What is the Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid is a brownish-red, highly vascular two-inch gland. In humans, it has a "butterfly" shape, with two lateral lobes that are connected by a narrow section called the isthmus. The thyroid is located just below the surface of the skin and therefore is readily accessible for examination, both visually and by palpation.
Why is the Thyroid Gland important?
The thyroid plays an important role in regulating how fast your body is running (metabolism). In fact, the T4 and T3 hormones are responsible for controlling the rate of metabolism of every cell in the human body. Iodine is necessary for the production of both hormones. The levels of hormones secreted by the thyroid are controlled by thyroid-stimulating hormone released by the pituitary gland.
What are Thyroid related conditions?
Thyroid function is directly related to Adrenal function, and Thyroid symptoms can therefore have a similar presentation as Adrenal Fatigue symptoms.
However, there are several health conditions related specifically to Thyroid function:
- Hypothyroidism -- An underactive thyroid.
- Hyperthyroidism -- An overactive thyroid.
- Goiter -- An enlarged thyroid.
- Thyroid Nodules -- Lumps in the thyroid gland.
- Thyroid Cancer -- Malignant thyroid nodules or tissue.
- Thyroiditis -- Inflammation of the thyroid.
What are the symptoms of a Thyroid condition?
Common symptoms include:
- weight gain
- fuzzy thinking
- low blood pressure
- fluid retention
- body pain
- slow reflexes
- hair loss
- dry skin and brittle nails
- puffy eyes
- menstrual irregularities
- inability to tolerate cold temperatures
How can I improve my Thyroid health?
Thyroid function is directly connected to Adrenal function, both of which are directly affected by how you handle stress.
When stress becomes chronic, the flood of stress chemicals (adrenalin and cortisol) produced by your adrenal glands interferes with thyroid hormones and can contribute to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, unstable blood sugar, and more.
A prolonged stress response can lead to adrenal exhaustion16 (also known as Adrenal Fatigue), which is often found alongside Thyroid disease.
Reducing stress is therefore vital to improving your Thyroid health.
Diet and nutrition are also very important factors in improving Thyroid health. Lifestyle influences contributing to diabetes, cancer, heart disease and obesity also affect your Thyroid, including:
- Processed foods
- Environmental toxins
- Lack of exercise
Ask your health practitioner to check for underlying causes (e.g. iodine loading analysis (24 hour urinary collection), hormone imbalance, environmental toxicity, inflammation).
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