Most of us may not be mindful of a certain health problem that has plagued millions of people each year. This problem involves our thyroid glands and that it can be at risk of not functioning normally.
What is the thyroid gland?
Our thyroid is an organ that is shaped like a butterfly and is located at the base of the Adam’s apple in front of our neck. Although our thyroid is small, it has a multitude of uses for our body mostly involving the hormones and metabolism.
Our thyroid is necessary for releasing hormones that speed up our metabolism and regulates digestive, muscle, heart and brain functions.
Over 20 million people suffer from thyroid failure in the United States with most of them not even realizing that they have the problem.
What causes the thyroid gland to malfunction?
When the thyroid gland begins to act up, it becomes a disease known as Hypothyroidism. This is very common, especially in women. When a person has this disorder, the thyroid gland either produces too much or too little hormones for the body.
Our thyroid gland also regulates how the cells in our body use the energy from the food we eat. This is better known as our metabolism. How our metabolism process goes will also dictate our mood, energy, temperature and our ability to burn fat. That is why it is important to make sure that our thyroid glands work normally.
When our body produces too little hormones, our body functions also slows down. When our body slows down, less energy is produced therefore making us sluggish and tired. On the other hand, when our body produces too many hormones, our bodies become more jittery and hyperactive.
The reasons that cause hypothyroidism are as follows:
– Surgery involving radiation in the neck area
For certain individuals who are inflicted with cancers like lymphoma, surgery would be required. This type of surgery usually involves radiation therapy. However, excess radiation can also damage the thyroid cells. As a result, the thyroid gland is unable to produce hormones.
– Using certain types of prescription medicines
Some medications treat heart diseases, cancers, and mental disorders. However, these medications can also affect the hormones that are produced in the thyroid glands.
– Surgery in the thyroid
When surgery is done to remove the thyroid, the chances of getting affected by hypothyroidism is high. It is because it is difficult for hormones to be produced with the lack of the thyroid organ.
– Consuming not enough iodine in your diet
Iodine is a mineral that is needed by the body to release thyroid hormones. Since our bodies do not produce iodine, we need to get it from certain foods like eggs, dairy, fish, and seaweed.
What are the signs indicating thyroid failure?
So, what happens when our thyroid is not working properly? Here are ten signs that indicate a thyroid problem:
- Your skin becomes dry, scaly, and constantly itchy
When too little hormones are produced by the thyroid gland, it causes our skin to become dry and crusty and also itchy.
- Your hair starts to thin, or you will experience hair loss
The growth of our hair depends greatly on the functions of the thyroid gland. When there is excess hormone production, our hair will become thin. When there is too little hormone produced, hair loss will also occur.
- You will feel abrupt changes in your mood
When you suddenly feel anxious today then tired and sluggish next, that means your thyroid is acting up. When there is an overproduction of hormones, the brain becomes more stimulated causing a person to feel jittery or anxious. On the other hand, underproduction of hormones makes a person tired, lethargic or even easily depressed.
- You will experience sudden changes in your weight
Since the hormones produced in the thyroid is responsible for our metabolism, a thyroid malfunction can significantly affect our weight. Too much hormones can make you lose weight faster while too little hormones will have the opposite effect.
- You will experience irregular menstruation and cycles
Women have higher risks of thyroid malfunction, and this can affect menstrual cycles. When there aren’t enough hormones in the body, it will make menstruation longer and heavier. Meanwhile, overproduction makes periods lighter and shorter.
- Your body temperature becomes unusual
A properly function thyroid gland also helps regulate our body temperature. When there are too little hormones produced, it will make us feel colder. If too much hormones are produced, our bodies become overly warm and making us feel sweaty and hot.
- Your bowel activity becomes unpredictable
When our thyroid is working properly, it also helps regulate our bowel movement. When there is an underproduction of hormones, we experience frequent constipation. However, when there is overproduction, we will experience the opposite effect.
- You will experience changes in your sleep pattern
The hormones produced in our thyroid also help us when it comes to sleeping. Too little hormones even after a good night’s sleep can still make you feel tired and fatigued. Meanwhile, an excess in hormone production can also cause insomnia.
- Your neck starts experiencing discomfort or becomes enlarged
When there are too little or too much hormones produced, it leads to enlargement of the thyroid gland. As a result, it makes the neck appear swollen. This can cause discomfort around the neck area.
- You will experience brain fog or have difficulty remembering or concentrating
Our brain is also dependent on the hormones produced by the thyroid. Underproduction of hormones leads to temporary memory loss while overproduction can make it difficult to focus.
How to reverse a malfunctioning thyroid problem?
If you experience one or more of this problems consistently, it is advisable to seek out your doctor. In the same way, there are certain habits that you can also try to reduce the risk. This includes:
– Taking doctor recommended nutritional supplements
– Trying traditional treatments like acupuncture, yoga, and meditation
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