Examination of the thyroid is usually by observation of the gland and surrounding neck for enlargement or swelling. It is usually felt from behind, and a person is often asked to swallow to better feel the gland against the fingers of the examiner. The gland moves up and down with swallowing. Here Dr. Joseph Mercola, Mercola. com, reflects on what you need to know about your thyroid health:
“Your thyroid, one of the largest endocrine glands, greatly influences almost every cell in your body. Aside from regulating your metabolism and weight by controlling the fat-burning process, thyroid hormones are also required for the growth and development in children and in nearly every physiological process in your body.
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When your thyroid levels are out of balance, so are you. Too much or too little hormone secretion in this gland can spell trouble for your overall health and well-being.
Mounting research shows that 10 to 40 percent of people living in the United States have suboptimal thyroid function.1 Poor thyroid function has been linked to serious health conditions like fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, acne, eczema, gum disease, infertility, and autoimmune diseases, which is why it’s imperative that you to learn how your thyroid works and what can cause it to go off kilter.
The Thyroid Gland: Understanding How It Works
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The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland found inside your neck, right under your larynx or voice box. A two-inch long, brownish red, highly vascular gland, it has two lobes located on each side of the windpipe that are both connected by a tissue called the isthmus. A normal thyroid gland weighs somewhere between 20 and 60 grams.
Your thyroid is responsible for producing the master metabolism hormones that control every function in your body. It produces three types of hormones:
- Triiodothyronine (T3)
- Thyroxine (T4)
- Diiodothyronine (T2)
Hormones secreted by your thyroid interact with all your other hormones, including insulin, cortisol, and sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. The fact that these hormones are all tied together and are in constant communication explains why a less-than-optimal thyroid status is associated with so many widespread symptoms and diseases.
Almost 90 percent of the hormone produced by your thyroid is in the form of T4, the inactive form. Your liver then converts the T4 into T3, the active form, with the help of an enzyme. T2, however, is currently the least-understood component of thyroid function and the subject of a number of ongoing studies.
If everything is working properly, you will make what you need and have the correct amounts of T3 and T4, which control the metabolism of every cell in your body. If your T3 is inadequate, either by scarce production or not converting properly from T4, your whole system suffers. T3 is critically important because it tells the nucleus of your cells to send messages to your DNA to rev up your metabolism by burning fat. This is how T3 lowers cholesterol levels, regrows hair, and helps keep you lean.
Your T3 levels can be disrupted by nutritional imbalances, toxins, allergens, infections, and stress, and this lead to a series of complications, including thyroid cancer, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism, which today are three of the most prevalent thyroid-related diseases. Now, let’s discuss and delve deeper into these thyroid problems.
Hypothyroidism: The Sluggish Thyroid Syndrome
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Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone, a condition that is often linked to iodine deficiency.
Dr. David Brownstein, a board-certified holistic practitioner who has been working with iodine for the last two decades, claims that over 95 percent of the patients in his clinic are iodine-deficient.
In addition, 10 percent of the general population in the United States, and 20 percent of women over age 60, have subclinical hypothyroidism,2 a condition where you have no obvious symptoms and only slightly abnormal lab tests.
However, only a marginal percentage of these people are being treated. The reason behind this is the misinterpretation and misunderstanding of lab tests, particularly TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). Most physicians believe that if your TSH value is within the “normal” range, your thyroid is fine. But as I always say, the devil is in the details. More and more physicians are now discovering that the TSH value is grossly unreliable for diagnosing hypothyroidism.
How to Know If You Are Hypothyroid
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Identifying hypothyroidism and its cause is tricky business. Many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are vague and overlap with other disorders. Physicians often miss a thyroid problem since they rely on just a few traditional tests, leaving other clues undetected.
The most sensitive way to find out is to listen to your body. People with a sluggish thyroid usually experience:
• Lethargy — Fatigue and lack of energy are typical signs of thyroid dysfunction. Depression has also been linked to the condition. If you’ve been diagnosed with depression, make it a point that your physician checks your thyroid levels.
It’s essential to note that not all tiredness or lack of energy can be blamed on a dysfunctional thyroid gland. Thyroid-related fatigue begins to appear when you cannot sustain energy long enough, especially when compared to a past level of fitness or ability. If your thyroid foundation is weak, sustaining energy output is going to be a challenge. You will notice you just don’t seem to have the energy to do the things like you used to.
Some of the obvious signs of thyroid fatigue include:
◦ Feeling like you don’t have the energy to exercise, and typically not exercising on a consistent basis
◦ A heavy or tired head, especially in the afternoon; your head is a very sensitive indicator of thyroid hormone status
◦ Falling asleep as soon as you sit down when you don’t have anything to do
• Weight gain — Easy weight gain or difficulty losing weight, despite an aggressive exercise program and watchful eating, is another indicator.
• Rough and scaly skin and/or dry, coarse, and tangled hair — If you have perpetually dry skin that doesn’t respond well to moisturizing lotions or creams, consider hypothyroidism as a factor.
• Hair loss — Women especially would want to pay attention to their thyroid when unexplained hair loss occurs. Fortunately, if your hair loss is due to low thyroid function, your hair will come back quickly with proper thyroid treatment.
• Sensitivity to cold — Feeling cold all the time is also a sign of low thyroid function. Hypothyroid people are slow to warm up, even in a sauna, and don’t sweat with mild exercise.
• Low basal temperature — Another telltale sign of hypothyroidism is a low basal body temperature (BBT), less than 97.6 degrees Fahrenheit averaged over a minimum of three days. It is best to get a BBT thermometer to assess this.
Any of these symptoms can be suggestive of an underactive thyroid. The more of these symptoms you have, the higher the likelihood that you have hypothyroidism. Furthermore, if you have someone in your family with any of these conditions, your risks of thyroid problems become higher:
The more vigilant you are in assessing your own symptoms and risk factors and presenting the complete picture to your physician, the easier it will be for you to get the proper treatment.
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Read More … Article Source: https://articles.mercola.com/thyroid.aspx
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