In the United States, it is estimated that there are about 30 million people suffering from one form of thyroid disorder or another. What is even more shocking is that about half of this number is undiagnosed. This is an astounding 12% of the nation’s total population. The epidemic is not synonymous to the US alone but is also affecting the rest of the world.
It is estimated that 430 million people have a thyroid disorder worldwide.
On a worldwide scale many cases have gone unnoticed as a result of many patients and their doctors mistaking the common symptoms for something else.
The major cause of thyroid dysfunction is iodine deficiency. This is a nutrient derived from food such as fish. Modern day poor eating habits and diet may have reduced the intake of this important nutrient that is essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland.
10 Signs of Thyroid Malfunction
- Changes in appetite: It causes a drastic change in food preference.
- Irregularity bowel movement: It leads to bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea.
- Brain Fog: This is an inability to concentrate or difficulty with simple cognition.
- Chronic pain: It causes aches in joints or muscles for no particular reason.
- Fatigue and unexplained tiredness: It causes exhaustion regardless of good sleeping habits.
- Menstrual irregularities: It could lead to an increase or decrease in cramps, flow, or length of periods.
- Mood swings: Sudden change in emotion, causing feelings of sadness or anxiety.
- Improper sleeping habits: It causes sleeping difficulties or makes you want to sleep all the time.
- Reproductive issues: It could cause Infertility, miscarriages, or premature births.
- Temperature sensitivity: It could cause a persistent feeling of being too hot or too cold.
Functions of the Thyroid Gland
The thyroid gland is located in the lower throat area, it is butterfly shaped and it produces the hormones – thyroxine (T-4) and triiodothyronine (T-3). When compared to other organs in the endocrine system the thyroid gland may be small, but it is by no means less important as every part of the human body makes use of the thyroid hormones. These hormones are responsible for managing the human body’s metabolism, body temperature, and blood pressure.
Hyperthyroidism: This is the term used when your thyroid gland produces too much hormones. It is also called an overactive thyroid. This condition can result in an inability to relax, feeling jittery or anxious, unexplained weight loss, rapid heart rate, heart disease, fatigue, lack of focus, significant increase in appetite, deterioration of hair, nails and skin, intolerance to heat, sleep irregularity, and irritability. It is important to note however that this condition is less common in occurrence.
Hypothyroidism: It is the term used when your thyroid produces too little hormones; also called an underactive or sluggish thyroid. Symptoms may not show immediately but the condition adversely affects the human body overtime. An iodine deficiency in these essential hormones can lead to depression, obesity, muscle weakness, heart disease, feelings of fatigue, poor memory and focus, deterioration of hair, nails and skin, intolerance to cold and pain in joints.
Hashimoto’s Disease: This is an autoimmune condition where the human immune system breaks down and sends out antibodies to attack the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is rendered impotent and incapable of its regular function. Studies have shown that a large number of patients with hypothyroidism actually test positive for these antibodies. It is therefore essential for the human body to maintain a strong immune system in order to curtail these antibodies from damaging the thyroid gland.
It is also important to note that the brain sends signals to the thyroid gland (hypothalamus) and the pituitary gland tells the thyroid gland to either produce hormones or not. If the signals are restricted, it can be devastating to the entire human body system.
Reasons Why The Thyroid Gland May Dysfunction
- Environmental pollutants can lead to a dysfunction of the thyroid gland.
- Graves’ disease is a genetic autoimmune ailment that stimulates thyroid hormone production.
- Iodine deficiency.
- Plummer’s disease is benign lumps that stimulate thyroid hormone production.
- Pregnancy and the inevitable changes that occur in the body can cause thyroid dysfunction.
- Stress which could be physical, mental, or emotional may affect the function of the thyroid gland.
- Thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid gland that causes a release of excess thyroid hormone in the blood.
Synthetic hormones are available to combat thyroid dysfunction. It is important of note that for the synthetic alternatives to work most patients’ thyroid glands would have to be incapable of proper function. However, ensuring that the thyroid gland does not deteriorate completely is ideal. In the United States thyroid drugs are the fourth highest selling in the country.
5 Recommended Foods That Are Good For Thyroid Health
- Baked potatoes (preferably with skin)
- Coconut oil
- Cranberries and cranberry juice
- Seaweed and seafood (salmon, sardines, scallops, shrimp and tuna)
- Yogurt, eggs, and cheese
5 Foods Detrimental to Thyroid Health
- Hydrogenated oils (avoid processed or fast foods)
- Refined gluten grains
- Refined sugar
- Sodas, alcohol, or excessive coffee
- Soy products
There is presently no known cure for autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s that cause far-reaching harm and damage to the thyroid gland and consequently lead to conditions such as hypothyroidism. A good diet and a healthy lifestyle can be helpful in dealing with autoimmune conditions. Abstaining from smoking and excessive drinking can go a long way in improving your thyroid and overall health in general.
Original source: dailysuperfoodlove.com