one of the most common thyroid diseases, which occurs when the gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormones. With hyperthyroidism you can experience weight loss, intolerance to heat, poor sleep and a rapid heartbeat.
Hypothyroidism has the opposite effect where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of the hormone. Its most common symptoms are weight gain, chronic fatigue, mood swings, lack of concentration and menstrual irregularities. Many of the symptoms of thyroid disorders are non-specific, sometimes making it difficult to diagnose. Some patients, however, experience no symptoms at all, and for this reason thyroids disorders often go undiagnosed and can worsen over time.
Dr. Ali Ghahary, a physician at Brentwood Medical Clinic in Burnaby, British Columbia, sends patients for appropriate blood tests in order to check for potential thyroid disorders. While Dr. Ghahary is currently not accepting new patients, it is essential that you see a doctor if you or anyone in your family has a history of thyroid disease, and if diagnosed with hyper or hypothyroidism it is important to have blood tests done every year in order to monitor your hormones, prevent flare-ups of symptoms and lessen your risk of complications.