January is Thyroid Awareness Month – Here Are the 4 Most Common Thyroid Disorders

January is Thyroid Awareness Month – Here Are the 4 Most Common Thyroid Disorders

January is National Thyroid Awareness month, a time to spread awareness and educate others on different types of thyroid disorders. According to the American Thyroid Association, 1 in 10 people suffer from a thyroid disorder and at least 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime. Among people that suffer from thyroid disorder, only about half of them are diagnosed and treated. Below are the most common Thyroid Disorders and their symptoms.

1. Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a disorder when your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. Having an overactive thyroid can accelerate your body’s metabolism, causing unintentional weight loss and a rapid or irregular heartbeat. Hyperthyroidism is much more common than in men, and is most common in people younger than 40.


  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat, pounding of your heart
  • Increased appetite
  • Nervousness, anxiety and irritability
  • Trembling in your hands and fingers
  • Sweating
  • Changes in menstrual patterns
  • Increased sensitivity to heat
  • Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements
  • An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
  • Fatigue, muscle weakness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Skin thinning
  • Fine, brittle hair

2. Hypothyroidism:

Hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough ​​thyroid-stimulating hormone (THS). Symptoms may not be very noticeable at first, but if left untreated can cause a number of health problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease. Treatment of hypothyroidism is very common and can usually be regulated with a synthetic thyroid hormone.


  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Puffy face
  • Hoarseness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Elevated blood cholesterol level
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
  • Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
  • Thinning hair
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Depression
  • Impaired memory
  • Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)

3. Graves’ Disease

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland causing inflammation and an overproduction of thyroxine hormones. This disease causes hyperthyroidism, and affects about 1 in 200 people in the United States. If treated, Graves’ Disease is easily managed and sometimes even goes into remission or disappears completely, however, if left untreated complications can arise.


  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Tremor of the hands or fingers
  • Heat sensitivity and an increase in perspiration or warm, moist skin
  • Weight loss, despite normal eating habits
  • Enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter)
  • Change in menstrual cycles
  • Erectile dysfunction or reduced libido
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Bulging eyes (Graves’ ophthalmopathy)
  • Fatigue
  • Thick, red skin usually on the shins or tops of the feet (Graves’ dermopathy)
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Sleep issues

4. Hashimoto’s Disease

Hashimoto’s Disease is also an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland. With Hashimoto’s disease, immune system cells lead to the death of the thyroid’s hormone-producing cells, which usually results in hypothyroidism. This disease is 4 to 10 times more likely to occur in women than men, and often develops between the ages of 30 and 50.


  • Fatigue and sluggishness
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Increased sleepiness
  • Dry skin
  • Constipation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Irregular or excessive menstrual bleeding
  • Depression
  • Problems with memory or concentration
  • Swelling of the thyroid (goiter)
  • A puffy face
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
  • Enlargement of the tongue

These disorders are only a few of the many thyroid conditions people are diagnosed with each year. Luckily, with treatment, most thyroid disorders are very manageable and will not negatively affect your quality of life. If any of these symptoms sound familiar and you think you may have a thyroid disorder, our primary care physicians can run tests, diagnose the issue and provide treatment. If you are in need of a Primary Care Physician, visit here.