“June is recognized as Thyroid Awareness Month in Canada. Fifty per cent of thyroid diseases, including thyroid cancer, go undiagnosed, emphasizing the need to raise awareness so more Albertans receive the treatment and care they need.

“The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of the neck. It produces hormones that help regulate the ways our bodies grow and use energy, which we often refer to as our metabolism.

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not make enough of the hormone, causing fatigue, weakness, or depression. Other symptoms can include dry skin, sensitivity to cold, memory problems and a slow, weak heartbeat. It can be treated, but left unchecked hypothyroidism can raise cholesterol levels and is a particularly serious concern for those who are pregnant.

“Hypothyroidism can occur at any age, but older adults, especially women over the age of 60, are at higher risk.

Hyperthyroidism means there is too much of the thyroid hormone being produced. When the metabolism speeds up it can cause sudden weight loss (without any dietary changes), and a rapid, forceful heartbeat. It can leave people feeling moody or anxious, overheated, sweaty or shaky. Hyperthyroidism can lead to a life-threatening condition called a thyroid storm.

“Diabetes, cardiac disease, lupus, reproductive issues and many other health issues can be linked to thyroid conditions. 

“This Thyroid Awareness Month, learn more about thyroid diseases and symptoms and talk about any concerns with your primary health care provider. Early thyroid assessment and treatment is crucial for Albertans who are not yet diagnosed.”