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Endless energy, unexplained weight lossthe initial symptoms of an overactive thyroid are often seen as good symptoms. Thats why hyperthyroidism is one of the most underdiagnosed endocrine conditions. But if left unchecked, it can lead to serious complications. Were here to empower you with clear answers to all your hyperthyroid questions.
In This Article:
With original contributions from James Norman MD, FACS, FACE
What Foods Are Bad For Thyroid
Foods that are bad for the thyroid gland include foods from the cabbage family, soy, fried foods, wheat, foods high in caffeine, sugar, fluoride and iodine. The thyroid gland is a shield-shaped gland located in your neck. It secretes the hormones T3 and T4 that control the metabolism of every cell in the body.
Early Signs Of Thyroid Problems
If you are experiencing changes in your weight, vision problems, or increased sensitivity to shifts in temperature, you might have a thyroid problem. Instead of ignoring these early warning signs, you should schedule an appointment at the Medical Transformation Center in Louisville, KY. We can use a variety of techniques to address your thyroid problems and improve your health.
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Overdoses Or Underdoses Of Vitamins
In many cases, a lack of nutrition is what leads to diseases. In the case of thyroid problems, overdoses are also a common factor to take into consideration. Here are some common vitamin over- and underdoses that lead to thyroid issues:
Yes, you need iodine for hormone production, and a lack of it can also cause thyroid problems. But did you know that consume an excess of 400 mcg of iodine per day can lead to many complications, including to the thyroid?
For the thyroid to carry out its peroxidase function healthily and positively, it needs iron. Without it, thyroid hormones cannot be synthesized, and iron-deficiency anemia opens up the door to many different diseases, too.
· Vitamin A
Vitamin A is capable of binding to the hormone receptors in the thyroid, increasing one kind of hormone but not the other, more desirable one. You can lose as much as two-thirds of your thyroid hormones by not paying attention to vitamin A!
The thyroid needs selenium to convert certain types of hormones to others. This nutrient helps to protect against autoimmune diseases and also works to encourage healthy thyroid function. A deficiency may lead to hypothyroidism.
The more selenium you take, the more chromium you excrete. As such, its a good idea to keep an eye on your daily intake of this lesser-known vitamin.
Stay Away From A Thing Called Triclosan
Triclosan is a common ingredient in many soaps and body washes, but it may have an adverse effect on your thyroid heath. A study conducted by the EPA showed that even minor exposure to the chemical can affect how your thyroid releases hormones. Luckily, it’s now easier than ever to avoid the stuff: In December of 2017, the FDA issued a ruling banning over-the-counter products containing triclosan.
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How Does Eating Diet And Nutrition Affect Hypothyroidism
Your thyroid uses iodine to make thyroid hormones. However, if you have Hashimotos disease or other types of autoimmune thyroid disorders, you may be sensitive to iodines harmful side effects. Eating foods that have large amounts of iodinesuch as kelp, dulse, or other kinds of seaweedmay cause or worsen hypothyroidism. Taking iodine supplements can have the same effect.
Talk with members of your health care team
- about what foods to limit or avoid
- if you take iodine supplements
- about any cough syrups you take because they may contain iodine
If you are pregnant, you need more iodine because the baby gets iodine from your diet. Talk with your doctor about how much iodine you need.
Muscle And Joint Problems
This is one of the most common problems of thyroid diseases, but at the same time one of the least known. People with hypothyroidism, regardless of age or sex, often experience persistent joint and muscle pain. It is such an acute discomfort that we may be misdiagnosed, such as fibromyalgia.
However, this symptomatology usually reduces significantly with treatment. Also, people with thyroid problems often develop carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as plantar fasciitis.
For their part, people with hyperthyroidism usually show pain and weakness in the arms and legs.
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How Do Doctors Diagnose Hyperthyroidism
Your doctor will take a medical history and perform a physical exam. A hyperthyroidism diagnosis cant be based on symptoms alone because many of its symptoms are the same as those of other diseases. Thats why your doctor may use several thyroid blood tests and imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis and find its cause.
Because hyperthyroidism can cause fertility problems, women who have trouble getting pregnant often get tested for thyroid problems.
What Factors Could Contribute To Thyroid Dysfunction
Many factors have been described in the medical literature, including iodine intake. Consumption of large amounts of iodine could potentially contribute to the development of thyroiditis in people who may be susceptible genetically.
Foods rich in iodine are seaweed, kelp, and potassium iodide tablets. A recommended dose of iodine intake is 150 mcg for adults and 220250 mcg for pregnant women.
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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.
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.
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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.
How Is Thyroid Disease Diagnosed
Sometimes, thyroid disease can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are easily confused with those of other conditions. You may experience similar symptoms when you are pregnant or aging and you would when developing a thyroid disease. Fortunately, there are tests that can help determine if your symptoms are being caused by a thyroid issue. These tests include:
- Blood tests.
- Physical exams.
One of the most definitive ways to diagnose a thyroid problem is through blood tests. Thyroid blood tests are used to tell if your thyroid gland is functioning properly by measuring the amount of thyroid hormones in your blood. These tests are done by taking blood from a vein in your arm. Thyroid blood tests are used to see if you have:
The specific blood tests that will be done to test your thyroid can include:
These tests alone arent meant to diagnose any illness but may prompt your healthcare provider to do additional testing to evaluate for a possible thyroid disorder.
Additional blood tests might include:
Talk to your healthcare provider about the ranges for these thyroid blood tests. Your ranges might not be the same as someone elses. Thats often alright. If you have any concerns or worries about your blood test results, talk to your provider.
An ultrasound typically takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
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What Else Should I Know
Your doctor will see your child regularly to make sure that the medicine is working and change the dose as your child grows. Be sure to go to all follow-up doctor visits.
Children with congenital hypothyroidism can sometimes develop hearing problems. If you have any concerns about your child’s hearing or speech development, talk to your doctor.
Precautions When Treating Thyroid Problems
Because the symptoms of thyroid problems, like fatigue, muscular pains, mood changes and depression, can also be caused by various other disorders, its best to consult with a doctor if your symptoms become very strong. Once you confirm you have a thyroid disorder, begin to explore your treatment options by finding the root cause of your condition.
When you determine a lack of iodine could be the entire cause or a contributing factor to your hypothyroidism, consider adding kelp to your diet. Its also critical to stop taking supplements and get a professional opinion if your symptoms get worse, because this may mean youre treating one type of thyroid problem when you really need to be treating another .
Hypothyroidism isnt always caused by lack of iodine. In fact, if you take iodine or kelp and feel like youre getting worse, make sure you consult with your physician and get your levels rechecked. It can also be caused from heavy metal toxicity like mercury. Heavy metals from amalgam fillings have an affinity for the thyroid and can disrupt your hormone balance and thyroid function. For this reason I also recommend reducing toxic exposures and consider seeing a holistic dentist who can remove the silver fillings using the DAMS protocol and bring you through a proper detox program as well.
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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.
What Is Thyroid Disease
Thyroid disease is a general term for a medical condition that keeps your thyroid from making the right amount of hormones. Your thyroid typically makes hormones that keep your body functioning normally. When the thyroid makes too much thyroid hormone, your body uses energy too quickly. This is called hyperthyroidism. Using energy too quickly will do more than make you tired it can make your heart beat faster, cause you to lose weight without trying and even make you feel nervous. On the flip-side of this, your thyroid can make too little thyroid hormone. This is called hypothyroidism. When you have too little thyroid hormone in your body, it can make you feel tired, you might gain weight and you may even be unable to tolerate cold temperatures.
These two main disorders can be caused by a variety of conditions. They can also be passed down through families .
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When Your Thyroid Acts Up
You may know the classic signs of trouble with your thyroid — a butterfly-shaped gland on the front of your neck. An overactive thyroid makes you sweat more, feel hot, lose weight, or makes your heart beat faster. An underactive thyroid does the opposite. You might feel cold, gain weight, and get a slower heartbeat. But there are other less obvious signs that you need to learn about.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can vary from person to person and may include4
- weight loss despite an increased appetite
- rapid or irregular heartbeat
- nervousness, irritability, trouble sleeping, fatigue
- shaky hands, muscle weakness
- frequent bowel movements
- an enlargement in the neck, called a goiter
In older adults, hyperthyroidism is sometimes mistaken for depression or dementia. Older adults may have different symptoms, such as loss of appetite or withdrawal from people, than younger adults with hyperthyroidism. You may want to ask your doctor about hyperthyroidism if you or your loved one shows these symptoms.
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Trouble Concentrating Or Remembering
Many patients with hypothyroidism complain of mental fogginess and trouble concentrating. The way this mental fogginess presents itself varies by person.
In one study, 22% of low-thyroid individuals described increased difficulty doing everyday math, 36% described thinking more slowly than usual and 39% reported having a poorer memory .
In another study of 14 men and women with untreated hypothyroidism, the participants showed difficulty remembering verbal cues .
The causes for this are not yet fully understood, but difficulties in memory improve with treatment of low thyroid hormone .
Difficulties in memory or concentration can happen to everyone, but if they are sudden or severe, they could be a signal of hypothyroidism.
Summary: Hypothyroidism can cause mental fogginess and difficulty concentrating. It may also impair certain kinds of memory.
What Does My Thyroid Do
Located at the front of your neck, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland. Glands are organs that can be found all over your body. Some of your glands create and release hormones substances that help your body function and grow. The thyroid gland plays a big part in many of your bodys main functions, including:
- Regulating your body temperature.
- Controlling your heart rate.
- Controlling your metabolism .
When your thyroid gland is working correctly, your body is in balance, and all of your systems function properly. If your thyroid stops working the way its meant to creating too much or too little thyroid hormones it can impact your entire body.
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Who Is At Risk Of Developing Thyroid Problems
Women and people over 60 years of age have a higher risk of developing either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. If you’ve been pregnant or had a baby within the past six months, you also face a higher risk.
Personal or family history risk factors can also play a role, including:
- Prior thyroid problems, such as a goiter or a family history of them
- Prior thyroid surgery or radiation treatments to the neck or chest
- Anemia, type 1 diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Turner’s syndrome or Sjogren’s syndrome
- Consuming high-iodine foods, medications or supplements
What Are The Complications Of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism can contribute to high cholesterol. If you have high cholesterol, you should get tested for hypothyroidism. Rarely, severe untreated hypothyroidism may lead to myxedema coma, an extreme form of hypothyroidism in which the bodys functions slow to a life-threatening point. Myxedema coma requires immediate medical treatment.
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Coffee: Time Your First Cup Carefully In The Morning
Per a study in the journalThyroid, caffeine has been found to block absorption of thyroid hormone replacement. “People who were taking their thyroid medication with their morning coffee had uncontrollable thyroid levels, and we couldn’t figure it out,” says Dr. Lee. “I now have to be very careful to tell people, ‘Only take your medication with water.'” You should wait at least 30 minutes after taking your medication before having a cup of joe.
What Are Clinical Trials For Hyperthyroidism
Clinical trialsand other types of clinical studiesare part of medical research and involve people like you. When you volunteer to take part in a clinical study, you help doctors and researchers learn more about disease and improve health care for people in the future.
Researchers are studying many aspects of hyperthyroidism, such as its natural history, clinical presentation, and genetics.
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