How to Identify Signs of Thyroid Issues and How to Fix Them
It is just a tiny, butterfly-shaped gland, but the thyroid is a body part of major importance. Located at the base of the neck, in front of the windpipe and above the collarbone, it has an impact on your liver, kidneys, heart, brain, skin, and more. Your thyroid produces hormones, which are transported throughout your body via the bloodstream, in order to control body temperature, digestion, and metabolism. It’s obvious that a healthy thyroid is important, but did you know that about 20 million people in the United States suffer from some type of thyroid disorder? About have of these people are not even aware that problems with the thyroid are causing them to experience symptoms like weight gain and fatigue. Do you know whether your thyroid is healthy? What are the early warning signs of thyroid problems?
Hypothyroidism vs. Hyperthyroidism
The two primary categories of thyroid problems are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, with the majority of thyroid issues falling under one of these two categories. Hypothyroidism is the most common, and it means the thyroid gland is underactive. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, fatigue, intolerance to cold, dry skin and hair, mood changes, constipation, muscle weakness, aches and pains, and brain fog. Can hypothyroidism cause anxiety? Yes, but depression is more common, and anxiety is typically linked with hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid, causes problems like weight loss, nervousness, insomnia, large or bulging eyes, excessive perspiration, multiple bowel movements, thinning hair, and a rapid heartbeat. Another issue with the thyroid gland is that it can become enlarged. That is called a goiter, and it develops in the neck, typically because of a lack of iodine. It is rare in countries where iodized salt is widely available.
Symptoms of Thyroid Issues
While someone might not notice symptoms of thyroid issues at first, there are some early warning signs. These include dry skin, fatigue and lack of focus, anxiety, irritability, weight gain or loss, changes to the menstrual cycle, constipation, puffy face, feeling cold, muscle weakness, and trouble exercising. If you have some of these symptoms, and you have a risk factor for thyroid problems, it’s important to see a doctor so that you can be properly assessed. Risk factors include a poor diet or sedentary lifestyle, a family history of thyroid disease, a medical condition like anemia, type 1 diabetes, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis, past treatment for thyroid condition, being over 60, and taking a medication high in iodine.
Sometimes, thyroid cancer can develop. Symptoms include a lump in the neck, hoarseness, trouble swallowing or breathing normally, swollen lymph nodes, a persistent cough, or thyroid pain in the neck. What does thyroid pain feel like? It is typically pain at the base of the throat, where the thyroid is located, though this pain can also radiate to the jaw or ears. Thyroid pain does not always indicate the presence of cancer, but if it persists, you should see your doctor.
Thyroid issues can be treated with medication, either to raise or lower your amount of thyroid hormone. Many patients are better served, however, with a more holistic approach. A diet rich in nutrients, including adequate amounts of selenium, iodine, and zinc, can help balance your thyroid and improve your endocrine health. Managing stress, getting enough sleep, and reducing the toxicity of your environment, along with taking supplements to fill in nutritional gaps, are all also keep components of maintaining a healthy thyroid.
Schedule An Appointment with Advanced Functional Medicine
At Advanced Functional Medicine, an integrated medical clinic, we exclusively practice functional medicine. A full functional medicine approach to healing uses a comprehensive diagnostic screening to get to the root of a patient’s issues. Our whole body approach to medicine utilizes all-natural, researched-based nutritional approaches to optimize the body’s natural healing abilities, rather than just using medication to treat symptoms. Each individual receives unique and customized care, formulated based on the latest scientific resource, and we have a 96 percent success rate in patient outcomes. As a medically driven, patient-focused health clinic, we support our patients’ individual health goals, providing natural relief for symptoms of chronic factors and expert guidance about the decisions affecting a patient’s long-term health. It is our goal to help reverse chronic disease without resorting to dangerous or unnecessary drugs or surgical interventions, promoting healing from the inside out, in its truest, healthiest form. To schedule an appointment or learn more about how we can help restore your health and strengthen your body’s unique physiological functions, call 858-500-5572 or contact us through our website.