What Is The Thyroid Gland
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is located in the lower part of the neck, in front of the windpipe and below the nut or thyroid cartilage.
It is composed of 2 lobes and a central portion that unites these lobes called the isthmus. This gland has a very important function in the body as it is responsible for producing two hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyronine , which are secreted into the bloodstream and then distributed to all tissues of the body.
The hormones produced by the thyroid, help the body to use energy, intervene in the regulation of temperature and in the proper functioning of the brain, heart, muscles and many other organs.
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.
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 .
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How Is Hypothyroidism Diagnosed
The correct diagnosis of hypothyroidism will be made through the signs and symptoms that the patient presents , the search for relevant data in the medical history , the physical examination performed by the doctor and a blood test.
Hypothyroidism does not have any characteristic symptoms, and there are no symptoms that are present in all people with hypothyroidism.
Is Hypothyroidism During Pregnancy A Problem
Left untreated, hypothyroidism during pregnancy can affect both mother and baby. However, thyroid medicines can help prevent problems and are safe to take during pregnancy. Many women taking thyroid hormone medicine need a higher dose during pregnancy, so contact your doctor right away if you find out youre pregnant.
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Ways To Treat Thyroid At Home
The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland controls most of the metabolic processes of the body. Thermoregulation, hormonal function, and weight management are just some of the important functions of this gland.
Those who suffer from thyroid problems can look at home remedies to deal with the issue more comprehensively. Here are a few home remedies that work in thyroid problems.
If An Underactive Thyroid Isn’t Treated
It’s unlikely that you’d have many of the later symptoms of an underactive thyroid, because the condition is often identified before more serious symptoms appear.
Later symptoms of an underactive thyroid include:
- a low-pitched and hoarse voice
- a puffy-looking face
- thinned or partly missing eyebrows
- a slow heart rate
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What Does The Thyroid Do
Your thyroid has an important job to do within your body releasing and controlling thyroid hormones that control metabolism. Metabolism is a process where the food you take into your body is transformed into energy. This energy is used throughout your entire body to keep many of your bodys systems working correctly. Think of your metabolism as a generator. It takes in raw energy and uses it to power something bigger.
The thyroid controls your metabolism with a few specific hormones T4 and T3 . These two hormones are created by the thyroid and they tell the bodys cells how much energy to use. When your thyroid works properly, it will maintain the right amount of hormones to keep your metabolism working at the right rate. As the hormones are used, the thyroid creates replacements.
This is all supervised by something called the pituitary gland. Located in the center of the skull, below your brain, the pituitary gland monitors and controls the amount of thyroid hormones in your bloodstream. When the pituitary gland senses a lack of thyroid hormones or a high level of hormones in your body, it will adjust the amounts with its own hormone. This hormone is called thyroid stimulating hormone . The TSH will be sent to the thyroid and it will tell the thyroid what needs to be done to get the body back to normal.
Treating An Underactive Thyroid
Treatment for an underactive thyroid involves taking daily hormone replacement tablets, called levothyroxine, to raise your thyroxine levels. You’ll usually need treatment for the rest of your life. However, with proper treatment, you should be able to lead a normal, healthy life.
If an underactive thyroid isn’t treated, it can lead to complications, including heart disease, goitre, pregnancy problems and a life-threatening condition called myxoedema coma .
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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Thyroid Surgery
It will take your body a few weeks to recover after your thyroid is surgically removed . During this time you should avoid a few things, including:
- Submerging your incision under water.
- Lifting an object thats heavier than 15 pounds.
- Doing more than light exercise.
This generally lasts for about two weeks. After that, you can return to your normal activities.
Can Thyroid Disease Cause Problems Getting Pregnant
Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can make it harder for you to get . This is because problems with the thyroid hormone can upset the balance of the hormones that cause ovulation. Hypothyroidism can also cause your body to make more prolactin, the hormone that tells your body to make breastmilk. Too much prolactin can prevent .
Thyroid problems can also affect the . Your periods may be heavier or irregular, or you may not have any periods at all for several months or longer .
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How Do Doctors Diagnose Hypothyroidism
Your doctor will take your medical history and perform a physical exam. A hypothyroidism diagnosis cant be based on symptoms alone because many of its symptoms are the same as those of other diseases.1 Thats why your doctor may use several thyroid blood tests and imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis and find its cause.
Because hypothyroidism can cause fertility problems, women who have trouble getting pregnant often get tested for thyroid problems.
How Is Thyroid Hormone Replacement Therapy Dosage Determined
Healthcare providers do careful blood testing to find the proper dose of hormone replacement therapy for each person. The blood tests reveal levels of thyroid hormones in the blood, as well as thyroid-stimulating hormone released by the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland plays an integral role in the functioning of the thyroid gland. It controls how much thyroid hormone is released by making TSH that “stimulates” the thyroid. Increased levels of TSH may indicate that you have an underactive thyroid or that thyroid hormone replacement needs to be increased.
You will have lab tests to measure levels of thyroid hormones and TSH. Hypothyroidism can be a progressive disease. This needs dosage increases over time.
To make sure that your thyroid hormone replacement works properly, consider the following recommendations:
Maintain regular visits to your healthcare provider.
Take your thyroid medicine at least 1 hour before breakfast and any calcium or iron medicines you may take. Or take at bedtime, or at least 3 hours after eating or taking any calcium or iron medicines.
Tell your healthcare provider of your thyroid hormone treatment before beginning treatment for any other disease. Some treatments for other conditions or diseases can affect the dosage of thyroid hormone therapy.
Let your healthcare provider know if you become pregnant.
Tell your healthcare provider of any new symptoms that may arise.
Tell all healthcare providers of your thyroid condition and medicine dosage.
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How Does Thyroid Disease Affect Pregnancy
Pregnancy-related hormones raise the level of thyroid hormones in the blood. Thyroid hormones are necessary for the baby’s brain development while in the womb.
It can be harder to diagnose thyroid problems during pregnancy because of the change in hormone levels that normally happen during pregnancy. But it is especially important to check for problems before getting pregnant and during pregnancy. Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause problems for both mother and baby.
Hyperthyroidism that is not treated with medicine during pregnancy can cause:
- Premature birth
- a serious condition starting after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia causes high blood pressure and problems with the kidneys and other organs. The only cure for preeclampsia is childbirth.
- Thyroid storm
- Fast heart rate in the newborn, which can lead to heart failure, poor weight gain, or an enlarged thyroid that can make it hard to breathe
- Low birth weight
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- What type of thyroiditis do I have?
- What is the likely cause of my thyroiditis?
- What are the results of my blood test? What do these results mean?
- Will I need to take medicine? If so, for how long and what are the side effects?
- Are there any lifestyle or diet changes I can make to manage symptoms?
- What is my risk of long-term health problems?
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Natural Remedies For Hypothyroidism
The standard treatment for hypothyroidism is taking daily thyroid hormone replacement medication. Of course, medications often come with side effects, and forgetting to take a pill might lead to more symptoms.
In some cases, natural remedies may cause fewer side effects and fit into your overall lifestyle better.
The goal of natural remedies or alternative medicine is to fix the root cause of the thyroid problem. Thyroid problems sometimes start as the result of:
Changing your diet and taking an herbal supplement are two ways you can help your thyroid condition. These options may have fewer side effects than taking thyroid medication.
Also, taking an herbal supplement to help address a low or underactive thyroid may be helpful for people who arent responding well to medications.
Consider the following five natural remedies as additions or alternatives to your treatment plan.
, selenium is a trace element that plays a part in thyroid hormone metabolism.
Many foods contain selenium, including:
- Brazil nuts
- grass-fed beef
Hashimotos thyroiditis, an immune system attack on the thyroid, often reduces the bodys selenium supply. Supplementing this trace element has shown to help balance thyroxine, or T4, levels in some people.
Its important to talk with your doctor about how much selenium may be right for you since every person is different.
How Long After My Thyroid Is Removed Will My Tiredness Go Away
Typically, you will be given medication to help with your symptoms right after surgery. Your body actually has thyroid hormone still circulating throughout it, even after the thyroid has been removed. The hormones can still be in your body for two to three weeks. Medication will reintroduce new hormones into your body after the thyroid has been removed. If you are still feeling tired after surgery, remember that this can be a normal part of recovering from any type of surgery. It takes time for your body to heal. Talk to your healthcare provider if you are still experiencing fatigue and other symptoms of thyroid disease after surgery.
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Iodine Supplements With Iodized Salt
The most common cause of hypothyroidism in the world is a lack of iodine in the diet. However, this doesnt apply to people in the United States, where dietary iodine is plentiful. This trace element is a key ingredient in iodized salt , and its also naturally present in certain foods, such as seaweed and milk products.
While iodine supplements are widely available, people with hypothyroidism should steer clear of such products . If you have hypothyroidism, too much iodine may increase your risk for:
- Thyroid cancer
The recommended daily amount of iodine is 150 micrograms per day for adults older than 18. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need more: 220 mcg and 290 mcg per day, respectively.
Iodine is of special interest to people concerned about their thyroid health because of its natural effects on thyroid hormones. First, iodine plays a role in TSH and subsequent T3 and T4 hormones. Without enough iodine in the body, TSH cant signal the thyroid to make enough hormones. This can lead to an enlarged thyroid gland .
With hypothyroidism, iodine can either cause too much thyroid hormone or a suppression of thyroid hormones.
Why Home Remedies For Thyroid
Some benefits of using home or natural remedies for treating thyroid are:
- Minimal to no side-effects at all.
- Easy to incorporate into everyday lifestyle.
- Regulates the thyroid gland and also treats related symptoms.
Did You Know?
Thyroid hormone regulates the bodys metabolism, and fluctuations in this hormone level can lead to lower metabolism and weight gain.
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Understanding The Causes Of Hypothyroidism And How Its Diagnosed
First, its important to understand what the thyroid gland is and how it works.
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the bottom-front of your neck and is responsible for many of your bodys metabolic processes. During hypothyroidism , the gland doesnt produce enough thyroid hormones, including triiodothyronine and thyroxine .
What Natural Home Remedies And Supplements Treat Thyroid Problems
Supplements that contain large amounts of iodine such as seaweed can make thyroid hormone levels go very high or very low if you have nodular goiter and a history of an autoimmune thyroid condition such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease.
There is no scientific evidence that herbal supplements, yoga poses, natural thyroid treatments, or natural thyroid remedies improve thyroid health and function. Dietary supplements are not regulated by any agency and therefore there is no quality control of these supplements. It is not recommended that any supplement be taken for thyroid health.
Don’t take supplements for your thyroid problem without consulting a doctor.
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Does It Have An Associated Genetic Component
Several thyroid diseases have an associated genetic component, especially those in which the immune system intervenes, such as autoimmune hypothyroidism .
Susceptibility to this type of hypothyroidism depends on a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and the risk of suffering it is increased, especially among siblings .
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.
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Can I Live A Normal Life With A Thyroid Disease
A thyroid disease is often a life-long medical condition that you will need to manage constantly. This often involves a daily medication. Your healthcare provider will monitor your treatments and make adjustments over time. However, you can usually live a normal life with a thyroid disease. It may take some time to find the right treatment option for you and control your hormone levels, but then people with these types of conditions can usually live life without many restrictions.
If You Have Radioactive Iodine Ablation
Even though it uses tiny amounts of radiation, radioactive iodine ablation is a safe treatment. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about any risks and possible complications. You will likely receive the iodine at the hospital and go home the same day. The risk from the radiation to yourself and others is very small. However, you may need to stay away from other people for several days. It is most important to avoid children and pregnant women during this time.
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What Causes Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism has several causes. They include
- Grave’s disease, an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system attacks your thyroid and causes it to make too much hormone. This is the most common cause.
- Thyroid nodules, which are growths on your thyroid. They are usually benign . But they may become overactive and make too much thyroid hormone. Thyroid nodules are more common in older adults.
- Thyroiditis, inflammation of the thyroid. It causes stored thyroid hormone to leak out of your thyroid gland.
- Too much iodine. Iodine is found in some medicines, cough syrups, seaweed and seaweed-based supplements. Taking too much of them can cause your thyroid to make too much thyroid hormone.
- Too much thyroid medicine. This can happen if people who take thyroid hormone medicine for hypothyroidism take too much of it.