Thyroid disease is a medical condition that affects the thyroid gland’s function, which is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of the neck and wrapped around the windpipe. The thyroid gland is in charge of producing and releasing thyroid hormones into the body. It is an endocrine gland that produces hormones that instruct body organs on how much energy they should consume. The thyroid hormone, in essence, regulates metabolism. Let’s go over everything you should know about thyroid disease.
Types of Thyroid Hormones and How They Work
The thyroid gland produces two main types of thyroid hormones that regulate the amount of energy consumed by the different parts of the body;
- Thyroxin, thyroid hormone, also called T4
- Triiodothyronine thyroid hormone also called T3
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is produced by the pituitary gland, which is located in the head just below the brain and instructs the thyroid gland on the level of thyroid hormones to produce. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces fewer thyroid hormones. Thyroiditis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are two other thyroid diseases.
What causes the overproduction of thyroid hormone?
Thyroid disease can strike children, adults, and even the elderly. It can be inherited or develop from other diseases that impair thyroid gland function. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can be caused by any medical condition that affects thyroid function, including digestive and kidney diseases.
Some of the causes of hyperthyroidism include;
Nodules are found within the thyroid gland. They are the active sites that produce thyroid hormones. Overactive thyroid nodules can cause the production of excess thyroid hormones, resulting in hyperthyroidism.
This is the inflammation of the thyroid gland. If prolonged, it can cause the levels of thyroid hormones to spike, causing hyperthyroidism.
The thyroid gland uses iodine minerals to produce thyroid hormones. Excess iodine can cause the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormone than the body requires.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone. This can be caused by the following;
This is the swelling of the thyroid gland, a condition that causes the thyroid gland to produce fewer thyroid hormones.
This condition causes the body’s immunity to attack and destroy the thyroid gland. It is often a condition passed down from parents to their children.
When there are few iodine minerals in the body, the thyroid gland cannot produce enough thyroid hormones, causing hypothyroidism.
Non-functional thyroid gland
This condition is prevalent in newborns. Newborns can be born with non-functional thyroid glands, causing hypothyroidism. It is crucial to conduct thyroid blood tests on newborn babies to diagnose thyroid disorders in their blood.
Diabetes and thyroid disease
While diabetes does not cause thyroid disease, patients who have diabetes are particularly vulnerable to thyroid disease and other conditions that cause the thyroid gland to fail or malfunction.
Symptoms of Thyroid Disease
Symptoms of thyroid disease are hard to detect because they are similar to those of other medical conditions and old age.
When the thyroid gland produces fewer hormones, the body’s metabolism rate reduces and hinders the conversion of starch into energy, causing fatigue.
Similar to fatigue, when the body’s metabolism rate is lowered, the result is weight gain. Often, people with thyroid disease experience problems with weight loss.
Forgetfulness is common among thyroid disease patients because it affects the brain’s ability to concentrate and focus.
Frequent and heavy menstruation
Thyroid disease affects the functioning of the ovaries, causing heavy and frequent menstruation in women.
Dry and coarse hair
Thyroid disease also affects hair texture. Patients also have thinning hair that may fall off.
Intolerance of cold temperatures
Due to the reduced metabolism rate of the body, patients with thyroid disease have trouble regulating body heat and tend to be intolerant to cold weather.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Anxiety, irritability, and nervousness
A hyperactive thyroid makes it hard to stay calm, leading to impatience, anxiety, and nervousness.
Patients with hypothyroidism often find it hard to sleep due to changes in the body’s internal clock.
Hyperthyroidism causes the body’s metabolic rate to increase. This results in the burning of more calories, hence causing weight loss.
Enlarged thyroid gland
Hypothyroidism causes the thyroid gland to swell. You will notice a lump on the patient’s neck.
Irregular or stopped menstrual cycles
Hyperthyroidism reduces or stops ovulation, causing irregular menstrual cycles in women.
Sensitivity to heat
Because of the high metabolism rate, patients with hypothyroidism often become sensitive to external heat.
Vision problems and eye irritation
Hyperthyroidism affects the muscles around the eyes, causing dryness that is responsible for impaired vision and irritation of the eyes.
There are different ways to treat an overactive or underactive thyroid. Here are some of the common treatments for hyperthyroidism:
Medication such as methimazole and propylthiouracil prevents your thyroid gland from producing thyroid hormones, treating hyperthyroidism.
These drugs don’t affect the thyroid hormone levels but help manage the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
Radioactive iodine therapy
This thyroid treatment destroys thyroid gland cells to reduce the levels of thyroid hormones produced in the body. It also treats thyroid cancer.
In some cases, excess parts of the thyroid gland are surgically removed through an incision in the neck or the insertion of special robotic tools and pipes under the armpit to treat thyroid hormone issues.
Synthetic thyroid hormone, levothyroxine, and other medications help reintroduce thyroid hormones into the body, treating an underactive thyroid.
Struggling with thyroid disease? Call Novis Health Salt Lake City at (801) 528-4844 for help
Thyroid disease can reduce your quality of life and lead to additional health complications. It is possible to live a comfortable life while managing and treating thyroid disease. Novis Health is a premier functional medicine clinic in Salt Lake City, Utah, specializing in the treatment of chronic medical conditions such as thyroid hormone imbalances. Thyroid disease, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and gut health are all treated with functional medicine. Our patients trust us because we go above and beyond to determine the root cause of your condition and provide a long-term solution. Appointments can be made by calling (801) 528-4844.