What You Need To Know About The Two Main Thyroid Gland Disorders: Symptoms, Causes And Risk Factors
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland, located in the throat. Since one of the main functions of this gland is to be a thermostat of the human body, it constantly regulates our body temperature, hunger and energy consumption. Thus, thyroid gland disorders can cause many problems.
What are the most common problems with the thyroid gland? The diseases of this gland can have a very negative impact on almost every aspect of your life. From weight problems, to depression and anxiety, the thyroid is vital to your physical, mental and emotional health.
Symptoms Of Thyroid Gland Problems
Most of the diseases connected to this gland fall into two categories: hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid function) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid function). However, hypothyroidism is much more common than hyperthyroidism. Also, hypothyroidism is more common in women.
The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism are:
– Chronic fatigue, lethargy, lack of motivation and sometimes depression
– Mood swings and anxiety
– Sensitivity to cold
– Dry hair and skin
– The skin is often cold to the touch, with blue or purple fingers on the hands and feet
– Problems with concentration and memory loss
– Inexplicable weight gain
– Constipation, bloating and other digestive problems
– Weakness in the muscles, muscle cramps and sometimes even pain
The most common symptoms of hyperthyroidism are:
– Nervousness and anxiety
– Insomnia and sleep problems
– Accelerated heart rate
– Puffy, swollen eyes
– Unexplained weight loss
– Increased sweating
– Muscle weakness
– Frequent bowel movements with loose, watery stools
– Thin and brittle hair
What Causes Thyroid Problems?
In the case of hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland does not secrete sufficient amounts of the T3 and T4 hormones, or both. It’s believed that the most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s disease, when the body attacks the thyroid gland and hampers its proper functioning. Hashimoto’s disease occurs due to an autoimmune response of the body, which badly affects the normal secretion of hormones. The most common causes of this disorder are too much stress, nutritional deficiencies (especially lack of iodine), weakened immune system and toxic load. In general, iodine deficiency is considered the main cause of hypothyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition when the body secretes high amounts of thyroid hormones. Usually, Graves’ diseases triggers hyperthyroidism, but lumps on the thyroid gland and taking T4 hormone in the form of a pill can also be the cause.
Many factors can cause problems with the thyroid gland, from genetics to unhealthy life habits (insufficient sleep, poor nutrition). Some of the most significant risk factors include:
– Deficiency of three important nutrients, which are necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland – iodine, zinc and selenium.
– Poor nutrition, which means a lot of processed and fast food, with a lot of sugar and fat. Also, too much caffeine and alcohol leads to stress and poor digestion.
– Stress, anxiety, chronic fatigue and depression. Stress affects the normal function of the adrenal glands, which in turn affects the entire immune system, kidneys, liver, and thyroid gland.
– Poor digestion and diseases of the digestive organs.
– Reactions to immunosuppressants, which are usually used to treat some other autoimmune disease or cancer.
– Pregnancy and other hormonal changes.
– Physical inactivity.
– Exposure to chemicals and contact with environmental pollutants.