The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located at the lower front of your neck. This gland is responsible for making and storing essential hormones that regulate heart rate, metabolism, breathing, body temperature, menstrual cycles, mood, and more.
When the thyroid malfunctions, the body may begin to experience a wide range of life-altering symptoms, such as sudden and extreme weight gain, chronic depression, and heart conditions. Unfortunately, about %12 of people have a thyroid condition, making these issues extremely common.
Keep reading for information on how to recognize and treat thyroid problems early.
There are many symptoms associated with thyroid conditions that may occur from one of many different thyroid conditions. In many cases, one condition may present itself in the complete opposite way as another. For example, hyperthyroidism is an overproduction of the thyroid hormone thyroxine, and it often causes extreme weight loss. On the other hand, hypothyroidism is an underproduction of the hormone and results in extreme weight gain.
The many thyroid conditions possible consist of the following:
- Hyperthyroidism- Overproduction of thyroid hormone
- Hypothyroidism- Underproduction of thyroid hormone
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis- autoimmune disease causing inflammation and dysfunction to the thyroid gland.
- Graves Disease- Autoimmune disease that occurs when hyperthyroidism is left untreated.
- Goiter- The irregular growth of the thyroid hormone.
- Thyroid Nodules- the overgrowth of normal thyroid tissue.
- Thyroid Cancer- The growth of cancer cells originating in the thyroid.
Symptoms that may be caused by thyroid conditions include:
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Dry skin
- Muscle weakness, stiffness, or pain
- Puffy face or eyes
- Enlarged or bulging eyes
- Thinning hair
- Depression, irritability, or anxiety
- Memory problems
- Inflamed or swollen thyroid gland
- Heavy or irregular menstrual cycles
- Hoarse voice
The symptoms which typically are a definitive sign of thyroid issues are enlarged eyes and swollen thyroid glands; however, they do not always occur when a thyroid issue is present. If you are experiencing multiple symptoms on the above-mentioned list, consider talking to your doctor about thyroid testing.
Depending on the type of thyroid condition, there may be multiple treatment options available.
Medication– Medications may be used to stop or encourage the production of thyroid hormones depending on whether an individual has hyper or hypo hypothyroidism. The most commonly prescribed medication for hyperthyroidism is methimazole, and the most common for hypothyroidism is levothyroxine.
Thyroid Surgery– when hyperthyroidism becomes severe, removal of the thyroid gland may be required to permanently stop hormone production. If a person’s thyroid is removed, the individual will take thyroid replacement medications for the rest of their life.
Radioactive Iodine– Radioactive iodine can be used to damage the cells of your thyroid which prevents it from overproducing thyroid hormones.
Some individuals have a more manageable thyroid condition that can be maintained without invasive treatment. Those individuals may consider integrating the following options into their life.
Beta-blockers– Beta blockers do not stop the production of thyroid hormones. Instead, beta blockers reduce the symptoms making everyday life easier.
Medical marijuana– Medical marijuana also reduces the symptoms such as depression, weight gain or weight loss, anxiety, pain, and fatigue. Here you can learn about which cannabis strains help with thyroid conditions.
Lifestyle changes– Like most medical conditions, healthy changes to your lifestyle can greatly decrease many symptoms. Examples of period lifestyle changes that can improve thyroid symptoms are eating healthy-non processed foods, regular exercise, and staying stress-free.
Thyroid problems are some of the most common medical conditions found worldwide. These conditions can cause the thyroid gland to produce too much or too little of the hormone; thyroxine, causing thyroid dysfunction and swelling or abnormal growth.
Depending on the individual and their specific thyroid condition, symptoms may include fatigue, thyroid gland swelling, enlarged eyes, muscle pain, depression, anxiety, memory problems, and more. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and may be treated differently for each individual.
Common treatments for thyroid conditions include medication, surgery, and radioactive iodine. Treatment for the symptoms associated with thyroid conditions includes medical marijuana, lifestyle changes, and beta blockers.
When thyroid conditions are left untreated, several additional health problems may occur, including heart disease and nerve damage. If you feel your symptoms are attributed to a thyroid condition, contact your doctor to begin the testing process.
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