Your thyroid is an essential hormone-secreting gland that works to regulate your metabolic rate, temperature, development, and the function of your heart, muscles, and digestive system. The thyroid works with other glands in your body, such as the pituitary gland, to release certain amounts of thyroid hormones, T-3 and T-4 into the bloodstream.
Sometimes, the thyroid produces too much or too little hormones, which can cause significant problems. This is a thyroid imbalance. Keep reading to learn about the different types of thyroid imbalances, their symptoms, and how it can impact your body.
Symptoms of a Thyroid Imbalance
It is estimated that up to 20 million people in American have a type of thyroid imbalance. Additionally, as many as 60 percent of people with a disorder that affects the thyroid doesn’t know about their condition. Genetically speaking, women are anywhere from five to eight times more likely to develop a thyroid condition.
Since a thyroid imbalance can present itself in many different ways, it may be difficult to diagnose.
The signs and symptoms depend on how long the condition has been going on as well as the type of imbalance. Here are some symptoms of a thyroid imbalance.
The early signs of a thyroid imbalance may be mistaken for other conditions such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, premenstrual syndrome, fibromyalgia, menopause, lupus, diabetes, and more.
Signs and symptoms vary from person to person but, in general, early indicators you may have a thyroid imbalance are constant fatigue, a sore throat, swelling of the tongue, face, and eyes, changes in hair texture, digestive issues, a recent increase in weight or trouble losing weight, and mood changes such as depression.
A low or underactive thyroid, also called hypothyroidism, can be caused by the condition of Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition that damages the thyroid gland. When the gland is damaged, it becomes unable to produce enough T3 and T4 hormones to support the body.
Here are some later signs that are common indicators of hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid:
- Brain fog
- Cold intolerance
- Muscle pain and/or cramps
- Impaired sense of taste and/or appetite
- Dry, cracked, or rough skin
- Hair loss
- Change in menstrual periods
- Elevated cholesterol levels
Hashimoto’s disease affects up to five percent of people and is most common in those between the ages of 40 and 60. It can be diagnosed by viewing the enlarged gland via ultrasound or testing the blood for thyroperoxidase antibodies. Untreated or undiagnosed hypothyroidism can lead to life-threatening conditions like heart failure, myxedema, nerve damage, and even death.
Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s can be treated by taking synthetic thyroid hormones such as Cytomel. Side effects of Cytomel are similar to those of an overactive thyroid and your dodge should be monitors carefully by your doctor. It can also interact with other medications such as estrogen, birth control, blood thinners, insulin, antidepressants, and aspirin, as well as foods that contain high amounts of iodine.
Another medication for hypothyroidism, Synthroid, can be taken 30 minutes to one hour before eating breakfast to control hypothyroidism. Supplements or antacids containing aluminum, magnesium, calcium carbonate, simethicone, or iron has the ability to inhibit the function of Synthroid in the body and should be taken at least four hours apart.
Both of these medications are typically taken for the rest of a person’s life unless otherwise indicated by a doctor.
An overactive thyroid, also called hyperthyroidism, could also be caused by an autoimmune condition. Grave’s disease is a condition that causes a person’s own antibodies to attack the thyroid, which triggers it to produce excessive amounts of T3 and T4 hormones.
While it is not the only cause of an overactive thyroid gland, is a common cause. Women under the age of 40 are most often diagnosed with Grave’s disease.
Signs your thyroid may be overacting are as follows:
- Unintentional weight loss
- Increased or irregular heart rate
- Changes in menstrual periods
- Heat sensitivity
- Changes in digestive patterns
Signs of Grave’s disease encompass those of hyperthyroidism and include Graves’ ophthalmopathy. Graves’ ophthalmopathy affects the yes causing swelling, pain, pressure, a bulging appearance, sensitivity to light, double vision, and even loss of vision.
Medications such as Tapazole is available to treat hyperthyroidism. It works to decrease the number of hormones produced by the thyroid gland and regulate the levels again. This medication is taking anywhere from one to three times per day, with or without food.
Typical side effects of Tapazole are an upset stomach, vomiting, a mild rash, or itching, however, these typically go away or lessen as treatment goes on.
As with any new treatment or medication you start, your doctor should monitor your dosage and any side effects you experience to make sure it is the right medication for you. This medication could interact with blood-thinning medications.
When it comes to treating your thyroid imbalance, whether you have an overactive or underactive thyroid, it is all about finding and maintaining a balance.
This is Everything You Need to Know About Thyroid Imbalance Disorders
A thyroid imbalance is serious and should be addressed by a doctor as soon as possible. If you have the above symptoms of an under or overactive thyroid, talk to a medical professional. Thyroid hormone imbalances can be treated and managed with the proper medications and lifestyle changes.
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