The thyroid plays a more important role in our well-being than many people imagine. Situated in the front of our neck, this small butterfly-shaped organ has the power to wreak havoc throughout the entire body if it starts to work inefficiently. The thyroid gland is responsible for the smooth running of very important bodily functions, such as brain development, metabolism, body temperature, mood regulation, muscle control, and heartbeat.
As you can see, possible thyroid diseases are not to be overlooked. But why does the thyroid have the superpower to make or break our health? Because the thyroid gland produces the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) that influence the health of our entire body. As long as the thyroid works smoothly and efficiently, you have no reasons to worry. However, if it starts producing too much or too little amounts of thyroid hormones, you may find yourself having to deal with thyroid diseases.
What causes thyroid diseases?
According to the American Thyroid Association, more than 12 percent of the U.S. population will have to battle a thyroid disease during their lifetime. Moreover, according to some experts, one woman in eight will have to deal with a thyroid condition at some point in her life.
Two of the most common thyroid diseases that people can develop are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. While the first thyroid condition appears when the gland is producing too many hormones, the latter is caused by a deficient gland that produces too few thyroid hormones. Other possible thyroid disorders include thyroiditis, thyroid nodules, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and thyroid cancer.
Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can be caused by other conditions that affect the thyroid function.
Hypothyroidism can be a result of conditions like:
- Postpartum thyroiditis
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Iodine deficiency
Hyperthyroidism may be caused by:
- Overactive thyroid nodules
- Excessive iodine
- Graves’ disease
As with many other conditions, these thyroid conditions can be inherited. A family history of thyroid conditions may increase your chances to develop a thyroid problem during your lifetime. Moreover, they can also be connected to an existent medical condition, like type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.
What are the symptoms of thyroid diseases?
Many times, it is quite difficult to identify the symptoms of a possible thyroid condition. That is because its symptoms are rather common and can be mistaken with the symptoms of other medical conditions.
Here are some of the symptoms associated with the presence of hyperthyroidism:
- Rapid weight loss
- Increased irritability
- Swollen thyroid gland
- Fast heartbeat
- Muscle weakness
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Sight problems
- Heat sensitivity
On the other hand, the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Weight gain
- Constant fatigue
- Memory problems
- Frequent menstrual periods
- Hair loss
- Hoarse voice
- Cold sensitivity
What is the treatment for thyroid conditions?
Thyroid conditions are diagnosed based on a series of blood and imaging tests. The blood tests will focus on determining your thyroid hormone levels, while an ultrasound thyroid scan can reveal if the gland is swollen or has nodules. Based on these results, your doctor can prescribe the proper treatment to get your thyroid hormone levels back to normal.
For an overactive thyroid with high hormone levels, the doctor can recommend anti-thyroid drugs, beta-blockers, radioactive iodine, or, in more severe cases, surgery to remove your thyroid gland.
If the patient is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, the only option is to take thyroid replacement drugs that will produce the missing thyroid hormones from your body. People with diagnosed hypothyroidism can control their hormone levels and live a normal life if they take the proper medication.
How to prevent thyroid health problems?
Due to the numerous causes associated with thyroid conditions, there is no proven regimen that can assure a life without thyroid problems. However, there are ways to reduce the chances of having to deal with thyroid disease or, if you are already diagnosed with one, to keep your thyroid in check and make sure you will protect it from aggravating factors.
Avoid exposure to environmental toxins
Numerous toxins present in the environment can affect your endocrine system and damage your thyroid health. Try to avoid endocrine disruptors, such as:
- Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) - often present in carpets, fireproof and waterproof clothes, and non-stick cookware.
- Phthalates – often present in soft plastics and fragranced products
- Bisphenol-A – often present in hard plastics and canned food linings
- Triclosan – often present in antibacterial soaps
Adopt a healthy diet and avoid certain foods
Your diet has an important impact on your thyroid health. A Mediterranean diet is recommended for a healthy thyroid gland and the protection of your intestinal lining. This way, you can avoid triggering an immune response, often responsible for thyroid conditions. A Mediterranean diet includes vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and fatty fish. Omega-3 and omega-6 acids play a crucial role in the health of your thyroid, as well as various oils, like extra-virgin olive oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil.
People who experience thyroid problems or want to take the extra step to protect their thyroid should avoid eating soy, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, high-fiber foods, gluten-based foods, butter, meat, and fried or processed foods. They should also reduce their intake of sugar and caffeine and steer clear of tobacco and alcohol.
Take the right supplements
Supplements are often recommended for normal thyroid hormone levels. Iodine is very important for the synthesis of thyroid hormones but patients with thyroid conditions rarely need to take iodine supplements because of its presence in certain foods and table salt. Large amounts of iodine are dangerous for your thyroid, so it’s best to avoid iodine supplements except if they are expressly prescribed by your doctor.
However, selenium, vitamin D, and probiotics are recommended to sustain the proper function of your thyroid. If you prefer for your supplements to come from natural sources and have them one in one capsule or pill, sea moss can easily do the trick for you.
Sea moss is an edible marine vegetable known for its numerous health benefits. Due to its composition, it can support the health of your thyroid and contribute to treating your thyroid problems. Rich in selenium, vitamin D, and prebiotics, and also containing the triiodothyronine (T3) thyroid hormone, sea moss helps to normalize your thyroid hormone levels. Bey Moss provides natural sea moss in various forms, including capsules and gels, to facilitate the easy consumption of the supplements you need for your thyroid health.