Getting to Know Your Thyroid

Have you ever heard of the small butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck? Let’s take a moment to talk about this small but very important gland known as the thyroid. The thyroid is a very important player in the endocrine system and primarily produces a hormone called thyroxine. When the thyroid is not functioning optimally, it creates many problems and can cause disorders in the human body.

The hormones secreted by this gland help control your body’s metabolism while traveling throughout the entire body. Thyroxine, one of the primary hormones that the thyroid produces, is secreted into the bloodstream and travels to many organs where it becomes triiodothyronine. Thyroxine is very important for heart and digestive function, metabolism, brain development, bone health, and muscle control because of all the functions that thyroxine plays in the human body it is important to maintain proper levels of the hormone for good health.

Some symptoms to watch out for in case of thyroid deficiency are:

  • Excessive fatigue
  • Depression
  • Hair loss
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Sleep problems
  • Mental fogginess
  • Anxiety

Women who are trying to have children can find it difficult to get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy.

Dr. Mark Hyman has provided a “6-Steps to Heal Your Thyroid” on his website. Below is a condensed version from the one found on his website.

  1. Eliminate the Causes of the Thyroid Problems
    • Look at your lifestyle and consider what could be affecting your thyroid. Talk to your doctor, look at your diet, try and nip the possible source of your thyroid problem in the bud.
  2. Regular Exercise and Saunas
    • Exercise helps with the stimulation of the thyroid gland and can help increase tissue sensitivity to thyroid hormones in the body.
    • Saunas can help with flushing out toxins that can be contributing to thyroid problems.
  3. Eat Foods that Provide Nutritional Support for your Thyroid and Avoid those that Don’t
    • Always make sure to choose foods that offer nutritional support for your thyroid.
    • Some thyroid-boosting foods are iodine-rich foods like seaweed and sea vegetables, fish, omega-3 fats, and vitamin D.
  4. Use supplements that support your thyroid
    • Make sure to find out what kind of supplements you need from your healthcare practitioner.
  5. Have your Thyroid Tested
  6. Choose the Right Hormone Replacement
    • If your thyroid is severely out of balance it is very important to find out if hormone replacement therapy is needed.

Always make sure to visit a medical practitioner to get help and receive a diagnosis of any thyroid abnormalities. There are many forms of thyroid dysfunctions, which means exams are needed to help diagnose the correct form and treatment.

Sources:

  • Brody, Jane E. “The Subtle Signs of a Thyroid Disorder.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 24 July 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/well/live/the-subtle-signs-of-a-thyroid-disorder.html.
  • Hyman, Mark. “6-Steps to Heal Your Thyroid.” Dr. Mark Hyman, 10 Aug. 2017, drhyman.com/blog/2015/06/10/a-comprehensive-6-step-strategy-to-heal-your-thyroid/.
  • Stöppler, MD Melissa Conrad. “Thyroid Disorders: Symptoms, Treatment & Types.” MedicineNet, 27 Sept. 2017, www.medicinenet.com/thyroid_disorders/article.htm#what_are_thyroid_disorders.
  • “Thyroid Disease.” Womenshealth.gov, 6 Feb. 2017, www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/thyroid-disease.
  • “Thyroxine.” Hormone Health Network, www.hormone.org/hormones-and-health/hormones/thyroxine.

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