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What Does The Thyroid Do For Your Body

What Happens When My Thyroid Is Out Of Whack

What Does Your Thyroid Do? 10 Important Functions You Should Know

When your thyroid stops doing its job, different problems can occur. Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid slows down, doesnt make enough thyroid hormone, and your metabolism becomes sluggish, while hyperthyroidism is the opposite of hypothyroidism. This condition occurs when your thyroid produces a surplus of thyroid hormones, putting your metabolism into overdrive. Other thyroid problems include:

  • Goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid
  • Thyroid nodules, usually benign growths, cause hyperthyroidism
  • Graves disease, an autoimmune disease that causes hyperthyroidism
  • Hashimotos disease, another faulty immune response, causes hypothyroidism

Thyroid problems are confusing sometimes because of the breadth of symptoms you can experience. Theyre incredibly varied, from puffiness in your face to dry skin and hair loss, from menstrual irregularities to muscle aches, and emotional effects, like a lack of clarity and depression. A thyroid issue can even cause your voice to weaken.

Iodine is necessary for your thyroid to produce thyroid hormones. Excess iodine or a deficiency can cause your thyroid to either overproduce or underproduce hormones, respectively.

The trouble with a thyroid problem, no matter what its origin, is that it can potentially impact your overall health quite quickly, and tip the scale in an unhealthy direction, whether thats upward or downward. The bottom line is that when your thyroid is compromised, your body systems experience significant disequilibrium.

Can I Use Thyroid Medicines For Weight Loss

When someone has an underactive thyroid gland, they are given a medicine to boost their levels of thyroxine. This medicine is called levothyroxine. Sometimes this can help the person lose weight, if their underactive thyroid gland has caused them to put on weight. See the separate leaflet called Underactive Thyroid Gland .

Unfortunately, as you can imagine, some unsavoury people get hold of levothyroxine and then try to sell it as a weight loss cure.

Be careful: its true that taking lots of levothyroxine could make you lose weight but it will also be very harmful to your body. It will turn you into having an overactive thyroid gland with all of the bad effects of that condition that have been discussed in this leaflet.

The best and healthiest way to lose weight is to eat healthily. See the separate leaflet called Weight Loss for help on losing weight.

Spotlight On Aging: Thyroid Gland Changes In Older People

Aging itself has only minor effects on the thyroid gland and thyroid hormones. As people get older, the thyroid gland shrinks and shifts lower in the neck. The level of the thyroid hormone triiodothyronine may fall slightly, but the speed of vital functions changes very little. However, thyroid disorders become more common with aging.

Disorders that affect thyroid function, particularly hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, can be thought of as great masqueraders in older people. These disorders often cause symptoms that are easily mistaken for symptoms of other conditions or even as signs of getting old.

Increased or decreased thyroid function can dramatically worsen the way an older person feels and can greatly diminish the ability to carry out daily activities. For these reasons, the great masqueraders must be unmasked and recognized for what they are so that they can be effectively treated.

Screening older people for hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism is helpful. Some experts recommend measuring the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone in the blood in people over 65 every 5 years.

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How Does The Thyroid Affect Your Reproductive System

Women are more likely than men to have thyroid disease. In fact, 1 in 8 women will develop thyroid problems during her lifetime. In women, thyroid function affects the menstrual cycle, ovulation, and pregnancy.

Because your thyroid helps control your menstrual cycle, too much or too little thyroid hormone can make menstruation very light, heavy, or irregular. Thyroid disease also can cause menstruation to stop for several months or longer.

Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can make it harder to get pregnant. This is because thyroid dysfunction can disrupt the hormones that cause ovulation. Hypothyroidism can also cause your body to produce more prolactin, the hormone that tells your body to make breastmilk. Too much prolactin can prevent ovulation.

It can be harder to diagnose thyroid problems during pregnancy because of the change in hormone levels that normally happen during this time. Still, it is especially important to check for problems before getting pregnant and during pregnancy. Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause problems for both mother and baby, such as low birth weight, preeclampsia, miscarriage, and premature birth.

Overview Of The Thyroid Gland

Why Your Thyroid Medication May Not Be Working

, MD, MS, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

The thyroid is a small gland, measuring about 2 inches across, that lies just under the skin below the Adams apple in the neck. The two halves of the gland are connected in the middle , giving the thyroid gland the shape of a bow tie. Normally, the thyroid gland cannot be seen and can barely be felt. If it becomes enlarged, doctors can feel it easily, and a prominent bulge may appear below or to the sides of the Adams apple.

The thyroid gland secretes thyroid hormones, which control the speed at which the bodys chemical functions proceed . Thyroid hormones influence the metabolic rate in two ways:

    Thyroid hormones affect many vital body functions, such as the heart rate, the rate at which calories are burned, skin maintenance, growth, heat production, fertility, and digestion.

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    Family Medicine Vs Internal Medicine Physicians

    Although family medicine and internal medicine physicians can both treat adults, the American College of Physicians say that there are some key differences.

    For example, internal medicine doctors have training in both general medicine and subspecialties. They also tend to be more focused on medical issues that affect adults.

    Family physicians, meanwhile, have broader training in medicine that allows them to care for both children and adults. They can treat a wide range of medical issues and emphasize disease prevention and health maintenance.

    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.

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    Diagnosing And Treating Thyroid Disorders

    Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are generally easy to diagnose using a simple blood test to measure the amount of thyroid hormones in the blood.

    There are several different treatment options for patients suffering from either condition, including hormone replacement therapy for hypothyroidism or drugs to limit thyroid function for hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism also can be permanently corrected by surgically removing all, or part, of the gland.

    While both conditions can usually be treated successfully, its rarely a one-size-fits-all equation.

    Hyperthyroidism tends to be easier to treat because you can simply remove the gland, Nakhle said. However, after doing so, the patient will need to use drugs to replace the thyroid hormones, which are the same drugs used for people with hypothyroidism. The hormone replacement drugs are successful about 90 percent of the time, but occasionally there are patients who dont respond well to any of the options.

    How Is Thyroid Cancer Managed Or Treated

    What Does Iodine Do For Your Body?

    Treatments for thyroid cancer depend on the tumor size and whether the cancer has spread. Treatments include:

    • Surgery: Surgery is the most common treatment for thyroid cancer. Depending on the tumors size and location, your surgeon may remove part of the thyroid gland or all of the gland . Your surgeon also removes any nearby lymph nodes where cancer cells have spread.
    • Radioiodine therapy: With radioiodine therapy, you swallow a pill or liquid containing a higher dose of radioactive iodine than whats used in a diagnostic radioiodine scan. The radioiodine shrinks and destroys the diseased thyroid gland along with cancer cells. Dont be alarmed this treatment is very safe. Your thyroid gland absorbs almost all of the radioiodine. The rest of your body has minimal radiation exposure.
    • Radiation therapy: Radiation kills cancer cells and stops them from growing. External radiation therapy uses a machine to deliver strong beams of energy directly to the tumor site. Internal radiation therapy involves placing radioactive seeds in or around the tumor.
    • Chemotherapy: Intravenous or oral chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells and stops cancer growth. Very few patients diagnosed with thyroid cancer will ever need chemotherapy.
    • Hormone therapy: This treatment blocks the release of hormones that can cause cancer to spread or come back.

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    Causes Of An Overactive Thyroid

    There are several reasons why your thyroid can become overactive.

    These include:

    • Graves’ disease a condition where your immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the thyroid
    • lumps on the thyroid this extra thyroid tissue can produce thyroid hormones, causing your levels to be too high
    • some medicines such as amiodarone, which can be used to treat an irregular heartbeat

    Find out more about the causes of an overactive thyroid.

    Thyroid Function For Women

    The thyroid is one of the most important, and often mismanaged, glands we have working in our body. Located in the front of our neck, this butterfly-shaped gland secretes hormones that control some major functions including weight management, how we use energy, how we metabolize food, and even how we sleep. For women, hormones can shift out of balance during childbearing, menopause, and even under chronic stress. This means that women have a higher rate of thyroid conditions than men, and it impact them in many stages of their lives.

    We hear about thyroid concerns every day, as women want to understand symptoms that point to faulty thyroid functioning. Healthcare practitioners frequently rely solely on blood tests and do not work through the delicate gray area between your lab results are fine and lets try prescription hormone therapy. But considering only these two very different ends of the spectrum leaves women at risk for a lifetime of thyroid imbalance, and possibly more serious, even irreversible, thyroid conditions.

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    Your Muscles Feel Weak

    Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause muscles to feel achy, weak, or stiff, according to Rodriguez. But, because thyroid symptoms often develop slowly, many people don’t notice the muscle aches or weakness right away, or brush it off as typical pain that comes from aging. Check in with your doctor if something feels off.

    What Should I Know About Storage And Disposal Of This Medication

    7 Signs of an Underactive Thyroid

    Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture .

    It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location รข one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach.

    Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDAs Safe Disposal of Medicines website for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

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    Your Eyes Feel Dry And Look Puffy

    While dry, irritated eyes can be a symptom of both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, super-puffy, protruding eyes can be a sign of Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes hyperthyroidism, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases .

    This happens when the eyelids are pulled back from the eye, per the NIDDK. Along with bulging eyes, Graves’ disease can also cause double vision and swelling.

    Find Your Balance The Marcelle Pick Approach

    When we support our thyroid naturally, like with the thyroid diet, we can improve the way we feel on many levels. It may seem complicated, but once we learn which foods help and how to support our thyroid with the micronutrients we need, it will become second-nature. Here are some tips to help you get started.

    Final Thoughts on the Thyroid Diet

    Now that you have a little more information, you can take steps to support your thyroid with delicious meals. Isnt it great to know that the choices you make can have a huge positive impact on the way you feel?

    Other causes of thyroid nodules include:

    • a benign overgrowth known as a colloid adenoma, which is usually harmless
    • a cyst, which may contain fluid or blood

    People often cannot see or feel a thyroid nodule. They may learn that they have one when they have an imaging test for another condition.

    Tests to investigate unusual thyroid activity include:

    • an ultrasound to see if a nodule is present, how big it is, and if it contains fluid
    • a blood test to assess hormone levels and other factors
    • a biopsy to remove and test a small piece of tissue
    • a nuclear thyroid scan

    A fine needle biopsy or aspiration can show whether a nodule is malignant or not. The doctor will insert a thin needle into the thyroid gland and suction out a few cells for testing.

    If biopsy results suggest cancer, the doctor may recommend surgery to remove the nodule and to examine the tissue more closely.

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    What Causes An Overactive Thyroid Gland

    The thyroid gland is found in the neck. It produces hormones that are released into the bloodstream to control the body’s growth and metabolism. These hormones are called thyroxine and triiodothyronine.

    They affect processes such as heart rate and body temperature, and help convert food into energy to keep the body going.

    In hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland produces too much thyroxine or triiodothyronine, which speeds up the body’s metabolism.

    There are several possible underlying causes, the most common being Graves’ disease, in which the body’s immune system targets the thyroid gland and causes it to produce too much of the thyroid hormones.

    How Does Methimazole Cause Weight Gain And What To Do About It

    What Does the Thyroid Gland Do For the Body?

    Methimazole can absolutely cause weight gain and it does this by blocking thyroid function and activation in the tissues in your body. Over-blocking thyroid hormone may actually take you from hyperthyroidism to hypothyroidism which may then trigger symptoms such as hair loss, weight gain, fatigue, constipation and so on.

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    What Causes A Thyroid Nodule To Form

    Sometimes the thyroid begins to grow , causing one or more nodules to form. Why this happens is not known. Cancer is the biggest concern when nodules form. Fortunately, cancer is very rare it is found in less than 5 percent of all nodules. Nodules develop more often in people who have a family history of nodules, and in people who dont get enough iodine. Iodine is needed to make thyroid hormone.

    There are different types of thyroid nodules:

    • Colloid nodules: These are one or more overgrowths of normal thyroid tissue. These growths are benign . They may grow large, but they do not spread beyond the thyroid gland.
    • Thyroid cysts: These are growths that are filled with fluid or partly solid and partly filled with fluid.
    • Inflammatory nodules: These nodules develop as a result of chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland. These growths may or may not cause pain.
    • Multinodular goiter: Sometimes an enlarged thyroid is made up of many nodules .
    • Hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules: These nodules autonomously produce thyroid hormone without regard for normal feedback control mechanisms, which may lead to the development of hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism can affect the heart and cause such problems as sudden cardiac arrest, high blood pressure, arrhythmias , osteoporosis and other health problems.
    • Thyroid cancer: Less than 5 percent of thyroid nodules are cancerous.

    Treatment For Thyroid Gland Disorders

    Problems with thyroid hormone levels can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. The presence of antibodies in the blood will confirm Graves or Hashimotos disease. Underactivity is treated by taking thyroxine tablets – a form of hormone replacement. Overactivity is treated with drugs that slow the activity of the thyroid gland. If these do not work, part or all of the thyroid can be removed surgically, or some or all of the active thyroid cells can be killed with radioactive iodine.Nodules and cancers are diagnosed with a variety of different tests, including ultrasound, special x-rays and fine needle biopsies. Hot nodules will generally be removed surgically or destroyed with radioactive iodine. Cold nodules are frequently left alone and simply kept under observation. Cancer is treated by surgically removing the thyroid gland, followed by treatment with radioactive iodine to destroy any cells which may have spread.Taking iodine supplements can be dangerous for patients with Graves disease or hot nodules.

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