Yesterday marked the end of World Thyroid week. This little butterfly shaped gland that wraps around your windpipe below the adams apple, plays an important role in hormone production. There is a complex balance of chemical processes that occur and the thyroid plays a role in many key hormonal systems. The main role of the thyroid can be put simply as providing oxygen to the bodies cells. Cells need oxygen to thrive. So is it any wonder that the number one system associated with thyroid malfunction is low energy. Your body is starved for the energy it needs and has trouble functioning without oxygen getting to all the cells. There are many other symptoms of thyroid distress. Some of which are common to other ailments.
What if you have a normal thyroid? What if you have no idea how healthy you thyroid is?
It’s not hard to find out. There are tests that your doctor can perform to determine the level at which your thyroid is functioning. You might say that you are fine and don’t need to worry about your thyroid. An estimated twenty seven million americans have thyroid disease and more than half are undiagnosed.* There are several diseases that are a result of poor thyroid function. Hypothyroidism is a low functioning thyroid. Meaning it doesn’t produce the amount of hormones that it should. Hyperthyroidism is when it produces to much. These are the two most common, however there is goiter, parathyroidism, auto-immune disorders etc. It’s a matter of what symptoms you have as to what might be going on with your thyroids balance. With the stress and modern lifestyle we lead it can be hard to pinpoint the symptoms of thyroid disfunction. The common complaints of tiredness and painful joints can be from multiple things. Ironically stress is one of the lifestyle factors that can create an imbalance in the first place. So it’s important to have your thyroid checked if you suspect there might be a problem.
Even if you have a normal functioning thyroid, the health of this little gland should not be ignored. There is delicate balance of hormones within the thyroid and the endocrine system. There are a number of things that can set this balance off kilter. Heredity aside, diet, stress, the amount of exercise you do and your emotional state all can affect this balance. Taking care of yourself is something that goes beyond skin deep. It’s not vanity to take care of you body. Especially when there are things going on behind the scenes that you can have such a great impact on. There are things you can do to increase your chances of a healthy hormonal balance and a well functioning thyroid. In my next article I will discuss environmental risk factors, goitrogens, the ills of processed flour and sugar, and how physical activity can keep your thyroid in good shape.
Have you had a thyroid problem? What did you do and how has it helped at maintaining health in the long run?
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