Understanding Your Thyroid


The thyroid gland located in the front of your neck — and not the thigh like your biology-challenged blogger mistakenly thought at first — is the gland responsible for how your body utilizes food and energy; basically, your ability to metabolize food. The thyroid gland emits a hormone that controls how fast or slow your major organs are working. 

Your thyroid works by utilizing the iodine from foods in your diet to create thyroid hormones. This gland is controlled by the pituitary gland which sits at the base of your brain, and determines how much thyroid hormone to produce into your blood.

Thyroid issues are commonly associated with weight loss and weight gain. Oftentimes, individuals who have trouble losing weight despite a drastic change in diet and exercise, can attribute their difficulties to an underactive thyroid gland. The gland is not producing enough hormones to allow your body to metabolize your food quickly enough. Other symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland include constipation, feeling cold in inappropriate settings, fatigue, dry skin, and a slow heart rate. 

On the other hand, individuals attempting to gain or maintain their weight, but find themselves rapidly losing weight could be suffering from an overactive thyroid gland. Other symptoms of an overactive thyroid gland include diarrhea, anxiety, irritability, fast heart rate, difficulty concentrating, and feeling warm at inappropriate times. 

Typically if your thyroid is working incorrectly, it is due to a goiter, which is essentially the enlargement of the thyroid. There are treatments your doctor can provide to regulate your thyroid gland. It is important to discuss which treatments are right for you if you find you have an issue with your thyroid gland. In some cases the thyroid gland can be removed, and can be supplemented with a daily thyroid pill. 

It is important to note that a thyroid issue cannot just be treated by a primary care physician; you will need to be referred to an endocrinologist who specializes in endocrine gland and hormone problems. 

You may have found yourself relating to some of the issues described above. If that is the case, it may be time to consider asking your doctor about possible thyroid issues. This is especially important if you have found yourself in the position of trying to lose weight for health reasons. An underactive thyroid gland can be extremely frustrating, mainly because individuals who have it do not know they are suffering from this hormonal issue. It’s important to educate yourself on this often underestimated gland!

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