The small butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck right above your collarbone has such an important role to play in your overall health. So when this gland is not doing its job well, it can manifest and show its symptoms.
Given its importance, we thought it is important that you understand how it truly works. This way, you can find the best solution to manage and prevent the different types of thyroid disease.
Why should you take care of your thyroid?
The thyroid is one of the major organs found inside your body. It produces a vital hormone gland that is important in regulating your metabolism, which gives you the energy to walk, talk, and sing. That said, hormones produced by your thyroid help convert what you eat and drink into energy.
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Without these hormones, your brain would not function properly, your temperature would drop, and you might even have a hard time breathing. Because, remember, all these bodily functions require energy. And with no hormones to convert nutrients into energy, these bodily functions would be all over the place.
So bearing all of these in mind, there is far too much riding on this small-butterfly-shaped gland for you to neglect and not keep it healthy. Taking care of your thyroid would not only give you energy but would also keep you active and healthy at all times.
Understanding Thyroid Disease
As mentioned earlier, your thyroid produces the vital hormone that you need for your metabolism. But in doing so, they need to produce these hormones at an optimal level in order to avoid complications. Because if your thyroid produces too much or too little of these hormones, it can mess up the entire system or processes inside your body.
For instance, our body should always be at an optimal controlled temperature in order to function properly and effectively. If our thyroid produces too much of this vital hormone, then our body would in turn raise the temperature to help dial back the number of hormones produced. On the other hand, if our thyroid produces too little of this hormone, then our body’s initial reaction is to decrease the temperature to make up for the lack of these hormones.
With that, we would specifically discuss these two scenarios wherein your thyroid produces too much (hyperthyroidism) and too little (hypothyroidism) of this vital hormone for your metabolic health.
This thyroid disease commonly stems from an autoimmune disorder called Grave’s disease. It is a condition that often occurs in women wherein their antibodies overstimulate the thyroid to produce more hormones. Other than Grave’s disease, hyperthyroidism can also be due to consuming too much iodine. Examples of iodine-rich foods are seaweed, liver, shellfish, and so on.
In some rare cases, there have been some instances when a noncancerous tumor or unusual nodule growth can cause hyperthyroidism. These lumps become overactive, and like the antibodies in Grave’s disease, they also overstimulate the thyroid to produce too much hormone.
According to the University of California, Los Angeles, here are a few common symptoms of hyperthyroidism:
- High blood pressure
- Weight loss
- Sweating more than normal
- Weak muscles, especially in the upper arms and thigh
- Thinning of the skin
- Irregular menstrual cycle
Thankfully, there are now tons of thyroid treatments that are easily accessible today. Since hyperthyroidism can be due to having too much iodine, you can easily offset it by taking radioactive iodine. There are also medical clinics and homeopathic doctors that can help you find a beta-blocker to limit the hormone production in your thyroid.
Having an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism makes you look more tired and out of energy. Since your thyroid gland is not producing the right hormones, your bodily functions slow down, making you more sluggish and dull.
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto Disease. It is a type of disease wherein your immune system turns against your thyroid. Another cause can also be inflamed thyroid, resulting in your thyroid gland to produce less hormone.
There are also some cases wherein the thyroid gland fails to develop in the womb. It is a condition called Congenital hypothyroidism (CHT), wherein hormone deficiency has already been present at birth.
According to the United States National Library of Medicine, here are a few common symptoms of hyperthyroidism:
- Puffy face
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Trouble tolerating cold
- Dry, thinning hair
- Decreased sweating
- Slowed heart rate
- Fertility problems
- Heavy or irregular menstrual periods
Like any disease, thyroid treatments tend to vary depending on your age, symptoms, and overall health. For example, if you have hypothyroidism due to Hashimoto’s Disease, then you can opt to replace the lack of hormones with medication.
But all in all, it is still best to consult and seek help from a medical professional. This way, you can easily pinpoint and address all your health problems.