You may not give your thyroid a second thought until it stops working properly. This post looks at what happens when things go wrong with your thyroid.
What Happens When Things Go Wrong With Your Thyroid?
The small butterfly-shaped thyroid gland releases a steady supply of hormones to support a wide range of life-sustaining activities within the body.
In essence, your body needs thyroid hormones to survive. So when things go wrong it has a major impact on your overall health and vitality.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that thyroid problems are often difficult to spot. The symptoms vary from person to person, and many of the warning signs overlap with other health conditions.
Thyroid Hormones Out of Balance?
When things are running smoothly the thyroid takes up iodine from the bloodstream to manufacture the necessary amount of thyroid hormones to keep your body working in tip-top shape.
It’s important to know the two main thyroid hormones are triiodothyronine (T3) and pro-hormone thyroxine (T4).
What happens when thyroid hormones get low?
When not enough thyroid hormones are produced, or there is a decline in thyroid hormone activity within the body, it leads to a wide range of symptoms.
This is termed hypothyroidism and the two main warning signs are ongoing fatigue, and a colder than normal body temperature.
In contrast, if the thyroid becomes overactive and produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormones the metabolic rate speeds up. Termed hyperthyroidism, treatment is focused on lessening the severity of the symptoms. This is due to the fact hyperthyroidism causes a rapid heart rate, tremors, weight loss, and anxiety.
Four Common Thyroid Disorders You Need To Know About
There are four common thyroid disorders. This includes; goiter, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves’ disease, and thyroid nodules.
1. Goitre aka Enlarged Thyroid
Goitre refers to swelling and enlargement of the thyroid.
A swelling or enlargement in the neck is a visible clue that something is going wrong with your thyroid. Known as a goiter, this kind of noticeable swelling can cause physical discomfort, and difficulty with swallowing. Research shows low iodine intake is the most common cause of goiter.
2. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune thyroid disorder that leads to hypothyroid symptoms. This thyroid disorder occurs when the immune system produces antibodies that target the thyroid. This immune response sparks inflammation and swelling. If Hashimoto’s disease is not picked up early this autoimmune attack causes serious harm to the thyroid. Hashimoto’s disease is also a risk factor for developing thyroid nodules.
3. Grave’s Autoimmune Thyroid Disease
Grave’s disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. This overactive thyroid disorder occurs when the immune system produces antibodies that target the thyroid. This immune response triggers excess production of thyroid hormones. Metabolism then swings into high gear producing a rapid heart rate, sweating, tremors, and weight loss.
4. Thyroid Nodules
Thyroid nodules are abnormal tissue growth within the thyroid. Most thyroid nodules are benign but any type of abnormal growth within the thyroid requires a medical assessment. If there are concerns, or the nodules appear suspicious they are surgically removed.
If you suspect something is wrong with your thyroid it’s vital to get professional help as the thyroid is part of an integrated whole-body system that requires healing. To diagnose a potential problem your healthcare practitioner will do a physical exam, discuss your symptoms, and perform comprehensive thyroid testing.