What is Thyroid?
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped organ is in front of your neck. It’s part of a tangled network called the endocrine system. This system manages the coordination of many body actions. It is very important to understand the symptoms, causes, and ways to prevent thyroid disease.
The thyroid gland produces hormones that balance your body’s metabolism. When the thyroid doesn’t function, we can see the consequences in the entire body.
The four common disorders of thyroid are:
1. Hyperthyroidism (Graves’ disease)
Thyroid glands are overactive and produce more hormone refers to hyperthyroidism.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism:
- Increased sweating
- Trouble in sleeping
- Unplanned weight loss
- Irregular menstrual periods
- The menstrual cycle has stopped
- Eye irritation or vision problems
2. Hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s disease)
Thyroid glands are less active and produce insufficient hormone refers to hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Dry skin and hair
- Weight gain
- Frequent and heavy menstrual periods
- Having a hoarse voice
When thyroid glands expand disregarding the cause it refers to goiter.
Symptoms of Goiter:
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Swelling in the lower part of your neck
- Difficulty in breathing
- Hoarse voice
4. Thyroid nodules
The fluid-filled lumps that appear within your thyroid gland refer to thyroid nodules.
Symptoms of Thyroid nodules:
- Increased sweating
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Undetermined weight loss
Along with the symptoms, you should also note the causes and ways to prevent thyroid disease.
Causes of Thyroid
The thyroid gland doesn’t generate enough hormones. This disturbs the balance of chemical response in your body. There are two types of the thyroid:
Causes of Hypothyroidism are:
- Iodine deficiency: The thyroid gland utilizes iodine to produce hormones. The body is not able to produce iodine on its own, so food sources help in getting iodine.
- Any non-functioning thyroid gland: The thyroid gland does not function from birth. It should be immediately treated as it has health-related problems in the future.
- Thyroiditis: The swelling of the thyroid gland reduces the production of hormones. This causes thyroid disease. You may feel tired and depressed.
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: The body cells attack and damage the thyroid. It causes thyroid disease. It is an autoimmune condition. The main reason for this is inheritance.
- Postpartum thyroiditis: It is a temporary condition. This may occur in women after childbirth, miscarriage, or abortion. It may cause if you have an immune system disorder or family history.
- Thyroid surgery: The production of hormones stops. It may be by the removal of all or major parts of the thyroid gland. This leads to thyroid disease.
- Over-reaction to hyperthyroidism treatment: Radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medications normalize hyperthyroid levels. But, in some cases, it leads to hypothyroidism.
- Radiation therapy and medications: Radiation cures cancer of neck and head affects. It affects the thyroid gland. This leads to hypothyroidism. There are many medications that contribute to hypothyroidism.
Causes of Hyperthyroidism are:
- Thyroiditis: This situation is either painful or not felt at all. The thyroid delivers hormones and lasts for a few weeks or months.
- Graves’ disease: The thyroid gland is overactive and produces too much hormone. This complication is a toxic multi-nodular goiter.
- Excess iodine: Iodine is the mineral that should be used to make thyroid hormones. With the help of excess iodine present in the body, the thyroid makes extra hormones then it needs. Excess iodine is present in some medications and cough syrups.
- Nodules: If a nodule is overactive within the thyroid it causes hyperthyroidism. The nodule starts to produce thyroid hormones. This upsets the body’s chemical balance. Some of the goiters consist of many of these nodules.
- Pituitary gives rise to hypothyroidism: The pituitary gland is the master gland. It produces hormones that activate other glands to release other hormones. The pituitary generated hyperthyroidism is central hyperthyroidism.
- Fetal-Neonatal hyperthyroidism: The newborns of women who suffered from graves’ disease in pregnancy. They may face this hyperthyroidism. A history of treatment in the disease have chances of developing this hyperthyroidism. The warning signs are rising heart rate, low birth weight. They may be due to enlarged thyroid gland, repeated bowel movements.
I hope the symptoms and causes are clear so let’s see ways to prevent thyroid disease
Ways to Prevent Thyroid disease
1.Healthy iodine levels:
Iodine intake is the key element of manufacturing thyroid hormones. If there is a deficiency of iodine, there is no production of the thyroid hormone. You must take iron supplements in case of deficiency.
2.Limit your toxic exposures:
There are some chemicals that are toxic to your thyroid gland. To name a few:
Triclosan found in antibacterial soaps and toothpaste
BPA found in food can linings and plastic items
The nonstick coating on pans
PFCs for stain-resistance
- Fabrics, etc
Choose products that do not have these chemicals.
3. Avoid unnecessary dental x-rays:
Dental x-rays can expose your thyroid gland to radiation. This will in turn increase the risk of suffering from thyroid disease. Plan your dental x-rays when they are necessary. Request your dentist to use protective lead thyroid collar from radiation exposure.
4. Stop smoking:
The chemical thiocyanate in cigarettes damages the thyroid gland. It is difficult to treat some thyroid-related conditions who are cigarette smokers. Consult a doctor to know effective ways to stop smoking.
5. Keep a stock of potassium iodide handy:
If you stay around a nuclear camp. You should stock potassium iodide supplements. You should have them handy at home, work, in the vehicle you travel for all your family members. If any nuclear accident takes place you will have to face radiation. The authorities will guide you on how to take the pills. The consumption of these pills will reduce your risk of getting thyroid problems.
6. Don’t consume excess soy products:
Soy is a questionable element. Especially for the health of the thyroid gland. It is better to consume soy products in limits for health.
7. Stop overeating raw goitrogenic vegetables:
Goitrogenic vegetables are cruciferous vegetables. If you eat them raw in excess quantity the functioning of the thyroid gland slows down. These vegetables are broccoli, spinach, etc. Eat them by steaming or cooking them. This will reduce their thyroid-slowing effects.
8. Test for celiac disease (if any symptoms):
Celiac disease is an autoimmune situation. It makes your intestine to respond to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in grains. It is thrice in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease. Such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease. The absorption of essential minerals minimizes in people suffering from celiac disease. As a result of which thyroid dysfunction triggers. It is necessary to test celiac disease if you have any symptoms.
9. Eat supplement with selenium:
Selenium is a health food found in certain proteins. The thyroid has an extreme accumulation of selenium in an adult body. The intake of selenium not only prevents thyroid disease but also boosts immunity. Consult your doctor first before taking a supplement with selenium.
10. Do the thyroid neck checkup:
You should perform thyroid neck checkups. This will help to know if there are any bumps, lumps, or swelling on your thyroid that is close to the surface. To test stand in front of the mirror and drinking water, sip by sip. While swallowing the water you see any swelling in the thyroid gland area. Consult your doctor immediately.
11. Visit your doctor:
Consult the doctor not only for thyroid health but the health also. If you have a family history of thyroid disease. It is very important to check thyroid hormone levels yearly.