Do you have trouble maintaining a healthy weight? Do you exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet, but still find that you are sluggish and can’t stop gaining weight? Do you eat everything you can, but you keep losing weight and having digestive tract issues? Your problem may not lie in anything you’re doing or eating. You simply may have a problem with your thyroid gland.
By producing thyroid hormones including triiodothronine (T3) and tetraiodothyronine (T4), your thyroid gland controls your body’s metabolism. Effectively, your thyroid gland is in charge of how your body uses the energy (in calories) that you put into it. If you have hyperthyroidism – an overactive thyroid – you will not be able to gain weight. You’ll feel weak and sweaty, even when you’re resting. Your will most likely be increased, and no matter how much you eat, you’ll still feel hungry. Digestive issues like GI upset are often present, as well. Hyperthyroidism can cause anxiety and cardiac symptoms like palpitations, but your doctor can tell the difference, diagnose you, and get you the right treatment to slow your metabolism so that you can gain weight and regain energy .
Hypothyroidism, on the other hand, happens when the thyroid gland does not produce enough T3 and T4. Your metabolism will slow down dramatically, causing abnormal weight gain. As with hyperthyroidism, you’ll feel tired and sluggish. You may also experience hair loss and a sensitivity to cold .
Hyperthyroidism treatment often begins with a prescription for beta blockers, which should decrease some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as elevated heart rates, tremors, and anxiety. Anti-thyroid medication is prescribed to slow the production of T3 and T4. For some patients who have hyperthyroidism which does not respond to medical treatment, surgery is required, and the thyroid is removed.
If the thyroid is removed, the patient who was just dealing with hyperthyroid problems will now have to deal with hypothyroid problems. These, though, are more easily treated. Treatment for an underactive thyroid requires hormone replacement therapy, which is a lot easier than it sounds. Hormone replacement therapy is a medical term for taking prescription medicine, which will produce the hormones that the inactive (or absent) thyroid gland would otherwise be producing. In most cases, the patient will have to take thyroid hormone tablets for the rest of their life, especially if the thyroid gland has been removed.
Thyroid disease also includes thyroid nodules, lumps that occasionally form on the thyroid, which may give the sensation of a lump in the throat . Thyroid lumps should be checked by a doctor to ensure accurate diagnosis. Fortunately, more often than not, thyroid lumps are not cancerous. Specific treatment depends on the diagnosis. In most cases of thyroid cancer, the thyroid gland is removed, and hormone replacement therapy is prescribed for the rest of the patient’s life.
Symptoms relating to thyroid disease may include sudden weight loss or gain, a lack of energy or digestive issues. If you experience these symptoms then you should absolutely consult with your doctor. Thyroid disease can be treated in non-invasive ways if it is caught early. If you wait to see if the disease will go away on its own, you may be in for a rude awakening. Thyroid problems do not heal themselves, and waiting for diagnosis and treatment will usually lead to poor health for a protracted period of time.
Your best bet if you think you have an issue with your thyroid gland is to seek medical help immediately. Whether your thyroid is overactive or underactive, your chances of leading a normal, healthy life are far greater if you begin treatment sooner rather than later.
If you have questions or concerns about the thyroid gland see your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a thyroid surgeon.