What Are 10 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Thyroid Function
1. Make sure you are taking a high quality multivitamin with Iodine, Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin D, and B vitamins.
2. Go gluten-free! If you have Hashimotos, try going completely grain and legume free.
3. Deal with your stress and support your adrenal glands. The adrenal glands and thyroid work hand and hand. I recommend restorative yoga and adaptogenic herbs which support the adrenal glands in coping with stress.
4. Get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night.
5. Have a biological dentist safely remove any amalgam fillings you may have.
6. Watch your intake of raw goitrogens. There is a bit of a debate surrounding this.
7. Get fluoride, bromide and chlorine out of your diet and environment.
8. Heal your gut. A properly functioning digestive system is critical to good health.
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9. Find a functional medicine doctor in your area and have them run the above laboratory test and work with you to find your root cause of the thyroid imbalance.
Common Signs Of Thyroid Disease In Children
The thyroid gland which is located at the front of the neck near the clavicles is responsible for the rate of all metabolic and chemical processes in our body, in every cell, tissue and organ. Thyroid gland disorders consequently have a profound effect upon the human body. When the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone , the condition is called hyperthyroidism. When the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone , the condition is called hypothyroidism. Thyroid problems can occur at any age infants can even be born with a thyroid problem!According to the American Diabetes Association and the Pediatric Endocrine Society, parents should look for the following symptoms that may indicate problems with their childs thyroid.
Signs of hyperthyroidism can include:
The most common cause of hyperthyroidism in children and adolescents is an autoimmune condition called Graves disease which causes the body to produce antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland uncontrollably, making too much thyroid hormone.
Signs of hypothyroidism can include:
What Are The Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism has many symptoms that can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms of hypothyroidism include
- thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid
- congenital hypothyroidism, or hypothyroidism that is present at birth
- surgical removal of part or all of the thyroid
- radiation treatment of the thyroid
- some medicines
Less often, hypothyroidism is caused by too much or too little iodine in the diet or by disorders of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus.1 Iodine deficiency, however, is extremely rare in the United States.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism
Symptoms of hypothyroidism develop slowly, often over several years. At first, you may feel tired and sluggish. Later, you may develop other signs and symptoms of a slowed-down metabolism, including:
- Feeling cold when other people do not
- A hoarse voice
- More than usual menstrual bleeding
You also may have high LDL or “bad” cholesterol, which can raise your risk for heart disease.
When To Call A Doctor
In most cases, problems with your thyroid arent an emergency. If you feel you have some of the symptoms above, you can simply make an appointment with your doctor to discuss testing and treatment options. However, you should call your doctor immediately if:
- Youre very drowsy, cold, and lethargic. This could be the start of a myxedema coma, which is caused by hypothyroidism that eventually leads to unconsciousness and in some cases death.
- You have a rapid pulse, accompanied by a fever, agitation, or delirium. This can indicate thyrotoxic crisis, a complication of hyperthyroidism.
Its not always easy to know if you have a problem with your thyroid. Knowing some of the common symptoms of an underactive or overactive thyroid will help give you an idea of you need to talk to your doctor.
Talk with your primary care provider about testing and treatment of thyroid issues. They may refer you to an endocrinologist or thyroid specialist for follow-up care.
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How Is Thyroid Cancer Treated
The main treatment for thyroid cancer is surgery to take out the whole thyroid gland or as much of it as can be safely removed. Surgery alone can cure thyroid cancer if the cancer is small and has not yet spread to lymph nodes.
Your doctor may also use radioiodine therapy after surgery. Radioiodine therapy destroys any thyroid cancer cells that were not removed during surgery or that have spread to other parts of the body.
Your doctor may also talk with you about other treatments for thyroid cancer. Learn more about thyroid cancer treatments at the National Cancer Institute.
How Are Thyroid Diseases Diagnosed
It can be hard to tell if you have a thyroid disease. The symptoms are the same as many other health problems. Your doctor may start by asking about your health history and if any of your family members has had thyroid disease. Your doctor may also give you a physical exam and check your neck for thyroid nodules.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may also do other tests, such as:
- Blood tests. Testing the level of thyroid stimulating hormone in your blood can help your doctor figure out if your thyroid is overactive or underactive. TSH tells your thyroid to make thyroid hormones. Depending on the results, your doctor might do another blood test to check levels of one or both thyroid hormones in your blood.
- Radioactive iodine uptake test. For this test, you swallow a liquid or capsule that holds a small dose of radioactive iodine . The radioiodine collects in your thyroid because your thyroid uses iodine to make thyroid hormone.
High levels of radioiodine mean that your thyroid makes too much of the thyroid hormone. Low levels mean that your thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormone.
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How Are Thyroid Nodules Treated
Treatment depends on the type of nodule or nodules that you have. Treatments include:
- Watchful waiting. If your nodule is not cancerous, your doctor may decide to just watch your condition. You will get regular physical exams, blood tests, and perhaps thyroid ultrasound tests. If your nodule does not change, you may not need further treatment.
- Surgery. Surgery may be necessary to take out nodules that may be cancerous or large nodules that cause problems breathing or swallowing.
- Radioiodine. This type of treatment is helpful if you have nodules that make too much thyroid hormone. Radioiodine causes nodules to shrink and make smaller amounts of thyroid hormone.
Does Your Skin Look Different
It can be itchy and dry if your thyroid is underperforming. This has to do with skin turnover, Prudence Hall, MD, from The Hall Center, says. It slows down which means there are older cells still on the skin. You may find your nails very breakable all of a sudden. Insufficient thyroid hormone slows down metabolism, which reduces sweating. The dryness can be extreme, this may cause no sweating and the palms and soles to get thick and dry.
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Who Is At Risk For Hyperthyroidism
You are at higher risk for hyperthyroidism if you:
- Are a woman
- Are older than age 60
- Have been pregnant or had a baby within the past 6 months
- Have had thyroid surgery or a thyroid problem, such as goiter
- Have a family history of thyroid disease
- Have pernicious anemia, in which the body cannot make enough healthy red blood cells because it does not have enough vitamin B12
- Have type 1 diabetes or primary adrenal insufficiency, a hormonal disorder
- Get too much iodine, from eating large amounts of foods containing iodine or using iodine-containing medicines or supplements
How Is Hyperthyroidism Treated
Your doctor’s choice of treatment will depend on your symptoms and the cause of your hyperthyroidism. Treatments include:
- Antithyroid medicines block your thyroid from making new thyroid hormone. These drugs do not cause lasting damage to the thyroid.
- Beta-blockers block the effects of thyroid hormone on your body. These medicines can be helpful in slowing your heart rate and treating other symptoms until one of the other forms of treatment can take effect. Beta-blockers do not reduce the amount of thyroid hormones that are made.
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Reproductive Changes In Women Could Mean You Have Low Thyroid
Women are at an increased risk for developing thyroid disease. Women are also more likely to develop thyroid conditions after pregnancy and following menopause.
Women may experience a change in their menstrual cycle if their thyroid function is off, says Dodell. Not only might you experience irregularities in your cycle, but hypothyroidism may also cause periods that are much heavier than normal.
Women who are trying to conceive may have difficulties getting pregnant. Therefore, women who are trying to get pregnant or are planning to try and get pregnant in the near future should have their thyroid levels checked, Dodell explains. We also monitor women who are being treated for hypothyroidism closely during pregnancy, since the dose of medication may need to be adjusted.
Menopausal women may experience worsening symptoms. Early menopause is a side effect of hypothyroidism this occurs when the onset of menopause is before age 40.
What Should You Do If You Think You Have Signs And Symptoms Of A Thyroid Disorder Which Type Of Doctors Treat Thyroid Problems
- Thyroid disease is a broad spectrum of disorders that may or may not lead to enlargement of the thyroid gland itself or the presence of lumps or nodules.
- Signs and symptoms of thyroid disease are apparent when the gland is over- or under-producing thyroid hormone.
- It is important to remember that none of these symptoms described in this article is specific for thyroid disease.
- A number of different conditions and normal states may cause all of them.
- Your doctor or endocrinologist can order laboratory tests to evaluate the function of your thyroid gland if you have troubling symptoms.
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What Does A Thyroid Problem Mean
Without enough thyroid hormones, every system in the body slows down, says Turner. Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid disease, causes a variety of symptomsand they vary in everyone. Those who suffer from hypothyroidism feel tired and tend to sleep a lot, says Turner. They can also experience extremely dry skin, hair loss, even slower mental processes. Their digestion is slow and weight gain typically occurs.
While these symptoms can happen to anyone for a variety of reasons, even just a change of seasons, Turner recommends visiting your doctor for a blood test if you experience two or more of the following symptoms:
- Frequently feeling cold or having an intolerance of cold temperatures
- Dry skin, brittle hair, and splitting nails
- Lack of or diminished ability to sweat during exercise
- Hair loss
- Unexplained weight gain or an inability to lose weight
- Many individuals with hypothyroidism have associated iron-deficient anemia and/or high cholesterol
Signs You Might Have A Thyroid Problem
When your thyroid stops working as it should, you can experience a variety of symptoms that might seem unrelated or even odd. From chills and brain fog to thinning hair and weight gain, if your thyroid isnt functioning well, you may be experiencing symptoms that are subtle and hard to characterize.
Women are more likely to experience issues with their thyroid, but anyone can suffer thyroid problems. Recognizing the symptoms of an overactive or underactive thyroid is the best way to get the treatment you need.
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Favorite Orgs For Essential Hypothyroidism Symptoms Info
As leading professionals on all things endocrinology, the physicians and experts from the Endocrine Society offer the latest research and 101 information on hypothyroidism. The Hormone Health Networks overview of hypothyroidism in particular is required reading for the latter, as its overview page offers key intel on how to spot signs of hypothyroidism and receive a prompt diagnosis.
Established in 1913, the American Thyroid Association is one of the oldest-serving organizations dedicated to thyroid health and research. Such extensive expertise informs their page on hypothyroidism, which not only discusses short-term symptoms, but also what you can expect with this condition down the road. Also be sure to check out the ATAs subpages on specific hypothyroid concerns, such as their Thyroid and Weight page, as weight changes are a key concern for people with this thyroid disease.
How Is Hypothyroidism Treated
Hypothyroidism is treated with medicine that gives your body the thyroid hormone it needs to work normally. The most common medicines are man-made forms of the hormone that your thyroid makes. You will likely need to take thyroid hormone pills for the rest of your life. When you take the pills as your doctor tells you to, the pills are very safe.
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Favorite Hypothyroid Symptom App
Unlike other smartphone apps that focus on your health more generally, Boost Thyroid includes specific measurements related to your thyroid health. Not only can you include your T4 and T3 levels after your blood work, but this free app has you track your symptoms, lifestyle, and supplement intake. Such data can be significant when reading it against your lab work, so we suggest showing your doctor the app and your tracking information to see how your symptoms may correlate with your current treatment plan. Download it on Google Play or the App Store.
Feeling Chilly Or Overheated
Blood pressure is directly linked to circulation. Low circulation will result in feelings of being chilled. You might find that you are reaching for a sweater when others are feeling just fine. If you are always cold or notice that your hands and feet become particularly chilled when uncovered, you may be experiencing a symptom of hypothyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism might present in the opposite way. This could cause you to feel hot flashes or experience excessive sweating.
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Did You Suddenly Gain Or Lose Weight
One of the most common signs of a thyroid not working right is gained weight, especially among ???. An underactive thyroid can significantly slow down your metabolism. Having trouble losing a few pounds can also be a sign of hypothyroidism. The other extreme is losing weight fast. This may be due to an overactive thyroid gland.
Do You Have Trouble Sleeping
Its not normal to feel like you need to sleep for hours during the day, every day. A sluggish thyroid can do that to you. On the other hand, an overactive gland can make you stay awake when you shouldnt be, by making you anxious and increasing your pulse. The condition overstimulates the nervous system, making it hard to fall asleep.
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Are There Different Types Of Thyroid Removal Surgery
If your healthcare provider determines that your thyroid needs to be removed, there are a couple of ways that can be done. Your thyroid may need to be completely removed or just partially. This will depend on the severity of your condition. Also, if your thyroid is very big or has a lot of growths on it, that could prevent you from being eligible for some types of surgery.
The surgery to remove your thyroid is called a thyroidectomy. There are two main ways this surgery can be done:
- With an incision on the front of your neck.
- With an incision in your armpit.
The incision on the front of your neck is more of the traditional version of a thyroidectomy. It allows your surgeon to go straight in and remove the thyroid. In many cases, this might be your best option. You may need this approach if your thyroid is particularly big or has a lot of larger nodules.
Alternatively, there is a version of the thyroid removal surgery where your surgeon makes an incision in your armpit and then creates a tunnel to your thyroid. This tunnel is made with a special tool called an elevated retractor. It creates an opening that connects the incision in your armpit with your neck. The surgeon will use a robotic arm that will move through the tunnel to get to the thyroid. Once there, it can remove the thyroid back through the tunnel and out of the incision in your armpit.
- Are not at a healthy body weight.
- Have large thyroid nodules.
- Have a condition like thyroiditis or Gravess disease.
Other Causes Of Hypothyroidism
In some cases, hypothyroidism results from a problem with the pituitary gland, which is at the base of the brain. This gland produces thyroid-stimulating hormone , which tells the thyroid to do its job. If your pituitary gland does not produce enough TSH, levels of thyroid hormones will fall. Other causes of hypothyroidism include temporary inflammation of the thyroid or medications that affect thyroid function.
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