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What’s a thyroid? And what does it have to do with my weight?

January is Thyroid Awareness Month, so it’s the perfect time to help you understand more about your thyroid gland. Specifically, we’ve gathered some key information from the American Thyroid Association® (ATA) about how the health of your thyroid can impact your weight.

Your Thyroid Gland

First things first – what exactly is your thyroid? It’s one of your glands (a type of organ), and it’s located in the lower front part of your neck. Small and butterfly-shaped, its job is to make important hormones that are carried to tissues throughout your body. These hormones help you use energy and stay warm, and they keep your heart, brain, other organs and muscles working properly.

Thyroid Issues – And How They Can Affect Your Weight

Two common thyroid issues are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. They’re big words, but we’ll help you understand what they mean.

People with hyperthyroidism have an overactive thyroid. Basically, your thyroid gland makes too much of one of the hormones. This can speed up your metabolism, which can cause unwanted weight loss and a rapid or irregular heartbeat. Especially if your thyroid is extremely overactive, you may need to increase how many calories you eat and drink in order to maintain a healthy weight.

Those with hypothyroidism, on the other hand, have underactive thyroids. Your thyroid gland doesn’t make enough hormones for what your body needs. As a result, your metabolism slows down – and you might feel tired easily, have trouble tolerating cold temperatures and gain weight. However, massive weight gain is rare – generally, hypothyroidism can cause a gain of five to 10 pounds.

To read more about the relationship between thyroid health and weight, visit this webpage the ATA created. And if you think you might be experiencing thyroid issues, reach out to your doctor. They’ll know what to do to help keep you – and this important gland – healthy and well.

Thyroid health goes beyond just its effect on your weight. Learn more about important thyroid health topics at these helpful links: