The impact of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism on your health
Have you gained weight recently? Are you constantly fatigued? Or maybe you’re losing weight for no reason?
These symptoms may indicate a thyroid disorder. The thyroid gland plays a key role in metabolism, affecting the way you feel. Even the slightest dysfunction can take a toll on your health, causing mood swings, weight gain or weight loss, changes in bowel habits, and low energy.
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are the most common thyroid disorders. Each condition has specific symptoms and requires immediate treatment. Women are up to 10 times more likely to develop these problems, so it’s important to get tested regularly.
Thyroid Disorders at a Glance
More than 27 million Americans suffer from thyroid disorders. About 13 million are not aware of their condition. Statistics indicate that one in eight women will develop thyroid disease at some point in life. Hypothyroidism, which is caused by an underactive thyroid, occurs in five of every 1,000 pregnancies, while hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) affects one in 500 expecting mothers. Thyroid disorders are also common among people over the age of 60.
According to health experts, the rise in thyroid disorders may be due to environmental toxins. Exposure to pesticides, BPA, perchlorate, and cigarette smoke increases the risk of developing thyroid disease. Other possible causes include radiation exposure, autoimmune diseases, certain bacteria, regular consumption of soy products, supplemental iodine, celiac disease, and gluten allergies.
What Is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. It is estimated that five out of 100 people in the U.S. have this condition. Its symptoms include constipation, muscle and joint pain, increased sensitivity to cold, weight gain, fatigue, goiter, slowed heart rate, depression, dry skin, and heavy menstrual periods. Since this disorder develops slowly, it can go unnoticed for months or even years.
Several factors may cause an underactive thyroid. In general, iodine deficiency is the primary factor responsible for the onset of hypothyroidism. This condition can be also triggered by certain medications, injury to the hypothalamus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, surgical removal of the thyroid, and inflammation of the thyroid gland. Some people are born with a poorly functioning thyroid.
This disorder is usually treated with levothyroxine, a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone thyroxine. This drug must be administrated in the morning before meals. Most patients diagnosed with hypothyroidism need to take medications for life. That is if they choose not to seek alternative methods of healing.
What Is Hyperthyroidism?
Overproduction of thyroid hormones may cause hyperthyroidism. This condition can also develop before or after pregnancy. It affects up to five percent women and has several forms, such as Graves’ disease, pituitary gland malfunctions, toxic adenomas, and subacute thyroiditis. When the thyroid gland becomes overactive, your metabolism increases. This may cause a variety of symptoms, including rapid weight loss, bulging eyes, diarrhea, trembling hands, and irregular heart beat.
Most people suffering from hyperthyroidism experience muscle weakness, insomnia, poor appetite, increased perspiration, and hair loss. They also keep losing weight despite eating normally. These symptoms can be managed temporarily with beta blockers and other drugs. If they persist, the doctor may recommend radioactive iodine treatment or medications that suppress thyroid function. In severe cases, surgery is the only option.
Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism require treatment. Without proper medications, they may cause serious complications, such as thyrotoxicosis crisis, myxedema coma, heart problems, and infertility. However, there are alternative options available and it is important that you educate yourself on the holistic approaches to healing so you can make an educated decision on how you want to address this problem.
In this series, we will be exploring some of the most effective holistic approaches to healing your body so stay tuned for some interesting and exciting information!