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HomeExclusiveWhat Does Your Thyroid Do For Your Body

What Does Your Thyroid Do For Your Body

Who Is At Risk For Postpartum Thyroiditis

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

Your immune system may cause postpartum thyroiditis. If you have an autoimmune disease, like type 1 diabetes, your risk is higher.

Your risk is also higher if:5

  • Have a personal history or family history of thyroid disorders
  • Had postpartum thyroiditis after a previous pregnancy
  • Have chronic viral hepatitis

Is There A Higher Risk Of Developing Thyroid Disease If I Have Diabetes

If you have diabetes, youre at a higher risk of developing a thyroid disease than people without diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. If you already have one autoimmune disorder, you are more likely to develop another one.

For people with type 2 diabetes, the risk is lower, but still there. If you have type 2 diabetes, youre more likely to develop a thyroid disease later in life.

Regular testing is recommended to check for thyroid issues. Those with type 1 diabetes may be tested more often immediately after diagnosis and then every year or so than people with type 2 diabetes. There isnt a regular schedule for testing if you have type 2 diabetes, however your healthcare provider may suggest a schedule for testing over time.

If you have diabetes and get a positive thyroid test, there are a few things to you can do to help feel the best possible. These tips include:

  • Getting enough sleep.
  • Taking all of your medications as directed.
  • Getting tested regularly as directed by your healthcare provider.

Are There Risk Factors That Increase Your Chances Of Having Thyroid Problems

Females are more likely to have a thyroid-related disease than males but other factors may increase the risk of thyroid problems. These include a family history of thyroid disease, having an autoimmune condition such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, ingesting excessive iodine , age older than 60, and having had a thyroid issue or thyroid cancer in the past.

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Thyroid Disorders That Cause Hyperthyroid

Your thyroid can work overtime for various reasons.

Graves disease. Graves disease is an autoimmune condition where your immune system attacks the thyroid. Instead of destroying the tissue, it binds to thyroid receptors which activates hormone production. Then, it floods your body with too much hormone.

Subacute thyroiditis. When your thyroid gland is inflamed, thyroid hormone can seep out. This form of hypothyroidism is temporary usually, it lasts only a few weeks.

Hypothalamus and pituitary miscommunications. When the hypothalamus detects low thyroid hormone levels, it releases thyrotropin-releasing hormone , which tells the pituitary gland to release thyroid stimulating hormone . TSH then tells the thyroid to ramp up thyroid hormone production. When one of these misfires, you dont make the right amount of thyroid hormone.

Adenomas, or nodules. When bumps develop on the thyroid, they can become active and secrete thyroid hormone. Nodules can be benign or cancerous, so if you have them, get them checked out by your functional medicine doctor.

Thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer can cause hyperthyroidism, or it can decrease thyroid function and cause hypothyroid symptoms.

What Does A Thyroid Fine Needle Aspiration Or Biopsy Entail

Check Your Thyroid At Home With This Simple Test

In some situations this is performed with local anesthesia in the clinic. Your child will be awake. In very young children the FNA is done in the operating room under general anesthesia. The pathologist will look at the tissue to determine what they thyroid nodule is composed of and if additional workup or surgery is needed. It often takes about one to two weeks to get the results.

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Your Weight Drastically Changed Recently

With hypothyroidism, your body slows down, which means that you can gain weight, according to Rodriguez. The opposite can happen with hyperthyroidism, she adds.

While many women can see weight loss as a good thing, Rodriguez says it’s necessary to get treatment, regardless of what type of weight fluctuation you’re noticing. Left untreated, any thyroid condition can be extremely hard on the body, “especially the heart,” she says.

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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What You Can Do To Get Healthy Thyroid Hormone Levels

After all this thyroid-hormone-levels-gone-wrong talk, youâd be justified in thinking to yourself, âOkay, so how can I get healthy thyroid hormone levels to help avoid a thyroid problem?â

First, make sure youâre getting the right amount of iodine in your diet .

For men and non-pregnant women, the recommended daily allowance for iodine is 150 micrograms . For pregnant women, that number rises to 220 mcg per day â and 290 mcg a day for women who are breastfeeding.

If you want to check if you have an underactive thyroid gland âor if youâre interested in finding out if you have high thyroid levelsâgetting a thyroid function test can be a good place to start.

Of course, if your thyroid hormone level isn’t within a normal range and you may have a thyroid dysfunction, consult with your healthcare provider to learn what solution is best for you to help get your hormone levels back in balance . If you do have a thyroid disorder or thyroid condition, your healthcare provider may recommend ongoing thyroid testing to monitor results of your treatment plan.

Spotlight On Aging: Thyroid Gland Changes In Older People

How Your Thyroid Affects Your EVERYTHING

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.

and hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is underactivity of the thyroid gland that leads to inadequate production of thyroid hormones and a slowing of vital body functions. Facial expressions become dull, the voice… read more , 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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Overview Of The Thyroid Gland

, 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.

    Are There Complications Of Hyperthyroidism

    Thyroid storm is a rare but serious complication of hyperthyroidism. It happens when your thyroid makes and releases a large amount of thyroid hormone in a short amount of time. Thyroid storm is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical attention.

    Symptoms of thyroid storm include:

    • High fever a temperature between 104 degrees to 106 degrees Fahrenheit is common.
    • Rapid heart rate that can exceed 140 beats per minute.
    • Feeling agitated, irritable and/or anxious.
    • Congestive heart failure.
    • Loss of consciousness.

    A complication of Graves disease, one of the causes of hyperthyroidism, is called Graves eye disease . This condition can usually not be prevented. Graves eye disease can cause the following complications:

    • Bulging eyes.

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    How Is Postpartum Thyroiditis Treated

    Treatment for postpartum thyroiditis depends on the phase of the disease and what symptoms you have. For example, if you get symptoms of hyperthyroidism in the first phase, your treatment may include medicines to slow down the heart rate.

    In most women who have postpartum thyroiditis, the thyroid returns to normal within 12 to 18 months after symptoms start. But if you have a history of postpartum thyroiditis, your risk is higher for developing permanent hypothyroidism within 5 to 10 years.5

    What Causes Thyroid Nodules To Grow

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    If you have a thyroid nodule that continues to increase in size, its a sign that you have an active problem affecting your thyroid health. And while most thyroid nodules are benign and dont cause symptoms, the underlying process could lead to permanent damage of your thyroid gland.

    There are a number of possible causes of a growing thyroid nodule:

    • Autoimmune disease: A thyroid nodule may be a sign that you have an autoimmune thyroid disease.
    • Too much or too little iodine in your diet: Your thyroid gland needs the right amount of iodine to function. A deficiency or oversupply of iodine can cause goiter and thyroid nodules.
    • Thyroid Cancer: Although not common, a thyroid nodule that is hard, fixed, or painful may be a sign of thyroid cancer. Most thyroid cancers are slow growing.
    • Thyroid Cyst: A thyroid cyst is filled with fluid and completely benign.

    If your thyroid nodule is growing actively, its important to determine and address the reason for this problem.

    For more information, see: What Causes Thyroid Nodules to Grow?

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    How Long Does It Take To Treat Hyperthyroidism

    The amount of time it takes to treat hyperthyroidism can change depending on what caused it. If your healthcare provider treats your condition with antithyroid medications your hormone levels should drop to a healthy level in about six to 12 weeks.

    Your healthcare provider may decide to give you high doses of iodine drops , which would normalize thyroid levels in seven to 10 days. However, this is a short-term solution, and you’ll most likely need a more permanent solution like surgery. Though you may need to wait to be scheduled for thyroid surgery , this is a very effective and definitive way to treat hyperthyroidism. Its considered a permanent solution for hyperthyroidism.

    Can Hyperthyroidism Be Prevented Or Avoided

    You cannot prevent hyperthyroidism. However, some people are more at risk for the condition. This includes people who:

    • Were born female.
    • Have a family history of thyroid disease.
    • Are younger than 40 or older than 60.
    • Have certain problems, such as type 1 diabetes, pernicious anemia, or an immune system disorder.
    • Consume large amounts of iodine, either through food or medicine

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    How Long Can You Go Without Thyroid Medication

    If you take a synthetic thyroid hormone like Synthroid and accidentally skip a dose, theres little harm. But not taking your thyroid medication for longer periods of time can lead to bigger problems and long-term risks.

    Certain foods, medications, and supplements can prevent you from absorbing thyroid medication well, effectively reducing your dose. Gut infections can have the same effect.

    And while its important to get enough thyroid hormone from your medication, overdiagnosis and over treatment of hypothyroid is very common. Some patients may be able to reduce or discontinue their thyroid hormone replacement with the right health supports.

    For more information, see: How Long Can You Go Without Thyroid Medication?

    How Does Thyroid Disease Affect Pregnancy

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    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:4

    • Premature birth
    • Preeclampsia, 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
    • Miscarriage

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    Thyroid Removal Or Thyroid Deactivation

    If you have had surgery to remove your thyroid or radioiodine therapy to deactivate your thyroid, you will receive regular T4 replacement therapy. This usually affects TSH levels secreted by your pituitary gland as your medication is monitored and adjusted.

    The journal Rambam Maimonides says that low levels of T3 and T4 exert a negative feedback on TSH and signals to your body to increase TSH levels. When receiving levothyroxine therapy, your TSH levels and T4 levels will be closely monitored to make sure that T4 levels dont drop dangerously low.14

    Who Is At Risk For Hypothyroidism

    You may be more likely to have hypothyroidism if you:

    • Are a woman
    • Are older than age 60
    • Have had thyroid problems or thyroid surgery in the past
    • Have a family history of thyroid problems
    • Have certain conditions, such as type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis
    • Have Turner syndrome, a genetic condition that affects women
    • Are pregnant or have had a baby within the past 6 months
    • Have an iodine deficiency. Your body needs iodine to make thyroid hormone.

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    What Tpo Antibody Levels Indicate

    When TPO antibody levels are found in profuse amounts in your blood, itâs a red flag that your thyroid gland may be malfunctioning because of an autoimmune disorder. Not everyone with high TPOab levels has a badly-working thyroid gland, but elevated levels are commonly seen in individuals with autoimmune thyroid diseases, such as Hashimotoâs thyroiditis.

    What Is The Outlook For Hyperthyroidism

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    Hyperthyroidism is a manageable and treatable condition, and most people do well with treatment. While some forms of treatment require you to take medication for the rest of your life, your thyroid hormone levels will be normal.

    Unfortunately, untreated hyperthyroidism caused by Graves disease may get worse over time and cause complications. If you have Graves disease, ask your healthcare provider questions about how you can best manage your condition.

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    What Causes Hypothyroidism

    The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disorder. This means your immune system starts to attack itself. It makes antibodies against the thyroid gland. Another cause may be treatment for an overactive thyroid gland. That may include radioactive iodine therapy or surgery.

    A condition called secondary hypothyroidism can also sometimes happen. Its when your pituitary gland stops working. The pituitary gland then no longer tells the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones.

    Newborns are tested at birth for hypothyroidism. This condition must be treated immediately. It can affect a babys brain and nervous system.

    When It Doesnt Work Right

    Sometimes, the thyroid gland develops a problem. It might start producing too much or too little hormone. It might become enlarged, or it could grow lumps of extra tissue.

    More than 12% of people will have some sort of problem with their thyroid during their lifetime. Women are far more likely to have this happen than men.

    Common thyroid problems include:

    Hypothyroidism. This occurs when your thyroid doesnât make enough hormones. That slows your metabolism. It can make you gain weight and feel sluggish or depressed. Sometimes thatâs caused by a condition called Hashimotoâs disease. This happens when your bodyâs disease-fighting immune system attacks the thyroid.

    Hyperthyroidism. If youâre feeling irritable, losing weight, your heart races, and youâre feeling weak, your thyroid might be producing too much hormone. This is often the result of another immune system problem, known as Gravesâ disease, but can be caused by other conditions as well.

    Goiters. A goiter happens when your thyroid gland swells up. Sometimes, it makes a noticeable bulge in your neck other times, it can make you cough or make your voice sound hoarse. A goiter can be caused by other thyroid conditions or by a lack of iodine, an element your thyroid needs to work properly. Most Americans get plenty of iodine because itâs now added to table salt in the United States.

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    Should I Exercise If I Have A Thyroid Disease

    Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. You do not need to change your exercise routine if you have a thyroid disease. Exercise does not drain your bodys thyroid hormones and it shouldnt hurt you to exercise. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider before you start a new exercise routine to make sure that its a good fit for you.

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