Thyroid gland – a powerful ‘butterfly’

To explain in the easiest way what is your thyroid and why you need to keep it healthy, I will use American Thyroid Association definition first:

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is normally located in the lower front of the neck. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body.

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Thyroid hormones helps the body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should. Let’s stop here for a while. You should already notice that thyroid is one of the most important organs in your body. Why? – look up, it keeps you warm, keeps your brain, muscles and other organs working – how huge responsibility this is!
There are 3 thyroid hormones: TSH, T3, T4
TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is produced when the hypothalamus releases a substance called thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). TRH then triggers the pituitary gland to release TSH. TSH causes the thyroid gland to make two hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Ok, sounds a bit advanced, but this is how these hormones are produced. The main function of T3 and T4 is to help control your body’s metabolism. In general: if your thyroid gland produces all of the hormones, you do not have a reason to worry about. Your metabolism is fine, you are energized enough to function normally, you feel good. But what if your thyroid stops producing hormones? Here we got the problem.

From slow-motion to hyper activation

If you have too low hormones levels, your body slows down. Your metabolism too – you have stomach problems, constipation. You feel fatigue and extremely tired and sleepy all the time. Your period is irregular and the cycle is longer. Cold hands and feet in the middle of the summer? This becomes norm for you… Dry skin and falling hair are another symptoms you may notice if your thyroid stopped producing enough hormones. This may be indication that you suffer from hypothyroidism.
If you have too much hormone produced in your body, you will see symptoms opposite to those above. Your metabolism is super fast, you may even loose weight. You may also become familiar with chronic nervousness, irritability, increased perspiration, heart racing, hand tremors, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, thinning of your skin, fine brittle hair and weakness in your muscles. These are symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

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This is not the worst news, because both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism when not treated may lead to: Graves’ Basedow disease or Hashimoto disease. These are much more serious cases, which have autoimmune background. To confirm those, you need special blood tests from your endocrinologist.

Keep your eyes open

I hope now, when you know more about thyroid diseases, you are aware that you really should take care of your thyroid. It is not something what you should let go. I also would like to highlight that not all of the symptoms must be such obvious – for example I suffer from hypothyroidism so according to the all books definitions I should have too slow metabolism and difficulty losing weight, but I am XS size! Some may think I have hyperthyroidism then, but why I was sleepy and had all of the symptoms of hypo except gaining weight? Everyone is different, I remind you. Your symptoms may be mixed together, but the most important is to observe yourself and your reactions to medications, hormones, foods, supplements.
If you noticed symptoms I described above appearing together, because tiredness after you just came back from work is probably normal – do not get too crazy, 🙂  I recommend to have your blood tests done just in case. Tell your doctor about symptoms and ask to have first your TSH, T3, T4 hormone tested.
(source supporting me: American Thyroid Association)

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Hello! My name is Barbara. On this blog I share my passion for natural products, healthy foods and cosmetics. You'll find here hypothyroidism related articles as well as beauty product reviews. Collaboration: iamthyroidtoday@gmail.com

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