by HEALTHY HEART CLINICS
What is thyroid disease?
Firstly, what is your thyroid? Your thyroid is the butterfly-shaped gland on the front of your neck, just above your collarbone. Your thyroid controls and secretes hormones your body needs to function. If your thyroid makes either too much or too little of these important hormones, you can be diagnosed with a thyroid disease. In general terms, thyroid disease is a medical condition that keep your thyroid from making the right number of hormones.
Examples of these diseases include:
Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism happens when your thyroid is making too much hormone.
Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism happens when your thyroid is making too little hormone.
Thyroiditis: Thyroiditis is when the swelling of the thyroid gland is causing your thyroid to produce less hormone.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: This is an autoimmune disease that causes your body’s cells to attack and damage the thyroid.
What causes thyroid disease?
Commonly, both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can be caused by other diseases that impact the way the thyroid gland works.
Conditions that can cause hyperthyroidism:
- Overactive nodules
- Graves’ disease
- Excessive iodine
Conditions that can cause hypothyroidism:
- Inflammation of the thyroid gland (thyroiditis)
- Iodine deficiency: Your thyroid uses iodine to produce hormones. If you have an iodine deficiency, you are at risk of developing thyroid disease.
- Postpartum thyroiditis: a temporary condition that occurs in 5% to 9% of women after childbirth.
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: It is an inherited, autoimmune condition where the body’s cells attack and damage the thyroid.
- Non-functioning thyroid gland: At times, babies are born with a non-functioning thyroid gland. This is detected by a blood screening test all newborns receive in the hospital.
What are symptoms of thyroid disease?
Common symptoms of an over producing thyroid (hyperthyroidism):
- Trouble sleeping
- Weight loss
- Enlarged thyroid gland
- Muscle weakness or tremors
- Sensitivity to heat
- Vision trouble
- For women, irregular menstrual periods Common symptoms of an under active thyroid (hypothyroidism):
- Weight gain
- Memory loss or forgetfulness
- Sensitivity to cold temperatures
- For women, frequent and heavy menstrual periods
- Hair is dry or coarse
- Voice becomes hoarse
When should I see my provider?
See your provider if you are experimenting fatigue for no reason or any other symptoms of a thyroid disease. These may include dry skin, constipation, hoarse voice, or a pale, puffy face.
How can I improve my quality of life?
- Controlling your hormone levels: Controlling your hormone levels is key to managing thyroid disease. Most times, living with thyroid disease requires daily medication to help balance your hormone levels. Follow your provider’s instructions to take your medications and be sure to schedule follow-up visits as often as your provider recommends. Following up with your provider is important in order to monitor treatments and adjust your medications if needed.
- Exercise: Exercising boosts your metabolism. It is important to stay active. Talk with your provider about your recommended exercise routine.
- Healthy foods: Eating healthy foods can aid your body in balancing your hormones. For example, if you are experiencing an iodine deficiency, incorporate foods that are rich in iodine (such as sea foods, eggs, milk, cheese and yogurt). Speak with your provider about your specific dietary needs to best support your health.
Each patient deserves the highest quality of care. Creating a personalized care program tailored to each patient’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances can help people regain control and maintain optimum health.