How Is Your Thyroid Function?
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
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Are you one of those people who has been experiencing symptoms of: fatigue, feeling cold, poor memory and concentration, constipation, dyspepsia, weight gain or loss, shortness of breath, hoarse voice, heavy menstrual period (for female), abnormal sensation, poor hearing or signs of: dry, coarse kin, cool extremities, hair loss, slow pulse rate, swelling of the limbs, delayed relaxation of tendon reflexes, carpal tunnel syndrome, pleural effusion, ascites, pericardial effusion….
If so, perhaps you’d like your doctor or endocrinologist to check to see if you have hypothyroid. People with hypothyroidism often have no or only mild symptoms. Numerous symptoms and signs are associated with hypothyroidism, and can be related to the underlying cause, or a direct effect of not having enough thyroid hormones. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may present with the mass effect of a goiter (enlarged thyroid gland). Delayed relaxation after testing the ankle jerk reflex is a characteristic sign of hypothyroidism and is associated with the severity of the hormone deficit. Recently I’ve come across quite a few people showing signs/symptoms of hypothyroidism. So I’d like to take this opportunity to share some basic understanding of thyroid gland, potential cause of problems associated with this important gland/organ, doctors’ advice, and patients’ experience in dealing with this condition.
Hypothyroidism (The word “hypothyroidism” is from Greek hypo- meaning “reduced”, thyreos for “shield”, and eidos for “form.” ), also called underactive thyroid or low thyroid, is a common disorder of the endocrine system in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. It can cause a number of symptoms, such as poor ability to tolerate cold, a feeling of tiredness, constipation, depression, and weight gain (although some hypothyroid people may present unexplained incessant weight loss). Occasionally there may be swelling of the front part of the neck due to goitre. Untreated hypothyroidism during pregnancy can lead to delays in growth and intellectual development in the baby, which is called cretinism. Worldwide, too little iodine in the diet is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. In countries with enough iodine in the diet, the most common cause of hypothyroidism is the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Less common causes include: previous treatment with radioactive iodine, injury to the hypothalamus or the anterior pituitary gland, certain medications, a lack of a functioning thyroid at birth, or previous thyroid surgery. The diagnosis of hypothyroidism, when suspected, can be confirmed with blood tests measuring thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine (T4)levels. Prevention at the population level has been with the universal salt iodization. Hypothyroidism can be treated with levothyroxine. The dose is adjusted according to symptoms and normalization of the thyroxine and TSH levels. Thyroid medication is safe in pregnancy. While a certain amount of dietary iodine is important, excessive amounts can worsen certain types of hypothyroidism (so careful monitoring is needed).
Worldwide, about one billion people are estimated to be iodine deficient; however, it is unknown how often this results in hypothyroidism. In the United States, hypothyroidism occurs in 0.3–0.4% of people. Subclinical hypothyroidism, a milder form of hypothyroidism characterized by normal thyroxine levels and an elevated TSH level, is thought to occur in 4.3–8.5% of people in the United States. Hypothyroidism is far more common in women than men . People over the age of 60 are more commonly affected. Dogs are also known to develop hypothyroidism and in rare cases cats and horses can also have the disorder.
By now, I hope you have a much better understanding of thyroid, hypothyroid, difference between hyper and hypothyroid, and subclinical hypothyroid. Be sure you are getting sufficient: vitamin D3, selenium, vitamin B12, thiamine, iodine, oxygen, rest (sleep 8 hrs per day), probiotics, and magnesium, decrease stress and toxic environment or emotional state in order to have healthy thyroid function. Finally, don’t forget some of the helpful yoga poses especially good for thyroid.
Disclaimer: I am not a physician nor a health care practitioner. I am simply a researcher who is interested in sharing information and educational material that would help to increase our chance of healthy, happy, and sustainable living.
~Let’s Help One Another~
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