Did you know that approximately 20 million Americans are affected by some type of thyroid disease? But just what is the thyroid, and why does it matter?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland in your neck just above your collarbone, wrapped around your trachea. The thyroid oversees the regulation of many bodily processes by releasing hormones. These hormones control the body’s metabolism. It tells the heart how many times to beat and even tells cells how much energy to burn.
The thyroid gland has a boss, the pituitary gland. Located in the middle of your skull, the pituitary releases thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) that tells the thyroid what to do and when.
So, what happens when the thyroid isn’t working well? The general term, thyroid disease, is applied to almost any disease that affects the thyroid. There are many kinds of thyroid diseases.
When the thyroid is sick, it affects the release of these all-important hormones. Some diseases are extremely significant.
Other, such as iodine deficiency, are easy to overcome given the right foods and supplements. It’s the reason most table salt in the US has iodine added. First tried by Switzerland, adding iodine to salt to create Iodized salt was created in 1924. After ten years, goiter cases had fallen from 30 percent to less than 2 percent of the population.
Types of Thyroid Disease
Here are some of the most common thyroid diseases:
- Thyroiditis – This is swelling or inflammation of the thyroid that can reduce the number of hormones the thyroid releases.
- Goiter – A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid. It’s often caused by iodine deficiency.
- Hypothyroidism – When the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, it can lead to metabolic issues.
- Hyperthyroidism – Also known as Grave’s disease, hyperthyroidism is a disorder of the immune system. It can lead to thyroid dermopathy, nervousness, and a fast heartbeat.
- Hashimoto’s disease – This disease is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune defense system attacks the thyroid. Hashimoto’s is a genetic disease often passed from parents to children.
- Non-functioning thyroid – About 1 in 4000 children are born with a thyroid gland that is not functional. Newborns are screened for this condition and are treated. If it’s not, it can lead to mental and physical disorders.
- Postpartum thyroiditis – Between 5 percent and 9 percent of women suffer from decreased thyroid function after giving birth. The condition is usually temporary and can be treated.
For millions, thyroid diseases have effects ranging from minor nuisances to life-changing conditions. Bringing awareness to these issues also allows advocates and survivors to promote research to find cures for these disorders.
The best news in all of this is that with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, all thyroid disorders are covered by Marketplace-eligible plans. If you suffer from a thyroid disorder, don’t hesitate to contact the team at TrueCoverage to look for affordable health insurance.
Uninsured? You likely qualify for cheap and often even FREE health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA)! During the Special Enrollment Period (SEP), TrueCoverage can connect you with quality ACA health insurance if you have had a qualifying life-changing event recently, such as losing your health insurance, moving, getting married/pregnant, having a baby, and more.
Or, if you are approaching 65 years of age, TrueCoverage can also connect you with Medicare Advantage plans or supplemental policies!