The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland found at the base of the neck. It is a part of the endocrine glands – a network that coordinates the body’s activities. It releases a hormone called thyroid hormone that aids in regulating the rate of metabolism of the body.
Several diseases may arise when your body has an imbalance in thyroid hormones. For one, if there is an excessive release of thyroid hormones in the body, you’ll experience a disorder called hyperthyroidism. However, too little thyroid hormones in the body could also result in hypothyroidism.
A person can develop a hyperthyroidism when there is an excess in the production of the thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. It’s most prevalent in women than in men. Graves disease is one disorder that is caused by hyperthyroidism and it affects 70% of women. The symptoms of hyperthyroidism include: restlessness, nervousness, irritability, shaking, muscle weakness, unusual weight loss, and the most obvious is the bulging eyes as shown by people suffering from graves’ disease.
Hypothyroidism, on the other hand, happens when there is less production of the thyroid hormone. This happens when the thyroid gland becomes inactive or less active than usual. The damage in the thyroid hormone can happen as a result of exposure to radiation treatments or hashimoto’s disease. Hypothyroidism may exhibit symptoms like fatigue, dry skin, weight gain, weakness, or on more severe cases, coma.
The American Thyroid Association has stated that 70% of Americans has a chance of developing a thyroid disease over the course of their lifetime. While we can’t really ensure that we will not develop a thyroid problem, there are some preventive measures we can do in to help decrease our chances of having one.
Smoking has been shown to increase the risk factor of developing thyroid diseases because of the toxins found in cigarettes.
When you have hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, it is important to be careful of what food you take in as it may cause your condition to worsen.
Potassium and iodine are very important in preventing thyroid diseases. It decreases the incidence of the body to absorb radioactive substances that could potentially endanger the thyroid gland. These can be taken in supplement form.
Regular check-ups can help detect early signs of a developing thyroid disease. Pay your doctor a visit every now and then and look out for symptoms of a thyroid disease.
Thyroid diseases are very common in the American population. Although some of it is curable, still, prevention is better than cure.