The thyroid is essentially the body’s thermostat. For such a small gland behind the throat, the thyroid really does have a significant job. It regulates the body’s temperature, energy expenditure as well as regulating hunger levels. Due to the important role the thyroid plays in the body when complications arise, the body can be left with several medical problems. More specifically, a thyroid disorder.
While thyroid problems can have devastating effects, there are about 20 million Americans that suffer daily from some form of thyroid disorder. These disorders include the likes of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. On an international scale, 60% of the rest of the world is believed to be suffering from thyroid problems. However, many of the afflicted individuals never identify the thyroid as the root of their illness. Oftentimes, people that suffer from thyroid disorders have excessive fatigue or weight gain.
Common Thyroid Problems
For such a small gland, the thyroid can really do damage on your life. Women and men suffering from thyroid disorders and diseases will find that they are faced with several issues. Mainly anxiety, depression and other forms of mental, emotional and physical imbalance. As discussed previously, the two main forms of thyroid disorders are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism occurs due to an overactive thyroid while hypothyroidism is brought on by an under-active thyroid. Of al the thyroid disorders, most individuals suffer from hypothyroidism. Mostly women suffer from hypothyroidism and are middle aged or of reproductive age.
The thyroid gland works to control several aspects of the body’s metabolism. This includes working to regulate the productions of different hormones that help the body carry out its vital functions. Functions like reproductions, digestion and the like.
In order for the body to maintain a healthy thyroid, it is important to focus on a few key nutrients like selenium and iodine. These nutrients are often overlooked but very important for proper thyroid function. Disorders can also be caused by a deficiency in zinc, b vitamins, electrolytes and other minerals.
Problems can also be caused when the body doesn’t properly absorb or convert nutrients from your diet. This is known as leaky gut syndrome or intestinal permeability. This raises inflammation levels while interfering with various metabolic processes.
Thyroid Symptoms and Signs
One can recognize hypothyroidism by the way your body and metabolism slows down. These symptoms will show themselves through weight gain, sluggishness and brain fog. Hyperthyroidism can make you feel sped up. Your heart may feel like it’s beating faster. It can also create problems for your diet and weight.
Due to the fact that your thyroid plays a major role in controlling the appetite, energy expenditure and body heat, your metabolism will either be overworked. It can be significantly slowed based on changes in your thyroid hormones. Both are unhealthy and uncomfortable situations. However, it can be treated in similar ways. To start, focus on improving your lifestyle through stress levels and diet.
If you think you are suffering from hypothyroidism, be on the lookout for a few of the specific symptoms. These include persistent fatigue, low motivation for exercise or movement, lethargy as well as depression. An individual suffering from hypothyroidism may likely experience anxiety, moodiness, an intolerance to cold. Some individuals say they frequently feel chilly. Dry skin, dry hair, and a hoarse voice are also symptomatic of hypothyroidism.
Weight gain, bloating, constipation, digestive issues, and muscle weakness are additional symptoms of hypothyroidism.
For those suffering from hyperthyroidism, the symptoms are quite the opposite. You will feel your heart racing, anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia. Additionally, many individuals suffering from hyperthyroidism will have eyes that bulge or appear larger. With hyperthyroidism, weight loss is common as well as excessive sweating. Some individuals also experience muscle weakness, thin hair, and multiple bowel movements.
The Causes of Thyroid Disorders
In the case of hypothyroidism, your body doesn’t produce enough of the T3 or T4 thyroid hormones. Within the United States, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is found as the reason for the majority of cases of hypothyroidism. In this disorder, the body attacks its thyroid, which will compromise the functions. Hashimoto’s will occur when the body undergoes severe stress, high nutritional deficiencies, toxicity, and immunosuppression. In other cases of hypothyroidism, the body just isn’t receiving enough iodine in the diet.
With hyperthyroidism, the body is receiving an overdose of the thyroid hormones. Graves’ disease is seen as one of the major causes of hyperthyroidism. Additionally, hyperthyroidism can be caused by lumps on the thyroid or from an overload of T4 by tablet or supplement.
The Risk Factor of Thyroid Disorders
Several factors contribute to the development of thyroid disorders. This can include genetics or poor lifestyle habits. Habits like sleeping too little or eating too many inflammatory foods. Other risk factors for thyroid disorders can include deficiencies in zinc, selenium, and iodine. A poor diet that is high in processed foods, unhealthy fats and sugars put your body in jeopardy. Caffeine or alcohol put the body at risk for thyroid disorders.
Undergoing a significant amount of mental, emotional or physical stress can wear your immune system down as well. Causing complications with the liver, kidneys, and thyroid.
Genetics play a role in thyroid disorders as research shows thyroid problems as hereditary. Additionally, hormonal changes brought on by pregnancy can lead to thyroid complications. Similarly, toxicity caused by contact with chemical exposure and environmental pollutants can lead to thyroid complications.
Treating Thyroid Problems
Treatment for hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are varied as the two disorders are practically each other’s opposites.
Regarding hypothyroidism, the body is in need of more thyroid hormones. A treatment for this particular disorder includes taking more T4 or synthetic thyroxine. With the correct prescription, individuals generally respond well to this version of hormone therapy.
Oftentimes, other individuals will take both synthetic versions of both T3 and T4. With hyperthyroidism, many individuals will use radioactive iodine or radioiodine. Anti-thyroid medications can also be used to normalize or reduce the thyroid functions. Surgery on the thyroid gland is also another viable option and will require part of the gland itself to be removed.
As you continue to learn more about thyroid disorders, you will need a professional opinion. Asking what is best in the case of an individual’s thyroid disorder is key. If you are suffering from thyroid complications, there are several options that can help. Work to change your diet and lifestyle as you seek out medical care for your situation.