It could be your thyroid
You’ve heard that before. Your best friend has some experience with thyroid problems and suggested over dinner that you may be dealing with a similar issue.
Thyroid conditions aren’t that uncommon as it turns out. About 200 million individuals worldwide cope with a thyroid problem according to some estimates.
So… maybe it is your thyroid!
Getting to know your thyroid
Understanding what your thyroid does and how it normally works is important in order to really comprehend what causes it to have issues.
In your neck, just beneath your larynx, sits a butterfly shaped gland called the thyroid. Your thyroid isn’t something you can see or feel and when it’s healthy you won’t even notice it.
Your thyroid breaks down iodine from your food, creating necessary hormones that help your body function and regulate your metabolism. That makes your thyroid pretty indispensable, even if you don’t really notice it’s there.
There are two fundamental ways that your thyroid can lead to problems. Either your thyroid can be overly active or not active enough, either way, you’ll start to notice symptoms.
When your thyroid becomes overactive
A thyroid that’s too active results in a condition known as hyperthyroidism. Too many hormones that help control your metabolism are produced when this condition occurs. Your body’s rhythms accelerate. And, look, that might sound like a good thing (you might assume it means you can eat like a teenager again), but this increased metabolism can cause all kinds of issues, like excess sweating, rapid heartbeat, sudden loss of weight, irritability, and more. You could even wind up with an enlarged thyroid.
A wide variety of issues, from Graves’ Disease to hyperthyroiditis, can lead to an enlarged thyroid. Sometimes, it’s genetic or hereditary. It more often tends to develop in women or people who suffer from chronic illnesses.
Treatment for overactive thyroid typically includes:
- Radioactive iodine treatment
It can often take a couple of months for these treatments to take effect before you begin to feel better.
When your thyroid falls behind
Hypothyroidism is the term for an underactive thyroid. This means a slower metabolism. Weight gain (or the inability to lose weight even with exercise and a good diet), loss of hair, sluggishness, or brittle nails are all typical symptoms of this condition. An overall feeling of exhaustion can also happen.
The causes of hypothyroidism might include:
- Congenital disease
- Iodine deficiency
- Pituitary disorders
Synthetic hormones are normally included in these treatments. Once you begin taking these hormones, you’ll normally start feeling better.
How can you tell when your thyroid is hyper-or-under active?
It can be tricky to diagnose a thyroid condition. They can often pass themselves off as other conditions. So if you were dealing with a thyroid problem, how could you tell? Watch out for these 6 symptoms, and make an appointment with us if you detect them.
- Weight changes: Weight changes can happen from both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. You’ll unexpectedly lose weight when your thyroid is hyperactive. That weight will be hard to get rid of when your thyroid is underactive. Weight changes may not be inherently good or bad, but an inability to influence your weight can be alarming.
- Sleep issues: If hyperthyroidism is giving you too much energy to lay still, it can cause sleep loss. Hypothyroidism can make it hard to get up in the morning, you don’t have the energy to wake up! If you’re experiencing either of these, it may be caused by thyroid problems.
- Enlarged neck: Your neck, in some instances, will make room. You might see a lump growing on your neck in these cases. We tend to call this type of growth a goiter. And an enlarged thyroid could be what that goiter is telling you. You should come see us as soon as possible if you detect this.
- Trouble swallowing: Your neck only has so much room in there. A hyperactive thyroid has a tendency to get bigger. And if your thyroid is enlarging, it will probably cause a little bit of difficulty swallowing. That’s because your esophagus might be getting crowded out by your thyroid.
- Heart rate changes: Gaining or losing weight is how most individuals think of metabolism changes, but you can be physically affected by the rate at which your body transforms food into energy, which is the general definition of metabolism. When your thyroid causes your metabolism to speed up or slow down, for example, sudden changes in your heart rate can happen.
- Brain Fog: When your body isn’t generating or utilizing energy efficiently, your nervous system slows. You can feel fatigued and sluggish, even when it comes to your thinking. Most doctors call this “brain fog,” and it can be a considerable symptom of thyroid problems.
It’s not difficult for doctors to treat thyroid issues
You want your thyroid gland to function as normally as possible. That way, your body eliminates iodine, and you get the metabolism-regulating hormones you need. We can help you find a solution if something is wrong. With appropriate treatment, you will improve.
Make an appointment for a consultation as soon as you can.