Health Plus-Thyroid Disease - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Health Plus-Thyroid Disease

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EVANSDALE (KWWL) -- Millions of Americans have thyroid disease but a lot of them don't know it.  In Health Plus, what you need to know about recognizing and treating it.

Four years ago, Maggie Gleason didn't feel herself.  She was tired and sluggish.

"I just didn't feel right. You know when you're sick, you just, there's just something your body is telling you. Something is wrong," she says.

That something was her thyroid.  It's the small, butterfly-shaped gland in the lower part of your neck.  Though small, the thyroid can cause big problems for your body when not functioning normally because it regulates hormones.  The now 73-year-old's thyroid was underactive.

Dr. Arla McVicker with Covenant Clinic in Evansdale says "anyone can get this at any age. It's not just a disease of older people. We see it more common in women over the age of 50." 

McVicker says if, like Maggie, you have hypothyroidism you may feel tired, sluggish, depressed and cold along with having weight gain.  But if you have hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid, you may feel nervous, restless and suddenly lose weight.

"If a person has symptoms that suggest it, they should get in to see their doctor and get tested," says McVicker.

She says some thyroid conditions are treatable with medication.  That's what helped Maggie.

"I feel really good. No sluggishness, no headaches, a little more enthusiasm," says Gleason.

It's energy she needs for her job as a lunch lady.

A simple blood test can detect a thyroid problem.

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