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Studies Evaluate Thyroid Treatment During Pregnancy
Date:9/25/2009

ssociation. Women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems. Pregnant women with undiagnosed or inadequately treated hypothyroidism are at increased risk for miscarriage and preterm delivery, and their children face a greater risk for severe developmental problems.

The thyroid gland, which is located in the middle of the lower neck, regulates the body's metabolism and affects such body functions as energy level and heart rate. The hormone produced by the thyroid influences every cell, tissue and organ in the body.

About 20 million people in the United States have some form of thyroid disease, and more than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime, the association says. Most thyroid diseases are lifelong conditions that can be managed with medical attention.

Up to 60 percent of people with thyroid disease don't know they have the condition. Undiagnosed thyroid disease can put people at risk for serious problems, such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and infertility.

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Symptoms include depression, extreme fatigue, forgetfulness and some weight gain. Too much thyroid hormone production is called hyperthyroidism, and its symptoms include irritability, nervousness, muscle weakness, weight loss, sleep disturbances, eye irritation and vision problems.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about pregnancy and thyroid disease.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: American Thyroid Association, news release, Sept. 23, 2009


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