A recent article highlights the issue of thyroid problems and how many people may have one and not even know it.
The article explains that the thyroid has a fundamental influence on our well-being, and that:
“The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the back of the neck below the Adam’s apple and wraps around the windpipe. It produces thyroid hormones that control the metabolism, or the rate at which the body’s cells go about their business.”
“The thyroid gland affects the functioning rate of every cell in the body. Thyroid hormones influence every organ, tissue and cell in the body. They also control heart rate, body weight, body temperature, energy level, muscle strength and menstrual regularity.”
“When the thyroid malfunctions, it can do so in one of two ways. It can produce too little thyroid hormone, a condition known as hypothyroidism, which causes the body to function at a lower rate. Or, it can produce too much hormone, known as hyperthyroidism, which speeds up the rate at which each cell functions. Both conditions can result in troublesome symptoms.”
An under active thyroid gland can have the following effects:
“It makes its nearly 15 million sufferers feel tired and nervous, irritable, and sleepless, and it can make them lose weight.
This condition is called hypothyroidism and:
“Half of those who are afflicted with thyroid disease don’t even know they have it, attributing its symptoms to unrelated issues such as aging, menopause or depression.”
“It is estimated that nearly 10 to 15 per cent of those diagnosed with depression actually have a thyroid hormone deficiency.
The symptoms it shares with depression include fatigue, memory loss and difficulty concentrating. But the distinguishing symptoms of hypothyroidism are: coarse, dry skin and hair, intolerance to cold and constipation. A blood test can determine if it is hypothyroidism.”
“Hypothyroidism can also contribute to heart disease. One prominent side effect of a low level of thyroid hormone is an increased amount of LDL cholesterol circulating in the blood.”
“LDL is the so-called “bad” cholesterol, known to build up inside blood vessels. People whose hypothyroidism goes untreated can develop permanent damage to the coronary vessels of the heart. It can also damage other vessels throughout the body.”
“Someone with hyperthyroidism might experience any or all of the following symptoms: nervousness, decreased menstrual flow, weight loss, and irregular heartbeat.”
“An excess of thyroid hormone results in an increased metabolism, or a speeding up of all reactions that occur in the body. Many of the people who chalk their symptoms up to a case of nerves may actually suffer from hyperthyroidism.”
It is not generally appreciated what a fundamental effect the thyroid has on the body’s proper function, and certainly anyone suspecting they may have one of the two disorders should see their doctor to get a simple blood test. If they are feeling constantly tired and apathetic this may not be just a case of depression and lack of satisfaction with their life, but may have a real underlying physical cause. Hypothyroidism is much more common than hyperthyroidism and more common than many realize. If you are diagnosed as having an under active thyroid gland it is easily treated with thyroid hormone supplements. Hyperthyroidism is rather more difficult to manage but is still treatable, so anyone suspecting thyroid problems should seek medical advice.