One of the biggest responsibilities every adult has is understanding the different parts of the human body – one of those being the thyroids. The thyroid glands are medically classified as endocrine glands and they are located in the front of the neck. These glands store and produce hormones that affect the function of just about every organ in the human body. Moreover, the thyroid hormones (also medically referred to as T3) regulate the metabolic rate and is often associated directly with the changes in body weight and energy levels. When assessing your thyroids, physicians measure the serum to identify the production and secretion of T3. If levels are abnormally high, individuals will experience a rapid heart rate and their eyes may appear to be bulging. For those suffering from concerning lower levels many report extreme fatigue, constipation, dry skin, and coarse hair.
Being educated on the functionality and purpose of your thyroids is very important. While some of the general symptoms are very broad, it’s important to be cautious when multiple symptoms are experienced. If you’re concerned, consider logging your daily medical concerns and observations in a journal – having these symptoms written down will make your conversations with your doctor more productive and insightful.
Signs to be aware and take notice are:
- Exhaustion: Do you constantly feel tired, even if you get a full night’s sleep? When a decreased amount of the thyroid hormone is circulating through your bloodstream, that means your cells aren’t telling your muscles to move normally.
- Depression: Your body produces serotonin in the brain and that hormone is what tells your brain that you’re feeling good. When you’re running low on serotonin, your mood reacts and causes the individual to feel depressed.
- Anxiety: Are you feeling anxious often or perhaps more than usual? If after trying to relax you’re unable to unwind, then you may be experiencing a thyroid imbalance. The best way to determine whether or not your anxiety is associated with an event or health concerns is to remove yourself from a stressful situation. For example, if work has you stressed out, take a mental health break and give yourself a few days off. If you’re still experiencing high levels of anxiety, it may make sense to discuss your concerns with your doctor.
- Hunger: From time to time an increased appetite is directly associated with your thyroids. Since you’re consuming more calories, often times this leads to weight gain.
- Altered Taste Buds: When your thyroids are imbalanced, your taste buds and sense of smell can be altered. Things that you once loved may now be revolting.
- Difficulty Concentrating: Your cognitive functioning can take a major hit when your thyroids are not working properly. While it’s not abnormal to forget things, it’s not normal to always be forgetful.
- Fluttering: Individuals experiencing fluttery feelings could potentially be experiencing heart palpitations. The fluttering can be equated to your heart skipping a beat or two or beating too hard. Often times, the fluttering is a sign of too many thyroid hormones flooding an individual’s system.
- Dry Skin: A change in your skin’s texture and appearance is a sign of slowed metabolism – which may also reduce sweating. This effect can also be passed on to nails becoming brittle and developing ridges.
- Constipation: The disruption of hormone production can cause one’s digestive processes to slow down.
- Menstrual Cycle: Changes Longer and heavier menstrual cycles can be a sign of a shortage of hormones. It’s important to advise your gynecologist of menstrual concerns – especially as women get older.
- Pain: Mysterious and/or sudden pain your arms, legs, feet, and/or hands can be a sign that your body is not producing enough of the thyroid hormones to satisfy your body. Many patients, experiencing problematic thyroid issues, report unexplained tingles and twinges throughout their arms, legs, feet, and/or hands – sometimes the pain is consistent in all parts and sometimes it’s not.
- High Blood Pressure: Having an elevated blood pressure can be linked to a thyroid disorder. People with high blood pressure are usually two to three times more likely to develop hypertension because their pumping strength and blood level walls are in jeopardy.
- Neck Feels Uncomfortable: Does your neck have any bulges or protrusions in the thyroid area? If you see or feel any lumpy or suspicious largeness, it’s important to discuss these developments with your physician.
According to The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, approximately 30 million Americans have a thyroid disorder – of that it is estimated that half of sufferers go undiagnosed. Women are 10 times more likely than men to have thyroid problems. Therefore, it is very important to vocalize any concerns you have with your physician and to make sure you’re going to the doctors for annual physicals to assure you’re in the best physical health.
In addition to consulting your doctor there are several ways an individual can treat their thyroid problems naturally. Here are just a few:
- Truly understand and get educated on the link between nutrition and thyroid functionality. Strive to eat according to a healthier diet and limit the amount of processed and prepackaged food you’re consuming. Increase the vegetables and fruits in your diet – and limit your meat intake.
- Reduce your sugar intake and avoid sugar substitutes. Using herb stevia is a great alternative for individuals giving up sweets.
- Consider taking supplements. Taking extra doses of zinc and selenium minerals is a great way to help your thyroids function at primal levels. Most patients, who have thyroid issues, often have low Vitamin D levels – the recommended level of Vitamin D3 is 2,000 IU daily.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Drinking water throughout the day will help you feel healthy and allow your body to function properly.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. While your exercise doesn’t have to be rigorous, it’s important to stay active. Take a walk or join a group fitness class – there are so many options available that do not necessarily require you to spend a lot of money or join a gym.
- Reduce stress levels. It’s important to identify your areas of stress within your life and work, then make the decision to eliminate obligations that are not necessarily important.
Remember, thyroid problems are a very common issue within the United States. It’s important to address concerns in a timely manner, so that symptoms do not spiral into a worse medical diagnosis.