It’s a tiny, butterfly shaped gland, weighing about 15 grams, located at the base of the front of our neck. This powerhouse organ is mighty and tenacious in all that it does for the entire body and it’s worth appreciating.
I’m referring to our exquisite Thyroid Gland. Despite its small size, this gland is the main metabolic regulator for every organ and cell throughout the body. In other words, how we convert our food (fuel and nourishment) into energy to grow and maintain our bodies is highly dependent on the thyroid gland.
In honor of January being tagged as The National Thyroid Awareness Month, I’ll be reveling over this important endocrine key player.
Thyroid conditions are extraordinarily prevalent amongst females with the most common thyroid disorder being Hashimoto’s Disease or Autoimmune Thyroiditis resulting in decreased or Hypo-Thyroid Function.
Essentially, this means that the body’s immune system has gone amiss (due to many health risk factors) and is now attacking and overreacting to its own organs – a.k.a. Autoimmune Disorders. In this case – the unsuspecting thyroid becomes the target.
And quite frankly, the immune system often reacts to several other organs during Hashimoto’s which is why patients often feel terrible throughout their bodies. To add even more gasoline to the inflammatory fire, one autoimmune disorder can increase your risk for getting another autoimmune disorder.
So, what happens to the body when you have Hashimoto’s induced hypothyroidism? The metabolic rate dwindles. Initially, the symptoms are mild – often years before you even realize what’s happening and even longer before you actually get a diagnosis….if you get a diagnosis at all. Here are some common symptoms of a dysfunctional, sluggish thyroid gland:
Weight or Fat gain
Brain Fog & Difficulty Concentrating
Constipation or IBS
Dry Skin & Hair
Colder Body Temperature
Increased Water Retention: i.e. Hands and Feet
Joint and/or Muscle Aches
Depression and/or Anxiety
Difficulty Coping w/Stress
Female Hormone Cycle Irregularities
Higher Blood Pressure
Higher Total and LDL Cholesterol
Enlarged Thyroid: Interfering w/Swallowing & Speaking
Having a thyroid disorder can be debilitating, frustrating, confusing and downright maddening. What makes it even worse, is when you visit with your conventional doctor who only runs a TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) that is solely produced by the Pituitary Gland and it comes back “Within the Normal Range.”
You are sent away with…”You’re fine.” “Your labs are normal.” Just eat less and exercise more.” OR “Here’s synthetic T4 only – come back in 6 months.”
I hear this from patients ALL OF THE TIME. And I truly feel their emotional pain.