Everything Thyroid

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Sometimes there is a subtle sense of imbalance in the body. It may be a feeling of fatigue that lingers even after a full night’s rest or maybe its feeling depressed or anxious without reasonable cause. Weight management may suddenly become an issue even when diet and exercise stay consistent. All of these symptoms may point to a thyroid disorder.

The thyroid is a gland that belongs to the endocrine system. It is butterfly- shaped and is situated at the lower front section of the neck at the base of the throat. The thyroid produces thyroid hormone , which regulates body temperature, metabolism, heart rate, cholesterol, and many other vital functions in the body. Imbalances occur when the thyroid produces too little or too much thyroid hormone. There are different types of thyroid disorders , but hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are the most common. Fortunately, proper diagnosis and treatment can help manage thyroid disorders. Women are five to eight times more likely than men to develop thyroid disease.

Hypothyroidism

This is the more common condition, often referred to as an underactive thyroid. It results from the thyroid gland producing an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone. The symptoms may vary with a severity of the deficiencies and the length of time that the body has been deprived of the correct amount of thyroid hormones. Typical symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, dry, rough skin, sensitivity to cold, muscle aches and cramps, depression, impaired memory, irritability, abnormal menstrual cycle, decreased libido and enlarged thyroid gland [goiter].

Causes

There can be a number of causes,  including iodine deficiency, autoimmune disease – [Hashimoto’s] , hyperthyroidism treatment, radiation therapy,  thyroid surgery and certain medications .Less often, hypothyroidism may result from congenital disease, pituitary disorder, or pregnancy. Untreated hypothyroidism can lead to a number of health concerns; Goiter- constant stimulation of the thyroid to release more hormones may cause the gland to become larger- commonly known as a ‘goiter’. A goiter may interfere with swallowing or breathing. Heart problems; hypothyroidism may also be associated with an increased risk of heart disease and heart failure, primarily because high levels of LDL cholesterol [low-density lipoprotein]- the “bad” cholesterol. Mental health issues- depression may occur and become more severe over time. Although rare, severe untreated hypothyroidism can lead to a life-threatening condition called myxedema. A type of coma that occurs when the body’s level of thyroid hormones becomes extremely low.

Effective Hypothyroidism treatment

Treatment for hypothyroidism, also known as thyroid hormone replacement therapy , is fairly effective.  Your doctor will do a series of blood tests and thereafter prescribe an initial dose of synthetic thyroid hormone medication and repeat the test after six to eight weeks. Thereafter any neccessary adjustments to the dosages may be made .  Getting diagnosed and starting treatment are key elements of getting this condition under control. Treatment is generally effective and a number of health problems and potentially serious complications can be avoided. Selenium-rich foods are said to be beneficial. These include; Brazil nuts, sardines, turkey breast, beef liver, chicken, eggs and spinach.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism refers to an over active thyroid in which the thyroid gland makes excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. When the thyroid gland is over active the body’s processes speed up and the following symptoms may occur; nervousness, anxiety, rapid heartbeart, hand tremor, excessive sweating, weight loss and sleep problems, dry skin, and greater frequency of bowel movements. It is more common in women aged between 20 -40 years. 

Causes

The most common cause of hyperthyroidism , is the autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease.

Candice Schmidt
Author: Candice Schmidt