- News Releases
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I recently read that thyroid issues affect women more often than men. Can you explain what the thyroid is and how it affects my body? Can I do anything to prevent having issues with my thyroid as I age?
ANSWER: The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck. The thyroid has a significant impact on the body because it produces hormones that help regulate many of your body’s functions.
The thyroid gland produces two main hormones: thyroxine, or T4, and triiodothyronine, or T3. These hormones keep your body's metabolism of fats and carbohydrates consistent, aid in maintaining your body's temperature, have an impact on how well your nervous system functions, and can affect your heart rate. A third hormone, known as calcitonin, which aids in controlling the level of calcium in your blood, also is produced by your thyroid gland.
Unfortunately, there are numerous disorders that can affect the thyroid, and women are at higher risk for thyroid issues than men. About 1 in every 8 women will suffer from thyroid illness during her lifetime, according to the American Thyroid Association.
Although it is believed that the development of thyroid illness is connected to a person’s autoimmune system, it is not known why women are more susceptible than men to thyroid disease. Genetics may play a role. Women of any age can experience thyroid issues, although women who have just given birth or are going through menopause are more likely to experience thyroid concerns.
Here is information about four of the most common thyroid conditions:
There is no way to prevent thyroid disease. The best course of action is to establish a routine to get annual health physicals and be aware of any symptoms you experience that are unusual. Speak with your health care team about your thyroid health, including the need for tests for thyroid hormone if you are concerned. If you are suspected to have thyroid issues, an evaluation by a thyroid expert or thyroid disorders clinic may be warranted. Overall, most people with thyroid disease can go on to live a normal life. — Compiled by Mayo Clinic staff
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease but did not have any symptoms, so far as I knew. Are there early symptoms that ...
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I have a group of friends with whom I love to travel. We plan several trips a year, and this spring we are ...
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I recently began experiencing swelling in my legs, feet and hands, as well as fatigue. Testing led to a diagnosis of pericardial constriction. ...