The thyroid produces hormones T4 and T3, which impact the metabolic processes throughout your body. The pituitary gland, in turn, releases thyroid-stimulating hormones to regulate the production of the thyroid hormones. Thyroid disorders arise when the thyroid either overproduces (hyperthyroidism) or underproduces (hypothyroidism) the hormones.
Common Causes Of Thyroid Disorders
Hashimoto thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. Hashimoto’s disease, also called chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis or autoimmune thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disease.1
In children aged 6 years and older, the incidence was estimated to be 1.3% in a sample of 5000 children aged 11-18 years. In adults, the incidence was estimated to be 3.5 per 1000 women per year and 0.8 per 1000 men per year.
Worldwide, the most common cause of hypothyroidism is iodine deficiency. However, in the United States, Hashimoto thyroiditis remains the most common cause due to adequate iodine intake.2
What Does A Healthy Thyroid Do?
- Increase the basal metabolic rate (metabolism) in all cells.
- Maintain normal body temperature.
- Stimulate protein synthesis.
- Increase the use of glucose and fats for energy production.
- Reduce blood cholesterol levels.
- Indirectly affect the heart rate and blood pressure by enhancing the effects of adrenaline and noradrenaline.
- Accelerate body growth.
Signs Of Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland produces excess thyroid hormones. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune condition known as Graves’ disease, which makes up more than 90% of the hyperthyroid cases. This condition affects about 2% of the female population and has a strong hereditary component. It is often characterized by an enlarged thyroid gland.
The symptoms can include:
- Increased heartbeat
- Muscle weakness
- Weight loss
- Poor sleep
Identifiable signs of hyperthyroidism include:
- Clubbing of fingers
- Muscle wasting
- Hand tremors
- Increased reflexes
Signs Of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is identified by a low thyroid-stimulating hormone in the blood. It affects a large number of women than men.
The symptoms can include:
- Weight gain
- Lack of motivation
- Slow recovery from injury
- Slow gut motility
- Cold extremities
- Low body temperature
Some visible signs of low thyroid function can include:
- Thinning and loss of hair
- Thinning of the outer part of the eyebrow
- Swelling and puffy face
- Dry brittle hair
- Dry skin
Lesser Known Facts About Hypothyroidism
- Hashimoto’s is the cause of hypothyroidism in 90% of Americans.
- Thyroid replacements such as Synthroid, Armour, and Cytomel may normalize TSH, but they do not manage the symptoms.
- It is advisable to avoid gluten strictly as studies link gluten intolerance with Hashimoto’s.
- The pituitary function plays a role in underactive thyroid symptoms.
- The adrenal function also plays a role in underactive thyroid symptoms.
- Thyroid hormone resistance, under conversion to T3, over conversion to T3, and other metabolic factors drive hypothyroidism symptoms.
If you suspect that you have a thyroid disorder based on the information given here, consult a qualified practitioner who specializes in thyroid disorders and has a functional medicinal experience working with the endocrine system.
|↑1||Hashimoto’s Disease, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases NIDDK.|
|↑2||Maier, Joshua David, John Cody Ford, and Sherry Lynn Ryan. “Iodine Deficiency in a Euthyroid Male in Iodine Replete United States.” In CLINICAL/TRANSLATIONAL-Causes & Treatment of Hypothyroidism, pp. P3-608. The Endocrine Society, 2011.|