Deal With Thyroid Problems
Edited by Lor777, Charmed, Eng
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck. For a little gland, it has a big job. You could call it a "chemical commander" that sends activity messages to the brain, heart, liver, kidney, and bones. The thyroid controls how the body burns fuel to produce energy. Increased amounts of thyroid hormones can speed up the body's chemical reactions. Lowered amounts can slow down activity. Either way, thinking and physical activity can be affected. Thyroid problems are common, but these problems sometimes go undetected. Thyroid problems are not a stage of life. They can and should be treated. Thyroid symptoms develop slowly and may include the following:
Symptoms of Thyroid Problems
With hypothyroidism, there is a decrease in the amount of thyroid hormone produced. The complex communication system between the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain somehow breaks down, and as a result, the thyroid cuts back on hormone production. Hypothyroidism occurs four times more often in women than men, most frequently between the ages of 35 and 60. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is a disease called Hashimoto's, where the immune system turns against the thyroid gland. Viruses and bacteria can also hinder production of the thyroid hormone. For some people on medication for an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), the drug can make the gland produce little hormone, resulting in hypothyroidism.
Thy symptoms of hypothyroidism can develop slowly over months, which is why some of the following symptoms may go unnoticed:
- Lack of energy.
- Performing mental tasks become difficult.
- Slowed heart rate.
- Weight gain in spite of less food.
- Dry, lifeless hair.
- Issues tolerating cold temperatures.
- Numbness or tingling in the hands
- Poor memory, reduction in metal prowess.
- Muscle cramps.
- Poor hearing.
- Hoarse voice.
- Speech problems.
- In women, heavy and/or prolonged menstrual periods.
- In men, impotence.
It is common to feel like you have slowed down at times. However, if you experience one or more of the above symptoms consistently, check with your doctor. Hypothyroidism can be treated with medication. Long-term follow-up is important, and annual checkups are a must.
Hyperthyroidism, or too much thyroid hormone, is most commonly caused by an autoimmune condition called Graves' disease. No one knows what triggers this disease, which is seven times more common in women than in men. Hyperthyroidism can also follow a viral infection. Thyroid problems are common in the later years of life. The danger is to ignore the symptoms because you think they are a common occurrence of growing older.
Too much thyroid hormone, or a hyperthyroid glad, can result in one or more of the following symptoms:
- Anxiety, difficulty sitting still.
- Difficulty in relaxing or getting sleep.
- Shaky hands.
- In cold temperatures, less sensitivity.
- Increased sweating.
- Irregular, faster heartbeats.
- Shortness of breath even if you are not doing much.
- Itchy eyes.
- Unexpected weight loss.
- Extreme weakness.
- Swelling of the thyroid gland itself, goiter.
- In premenopausal women, few or no menstrual periods.
Symptoms that are less common include the following:
- A gritty feeling in the eyes.
- Eyes that appear to bulge out.
- Blurred vision.
It is possible to recover completely from hyperthyroidism with treatment. The most common treatment for this disorder is radioactive iodine. It is consumed in the form of a pill and acts upon the thyroid gland to slow it down. Surgery may also be required to remove either part or all of the overactive thyroid and is highly successful in 90% of the cases. Whichever treatment is recommended, the chances of reversing the problem are excellent.
Tips Tricks & Warnings
- If you change doctors, be sure to notify your new doctor of your thyroid condition.
- Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are both treatable.
- Diagnosis in the early stages of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism is important.
- Warning signals of these problems can be missed, ignored, or misdiagnosed.
- Staying tuned into your body and its signals will help you and your doctor maintain the best health regimen.