If you have been reading my blogs and have read my “About Wendy” page, you know that I have medical conditions that I deal with on a daily basis. The medical condition that I have been dealing with most lately is my hypothyroidism.
If you have a thyroid condition whether “hyper” or “hypo”, you know when there are changes that have occurred. I have been working out faithfully for the past two months and have been eating healthier and watching what I eat now for several months, not losing a single pound (actually gained). I have also been feeling more fatigued, muscle fatigue and weakness, anxiety, and been having mood swings. So, I decided “Wendy, you need to get to the doctor and have your thyroid levels tested because something is definitely not right”. Well, I was correct!! The doctor’s office called me today and my thyroid levels are too low again and they need to increase the dose on my medications. SURPRISE, SURPRISE!!! Because the thyroid affects your quality of life and I’m struggling with mine right now, I have decided to talk about it.
Thyroid 101: What is the thyroid and what does it do?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck just below the Adams apple. The gland wraps around the windpipe (trachea) and has a shape that is similar to a butterfly formed by two wings (lobes) and attached by a middle part (isthmus). The thyroid gland works like a tiny factory that uses iodine (mostly from the diet in foods such as seafood and salt) to produce thyroid hormones. These hormones help to regulate the body’s metabolism and effects processes, such as growth and other important functions of the body.
The two most important thyroid hormones are thyroxine (T4) andtriiodothyronine (T3), representing 99.9% and 0.1% of thyroid hormones respectively. The hormone with the most biological power is actually T3. Once released from the thyroid gland into the blood, a large amount of T4 is converted to T3 – the active hormone that affects the metabolism of cells throughout our body.
What signs and symptoms can occur if thyroid function is affected?
If the thyroid is under-active, symptoms of hypothyroidism may occur. The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism vary widely, depending on the severity of hormone deficiency. Some of the complaints experienced by patient’s with hypothyroidism include:
- mental fogginess and forgetfulness
- feeling excessively cold
- dry skin
- fluid retention
- non specific aches and stiffness in muscles and joints
- excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)
Hyperthyroidism is suggested by a number of signs and symptoms. Patients with mild disease usually experience no symptoms. In patients older than 70 years of age, the classical manifestations may also be absent. In general, the symptoms become more obvious as the condition worsens. The symptoms are usually related to an increase in body metabolism. Common symptoms are listed below:
- Excessive sweating
- Heat intolerance
- Increased bowel movements
- Tremor (usually a fine shake)
- Nervousness; agitation
- Rapid heart rate
- Weight loss
- Decreased concentration
- Irregular and scant menstrual flow
Weight Loss is Regulated by the Thyroid
The thyroid gland is the primary regulator of your body’s metabolism. If it does not function properly people can have weight loss as well as weight gaining issues.
It plays a distinct role in maintaining body temperature, can adjust the metabolic rate of every cell, controls neurotransmitters in the brain altering your moods, appetite, behavior and emotions.
When the thyroid isn’t doing its job, many people have significant hair loss, or feel cold even though it is warm. When emotions aren’t regulated the result is often depression, forgetfulness, irritability and weight loss problems.
An underactive thyroid can’t regulate your body’s rate of metabolism and you become overweight, suffering with weight loss problems, even if you only eat a little food. If you have an underactive thryroid, without treatment weight loss seems hopeless.
Weight loss isn’t possible when your metabolism slows to a crawl. You feel fatigued, and your mind acts like it is in a fog.
Most people do not realize how much thyroid imbalance can effect and change their quality of life. If you are one of those who has struggled with weight loss for many years, you may find relief when you get the proper hormone testing.
So, my suggestion is…. If you have any of the above listed symptoms, I recommend you making an appointment with your physician to make sure that your thyroid isn’t awry. I look forward to feeling myself again in the near future and hopefully I will start losing the unwanted pounds again.
If anyone has any suggestions regarding the thyroid and/or thyroid diseases, nutrition related, other symptoms, treatments, etc please post a comment below. Comments are always welcome!!!
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Have a fabulous day and as always,
“Eat Healthy, Live healthy”