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What Does Your Thyroid Do For You

What Does Living Look Like Without A Thyroid

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

If you don’t have a thyroid, your body can’t make thyroid hormones. Without replacement, you’ll develop signs and symptoms of underactive thyroid :

  • Constipation

Taking medication

The thyroid gland releases triiodothyronine and thyroxine . With no thyroid or an underactive thyroid, you need to take a medication that replaces these hormones. Levothyroxine is one of the most commonly used drugs because it works just like the thyroid hormone thyroxine in your body. Some people may also take a T3 medication which replaces the thyroid hormone triiodothyronine, the acitve form of thyroid hormone.

Take special considerations to ensure you get the most out of your thyroid medication. Firstly, you will want to take your medication at the same time every day. Some medications require you to take them on an empty stomach. Secondly, your other medications and supplements may interfere with your thyroid medication, so you will want to be wary of those interactions.

Regular follow-up care

You will need to check your thyroid function regularly. Sometimes, your dose may need to be adjusted if you experience symptoms or are experiencing other changes like pregnancy.

The Purpose Of The Thyroid

Your thyroid is truly a workhorse. The hormones it makes fuel your metabolism, or the system in your body that converts what you eat and drink into energy. Thyroid hormones are taken by your blood to all of your bodys tissues and regulate vital organs, like your heart, brain, and muscles.

Fluctuations in your weight can often be linked to the thyroid because of its regulatory abilities. When it goes haywire, you may gain or lose weight seemingly inexplicably.

In addition to impacting your weight, your thyroid plays a significant role in young peoples growth and development, from the earliest days of life.

Should I Take Thyroid Hormone While I Am Pregnant

Since thyroid hormone is a hormone normally present in the body, it is absolutely safe to take while pregnant. Indeed, it is very important for pregnant women, or women who are planning to become pregnant, to have normal thyroid function to provide the optimum environment for her baby. Women who are taking thyroid hormone often need an increased dose of thyroid hormone during their pregnancy, so it is important to have thyroid hormone and TSH levels measured once you know that you are pregnant. You should discuss the timing of thyroid blood tests with your physician, but often thyroid function is checked at least every trimester.

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What Happens If Hypothyroidism Is Not Treated

Hypothyroidism can become a serious and life-threatening medical condition if you do not get treatment from a healthcare provider. If you are not treated, your symptoms can become more severe and can include:

  • Developing mental health problems.
  • Not being able to maintain a normal body temperature.
  • Having heart problems.
  • Developing a goiter .

You can also develop a serious medical condition called myxedema coma. This can happen when hypothyroidism isnt treated.

Hypothyroid Or Hyperthyroid Whats The Difference

Your thyroid controls your entire body (Here is how to ...

Most thyroid problems are the result of an underactive or overactive thyroid gland. The medical terms are hypothyroid and hyperthyroid:

  • Hypothyroid: An underactive thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone and slows down the bodys metabolism.
  • Hyperthyroid: An overactive thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone and speeds up the bodys metabolism.

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How Is Thyroid Disease Treated

Your healthcare providers goal is to return your thyroid hormone levels to normal. This can be done in a variety of ways and each specific treatment will depend on the cause of your thyroid condition.

If you have high levels of thyroid hormones , treatment options can include:

  • Anti-thyroid drugs : These are medications that stop your thyroid from making hormones.
  • Radioactive iodine: This treatment damages the cells of your thyroid, preventing it from making high levels of thyroid hormones.
  • Beta blockers: These medications dont change the amount of hormones in your body, but they help control your symptoms.
  • Surgery: A more permanent form of treatment, your healthcare provider may surgically remove your thyroid . This will stop it from creating hormones. However, you will need to take thyroid replacement hormones for the rest of your life.

If you have low levels of thyroid hormones , the main treatment option is:

  • Thyroid replacement medication: This drug is a synthetic way to add thyroid hormones back into your body. One drug thats commonly used is called levothyroxine. By using a medication, you can control thyroid disease and live a normal life.

How Is Hypothyroidism Diagnosed

It can actually be difficult to diagnose hypothyroidism because the symptoms can be easily confused with other conditions. If you have any of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, talk to your healthcare provider. The main way to diagnose hypothyroidism is a blood test called the thyroid stimulating hormone test. Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests for conditions like Hashimotos disease. If the thyroid is enlarged, your provider may be able to feel it during a physical exam during an appointment.

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How Do I Take Thyroid Hormone

Thyroid hormone is easy to take. Because it stays in your system for a long time, it can be taken just once a day, and this results in very stable levels of thyroid hormone in the blood stream. When thyroid hormone is used to treat hypothyroidism, the goal of treatment is to keep thyroid function within the same range as people without thyroid problems. Keeping the TSH level in the normal range does this. The best time to take thyroid hormone is probably first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. This is because food in the stomach can affect the absorption of thyroid hormone. However, the most important thing is to be consistent, and take your thyroid hormone at the same time, and in the same way, every day. If you are taking several other medications, you should discuss the timing of your thyroid hormone dose with your physician. Sometimes taking your thyroid hormone at night can make it simpler to prevent your thyroid hormone from interacting with food or other medications.

Weak Nails And Thinning Hair

What Does Iodine Do For Your Thyroid? What do you do if you have an iodine deficiency?

Your hair and nails are constantly growing. One important function of the thyroid gland is sending hormone signals to trigger hair and nail growth. With hyperthyroidism, the extra hormones tell your body to increase the growth of your hair follicles and nails in a shorter period of time. While it would seem that your nails growing fast would be a positive side effect of thyroid dysfunction, that isnt the case. This forced growth is too fast. As a result, your body has to stretch its natural resources, which can lead to thin and brittle hair and nails.

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What Are Typical Symptoms Of Hyper

Typical symptoms for hyperthyroidism is weight loss, fast heart rate, high irritability/nervousness, muscle weakness and tremors, infrequent menstrual periods, sleep problems, eye irritations and heat sensitivity.

Symptoms for hypothyroidism is the contrary of hyperthyroidism such as weight gain, slower heart rate, fatigue, more frequent and stronger menstrual periods, forgetfulness, dry skin and hair, hoarse voice and intolerance to cold. In addition, hypothyroidism is often accompanied by an enlargement of the thyroid gland known as goitre.

Whats The Difference Between Hypothyroidism And Hyperthyroidism

In hypothyroidism, the thyroid doesnt make enough thyroid hormone.

The difference between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism is quantity. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid makes very little thyroid hormone. On the flip side, someone with hyperthyroidism has a thyroid that makes too much thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism involves higher levels of thyroid hormones, which makes your metabolism speed up. If you have hypothyroidism, your metabolism slows down.

Many things are the opposite between these two conditions. If you have hypothyroidism, you may have a difficult time dealing with the cold. If you have hyperthyroidism, you may not handle the heat. They are opposite extremes of thyroid function. Ideally, you should be in the middle. Treatments for both of these conditions work to get your thyroid function as close to that middle ground as possible.

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Circulatory And Cardiovascular Systems

Hypothyroidism slows your heart rate and weakens your heartbeat, making your heart less efficient at pumping blood out to your body. This can make you short of breath when you exercise. By narrowing your arteries, this condition can also raise blood pressure.

Hypothyroidism can lead to high cholesterol. Together, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can increase your risk for heart disease.

What Is The Thyroid And How Does It Work

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Along the front of your windpipe, low on your neck, lies a small gland called the thyroid. This tiny gland plays a big role in regulating your health.

The thyroid is part of the endocrine system, a system of different glands located throughout the body that make the hormones that regulate almost every part and function in your body. Each gland has different responsibilities.

The thyroids main job is to regulate and control your bodys metabolism, or ability to take food and change it into energy. It also helps regulate your heart rate, how fast you burn calories, body temperature, blood pressure, muscle contractions, and mood.

For your thyroid to work correctly, its cells need to take in and use iodine. This means your diet needs to be rich in foods that supply iodine, such as iodized salt, prunes, egg yolks, lima beans, fish, iodine-fortified foods, and different seaweeds.

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What Are The Types Of Thyroiditis

  • Hashimotos thyroiditis: an autoimmune condition caused by anti-thyroid antibodies. This is the most common form of thyroiditis and is around five times more common in women than in men. Hashimotos thyroiditis usually results in hypothyroidism, and thyroid hormone replacement treatment is needed.
  • Silent thyroiditis or painless thyroiditis: another autoimmune disease caused by anti-thyroid antibodies. It is also common in women and the next common cause after Hashimotos thyroiditis.
  • Post-partum thyroiditis: an autoimmune condition caused by anti-thyroid antibodies that sometimes occurs shortly after a woman gives birth
  • Radiation-induced thyroiditis: a condition caused by external radiation used as a medical treatment for certain cancers, or by radioactive iodine used to treat hyperthyroidism
  • Subacute thyroiditis or de Quervains thyroiditis: an often painful condition thought to be caused by a virus
  • Acute thyroiditis or suppurative thyroiditis: a relatively rare condition caused by an infectious organism or bacterium
  • Drug-induced thyroiditis: a condition is caused by the use of drugs such as amiodarone, interferons, lithium, and cytokines. It only occurs in a small fraction of patients using the offending drugs, so it is not common in the normal population.

Who Treats Thyroid Disease

Several types of doctors can play a role in managing thyroid disease and its symptoms. Some people only see one doctor for thyroid-related issues, while others have a medical team they work with to manage their disease. The types of doctors you may want to consider include:

  • Primary care doctors
  • Holistic thyroid practitioners, including naturopaths and chiropractors

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What Are The Risk Factors For Thyroid Nodules

Risk factors for developing thyroid nodules include:

  • Family history. Having parents or siblings who have had thyroid nodules or thyroid or other endocrine cancers increases your chance of developing nodules.
  • Age: The chance of developing nodules increases as you get older.
  • Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop thyroid nodules.
  • Radiation exposure: A history of radiation exposure to the head and neck increases your risk of developing nodules.

Risk factors for developing cancerous thyroid nodules include:

  • Family history of thyroid cancer
  • A nodule that is hard or is stuck to a nearby structure
  • Male gender

What Common Symptoms Can Happen With Thyroid Disease

When should you take your thyroid medication

There are a variety of symptoms you could experience if you have a thyroid disease. Unfortunately, symptoms of a thyroid condition are often very similar to the signs of other medical conditions and stages of life. This can make it difficult to know if your symptoms are related to a thyroid issue or something else entirely.

For the most part, the symptoms of thyroid disease can be divided into two groups those related to having too much thyroid hormone and those related to having too little thyroid hormone .

Symptoms of an overactive thyroid can include:

  • Experiencing anxiety, irritability and nervousness.
  • Having trouble sleeping.
  • Experiencing an intolerance to cold temperatures.

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Sensitive Skin And Skin Discoloration

Thyroid hormones also influence the quality of your skin in a variety of ways. With hyperthyroidism, you may notice itchy and dry patches of skin.

Your face may feel softer and swollen. You may even notice swelling around your fingertips. Other symptoms include darkening of the skin, rashes, lumps, and reddish spots.

Can You Live Without Your Thyroid

The short answer is yes. People can live full, long lives without a thyroid if they take medication to replace the absence of thyroid hormones in their body with thyroid medication.

People can live for a very long time without thyroid hormones, but they will develop symptoms that decrease their quality of life. A lack of thyroid hormones can also increase your risk for other health conditions that can shorten your life expectancy, including heart disease and obesity.

The most severe consequence of not having thyroid hormone in your body is myxedema coma or death. Myxedema is a term that generally denotes severe hypothyroidism. A myxedema coma is a rare, life-threatening resulting from long-standing hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism due to any cause can cause myxedema coma if left untreated.

However, long before this happens, you’ll start to experience other side effects which indicate that your thyroid isn’t functioning correctly. Many people live for several years without even knowing they have an underactive thyroid. Eventually, symptoms do develop, which prompts them to see their doctor.

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What Is Postpartum Thyroiditis

Postpartum thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid after giving birth, affects 10% of women. It often goes undiagnosed because symptoms are much like the “baby blues” that may follow delivery. Women with postpartum thyroiditis may feel very tired and moody.

Postpartum thyroiditis typically happens in two phases, though not everyone with the condition goes through both phases:

  • The first phase starts 1 to 4 months after giving birth and typically last 1 to 2 months. In this phase, you may have because the damaged thyroid leaks thyroid hormones out into the bloodstream.
  • The second phase starts about 4 to 8 months after delivery and lasts 6 to 12 months. In this phase, you may have because the thyroid has lost most of its hormones or because the immune attack is over and the thyroid may recover later.

What Causes Thyroid Disease

How To Check If You Have Thyroid Problems At Home

There are various different factors causing hyper- and hypothyroidism.

The following conditions cause hypothyroidism:

Thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid gland. This can lower the number of hormones produced.

A special form of thyroiditis is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This is a genetic disorder caused by diseases of the immune system and can be passed from one generation to the other. In addition, thyroiditis can occur in women after giving birth also referred to as postpartum thyroiditis. It is usually a temporary condition and occurs only in 5-9% of woman giving birth.

Nutrition also impacts your thyroid functions. Iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism. This is a worldwide problem affecting approximately 100 million people. As mentioned earlier, iodine is used by the thyroid gland to produce hormones.

The following conditions cause hyperthyroidism:

Graves’ disease is a condition where the entire thyroid gland might be overactive and produce too much hormone. Your thyroid gland might be enlarged. This problem is also called diffuse toxic goitre.

Thyroiditis can also cause the opposite and trigger the release of hormones that were stored in the thyroid gland. This uncontrolled release of thyroid hormones causes hyperthyroidism for a few weeks or months. It may occur in women after childbirth.

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How Is The Dose Of Thyroid Hormone Chosen

When someone is first started on thyroid hormone the initial dose is carefully selected based on information such as a persons weight, age, and other medical conditions. The dose will then need to be adjusted by a physician to keep the thyroid function normal. The physician will make sure the thyroid hormone dose is correct by performing a physical examination and checking TSH levels.

There are several brand names of thyroid hormone available. Although these all contain the same synthetic T4, there are different inactive ingredients in each of the brand names. In general, it is best for you to stay on the same brand name. If a change in brand name is unavoidable, you should be sure your physician is aware of the change, so that your thyroid function can be rechecked. If your pharmacy plan changes your thyroid hormone to a generic preparation, it is important for you to inform your physician.

A LISTING OF THE FDA-APPROVED MEDICINES
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How Do I Know If I Have Thyroid Nodules

Most thyroid nodules do not produce any symptoms. However, if you have several nodules, or large nodules, you may be able to see them. Although rare, nodules can press against other structures in the neck and cause symptoms, including:

Hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules can lead to overproduction of thyroid hormones, also known as hyperthyroidism. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Irritability/nervousness

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