Our bodies consist of a number of biological systems that carry out specific functions necessary to keep us healthy. One of them is the thyroid gland. Being one of the largest endocrine glands, this small, butterfly-shaped gland found inside your neck, right under your larynx or voice box greatly influences the functions of other body organs.
So why do we need to keep our thyroid in good shape?
Here are some things that can help you understand how your thyroid generally affects your health and why it is vital to your well-being:
Thyroid is associated with metabolism.
Since the thyroid glands pump out hormones that control metabolism throughout the body, thyroid problems may either result in weight gain or weight loss, depending on your thyroid hormone production. Research findings show that upsetting the balance of hormone level in the body can make it more challenging to maintain specific weight. When one experiences a medical condition like hyperthyroidism (excessive hormone production) or hypothyroidism (low hormone production), it may result to sudden changes in appetite, body weight and even the metabolic and digestive processes as a whole.
Thyroid affects your energy, emotions and moods.
“An overactive thyroid is typically associated with anxiety, hyper emotionality and even psychosis; thus, this may also result in some cognitive issues like forgetfulness or decreased motor skills,” R. Mack Harrell, MD, past president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists told Women’s Health Magazine. He also explained that an underactive thyroid is associated with feelings of depression and the want to withdraw from social situations. Unusual shifts of emotions and mood swings especially on women have been associated with its biochemical imbalance.
Thyroid problems can make you either feel hot or cold.
Having excessive or low thyroid hormone levels lets you either sweat a lot or feel so cold due to irregular metabolic rate. Hyperthyroidism speeds up your normal body processes, giving you a higher metabolic rate. “People with hyperthyroidism can wake up sweating at night because of the increased energy burn with a rapid heartbeat,” Harrell shared. “However, hypothyroidism could make you reach for an extra sweatshirt since your body’s metabolic rate has slowed down, making you feel colder.”
Thyroid problems can cause infertility and irregular menstrual cycle.
Studies show that thyroid dysfunction can adversely affect fertility problems and increase miscarriage risks. Additionally, abnormal thyroid hormones disturb the normal menstrual pattern, reducing the likelihood of pregnancy. Likewise, autoimmune abnormalities have been associated with reproductive failure or recurrent miscarriage caused by either abnormal sexual development, menstrual irregularities or infertility. So if you are planning to become pregnant, consider getting a thyroid evaluation.
Thyroid issues can affect your physical appearance.
Brittle nails, hair loss, itchy scalp, thinning eyebrows, or pale and scaly skin might be indications of undiagnosed thyroid problems. Though these can be treated through proper medical intervention, prevention is always better than cure. So, remember that you can only restore your natural hair texture, nail strength, suppleness or dryness of the skin when your thyroid disorder is effectively dealt with, keeping the levels of your thyroid hormone balance. Eating the right foods and living a healthier and stress-free lifestyle are just two of the many things that you can do to help yourself.
Thyroid problems can be linked to serious health conditions.
Poor thyroid hormone production may lead to elevated cholesterol levels and subsequent heart diseases. If left undiagnosed or untreated, this may also cause fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, cystic acne, gum diseases, osteoporosis and autoimmune diseases. Aside from understanding how the thyroid works, it is really imperative that we understand how to keep the gland healthy and learn how to deal with its symptoms.
Because if your thyroid gland isn’t working properly, neither are you.
If you’re looking for holistic advice to improve your health, call us on 07 3399 1002. book in an appointment with one of our experienced naturopaths.
You may also be interested in reading how soy can affect your thyroid health in our article: What’s All the Fuss About Soy? Part 3 – Thyroid, Heart & Bone Health