What about your Thyroid?

Thyroid issues: hypo or hyper?

Hypothyroidism (low thyroid) is a hormone imbalance caused when the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone.

What are the Symptoms of Hypothyroid? The most common are fatigue and intolerance to cold. If everybody is wearing short sleeves and you are wearing a jacket, you most likely have a hypothyroid issue. Symptoms which detect hypothyroidism are fatigue, exhaustion, tiredness, weight gain, dry or coarse hair, hair loss, muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches, constipation, depression, irritability, lapse of memory, sensitivity towards cold, puffy face, abnormal menstrual cycles and decreased libido. Many of these symptoms go unnoticed but as you get older these become a real threat.

Influences which can contribute to hypothyroidism are malnourishment, and thyroid and pituitary exhaustion due to excessive caffeine, sugar, alcohol and other stimulants. Malnourishment, of course, does not mean lack of food, but rather, a diet of processed, unnatural foods that are not nourishing. Other environmental factors include the consumption of fluoridated water, and pesticides and radiation.

Hypothyroidism is a condition under which production of thyroid hormone is far less than usual. The purpose of thyroid hormone is to focus on the body’s metabolism and when that is hit, it results in slow metabolism. Slow metabolism affects the growth, development and many cellular processes which can have adverse effect on your body. Many people are victims to this disease, women in general bear the brunt most of the times. The increasing age is another reason to be affected by this disease. In early stages of hypothyroidism, there are hardly any symptoms to detect it early on. When left untreated it can cause many health problems including obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease.

One of the common reasons for hypothyroidism is due to problems with the thyroid gland. On other occasion, it happens due to some problem in the brain or pituitary gland. Other causes for this problem is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, increased amount of drugs, treatment of hyperthyroidism, treatment for thyroid tumors, iodine deficiency, family history, old age, radiation and postpartum thyroiditis.

One of the main causes of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ Disease and/or Hashimoto’s.  Graves’ Disease, an autoimmune disease that sees an individual’s thyroid gland as a foreign object invading the body and produces antibodies to attack the gland.  This causes the thyroid gland to produce a greater than normal amount of thyroxine.  As a person’s thyroxine level increases, the body’s metabolic rate increases as well.  A higher metabolism rate can lead to several health problems, including irregular heartbeat and anxiety disorders.

Graves’ Disease occurs mostly in middle-aged women, but it has also been known to occur in children and the elderly.

Symptoms of Graves’ Disease include a sensitivity to heat, weight loss, brittle hair, restlessness, muscle weakness, increased appetite, tremors, blurred or double vision, nervousness, redness and swelling of the eyes, fatigue, changes in heart beat and sex drive. While Graves’ Disease is an incurable ailment, it is not life threatening and can very well be treated with anti-thyroid drugs, radioactive iodine, or surgery to remove most of the thyroid gland.

These are some thyroid blockers that we all need to be aware:

 A new clinical symptom that doctors are seeing increasingly frequently is a cluster of symptoms caused by eating too much soy. Some women are eating soy products such as tofu and tempeh, taking soy protein powders, drinking soy milk, eating soy “energy” bars, and taking soy supplements for they phytoestrogenic effect – every day! This is overdoing it and leads to blocked uptake of glucose in the brain, blocked absorption of minerals, blocked absorption of protein, and blocked thyroid function. Like everything else, soy should be eaten in moderation and I don’t recommend the use of soy protein powders or drinking soy milk on a regular basis. Eating soy a few times a week should be plenty. If you eat excessive amounts of the cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, you can block thyroid function. Again, a few times a week is plenty. Many prescription drugs can block or decrease levels of one or both thyroid hormones. The most common include prednisone, barbiturates, oral contraceptives, cholesterol-lowering drugs, heparin, phenytoin (Dilantin), propranolol, and aspirin.