An abnormal thyroid can be an indication of a dangerous medical condition, like thyroid cancer or an autoimmune disease. An overactive or underactive thyroid can cause an individual to experience symptoms that could threaten their health and wellness.
What I Should Know About Hypothyroidism
An underactive thyroid, also called hypothyroidism, is a situation in which the thyroid gland makes too little of the hormones it needs. Depending on the cause of the hypothyroidism, the decrease in thyroid hormone levels could be gradual or sudden.
According to Mayo Clinic, for a gradual thyroid hormone deficiency, the initial symptoms tend to be mild. The individual might not notice a problem at first, but over time, heart disease and weight gain can develop. Some people experience fertility issues and even joint pain.
These indications might seem unrelated to each other, which is why many people do not get a diagnosis of hypothyroidism for years. Obesity, in particular, can cause a person to feel hopeless and depressed because overeating and lack of physical exercise are not the roots of the problem.
Additional Components of Hypothyroidism
A person whose thyroid levels are too low can eventually experience these signs:
- Fatigue, which can exacerbate any guilt or misery a person might feel about weight gain
- Becoming more sensitive to cold temperatures than before
- Changes to menstrual cycles
- Dry skin
- Thinning hair
- A thyroid goiter, which is an enlargement of the gland
Hypothyroidism can show other symptoms as well. People should be sure to make a note of any changes in their health and wellness.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
Many different things can cause the thyroid to produce too little of the hormones the body needs. A few examples include:
- Hashimoto’s disease: an autoimmune disorder that is the leading cause of hypothyroidism. The body’s antibodies interfere with the thyroid gland’s ability to make hormones.
- A person who has an overactive thyroid can respond too well to treatment for hyperthyroidism and become hypothyroid.
- Some prescription drugs can affect the thyroid’s function and cause low thyroid levels.
- Medical intervention for other conditions, like cancer, can involve surgery or radiation treatment, which can reduce or stop thyroid hormone production.
Pregnancy can cause a woman to become hypothyroid during gestation or after childbirth. Also, a non-malignant tumor of the pituitary gland can interfere with the chemical signals the thyroid receives that stimulates it to produce hormones.
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What I Should Know About Hyperthyroidism
It can be dangerous when the thyroid gland makes too high a level of thyroid hormone. A person can lose weight without trying, even to an unhealthy extent. People with overactive thyroid glands can experience an irregular or fast heartbeat. A rapid heartbeat is a tachycardia, while an irregular heartbeat is an arrhythmia. The individual might feel as if their heart is pounding, which is called experiencing palpitations.
These cardiac symptoms can be frightening, and for good reason. A person with heart abnormalities from hyperthyroidism faces a higher than average risk of congestive heart failure and stroke.
Also, hyperthyroidism can lead to vision loss or thyrotoxic crisis. Thyrotoxic crisis is when the symptoms of hyperthyroidism quickly get worse, leading to a fast heartbeat, fever, and sometimes delirium. Immediate medical treatment is necessary in this situation.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Since an overactive thyroid gland speeds up the person’s metabolism, an individual can experience signs like:
- Losing weight even without dieting or despite eating more than usual because of increased appetite
- Feeling anxious, irritable, and nervous
- A fine tremor in the hands and fingers
- Becoming more sensitive to heat and sweating more than usual
- Cardiac changes, like tachycardia, palpitations, and arrhythmia
- Swelling at the base of the neck, from a thyroid goiter (swelling of the gland)
- Hair becoming brittle and fine, and the skin becoming thin
These are but a few examples of the indications that a person might be hyperthyroid.
An Irregular Thyroid Could Be Indicative of Cancer and Nodules
Per the Mayo Clinic Health System, If a person’s thyroid is not working correctly, the root of the issue could be thyroid cancer or thyroid nodules. You should not ignore either possibility.
Swollen lymph nodes, vocal changes, or struggling to swallow (along with a lump on the neck) can indicate thyroid cancer. Most thyroid nodules, on the other hand, are non-cancerous. Some nodules are malignant.
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How Thyroid Disease Can Rob Me of Quality of Life
An abnormal thyroid gland will impact many functions of the body, diminishing your quality of life. Think of the thyroid as a car’s engine. If the engine does not function correctly, the entire vehicle can get sidelined.
Getting treatment for a thyroid condition can restore a person’s health, wellness, and zest for life. People are often surprised at how much better they feel after thyroid treatment because they had become used to feeling tired and miserable.
At a HealthGAINS wellness practice, we offer medical treatment for thyroid disorders. We can compound bio-identical thyroid hormones tailored to your needs, as determined in the testing process. Contact HealthGAINS at (305) 912-8828 to learn more.