Doctor: Check for symptoms, family history of thyroid disease

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (WOOD) — More than 12% of the U.S. population will develop some form of thyroid disease in their lifetime, according to the American Thyroid Association. A West Michigan doctor recommends keeping an eye on yours.

The thyroid, a small gland in the lower part of your neck, regulates metabolism, regulates heart rate and body temperature, according to Dr. Olesya Krivospitskaya, who practices internal medicine endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at the University of Michigan Health-West.

She said the most common dysfunctions are an overactive thyroid, known as hyperthyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, known as hypothyroidism.

“With hyperthyroidism, you can usually experience unexplained weight loss, increased heart rate, anxiety, poor sleep, shakiness in your hands, loose bowel movements, increased heart rate,” Krivospitskaya said.

With underactive thyroid function, the doctor said the symptoms are just the opposite, including extreme fatigue, weight gain, slow heart rate, constipation or feeling tired all the time.

“Often there’s a family history of thyroid problems because thyroid disorders are usually autoimmune and there’s often a very strong family history of that,” Krivospitskaya said.

Therefore, there is not much you can do to prevent it.

“Unfortunately, we have no control over whether or not you develop thyroid disease. So if there is a predisposition to it in the family, it is simply advisable to check thyroid hormone levels regularly and just be aware of the symptoms as they develop so that the thyroid condition can be diagnosed and treated appropriately be treated,” she said.

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