When fatigue persists and body weight increases, the suspect could be the thyroid. It is a gland in the front of the neck, above the trachea, with the characteristic shape of a butterfly. It is the largest endocrine gland in our body and produces the very important hormones T3 and T4, which in turn determine a host of functions of our body. More specifically, they affect the metabolic rate and energy levels, as well as growth and body temperature. The thyroid gland regulates, among other things, the heartbeat.
When the thyroid gland malfunctions
Disorders of thyroid function may slow or speed up the metabolic rate. When the body produces more thyroid hormones than normal, the person develops hyperthyroidism, while hypothyroidism occurs in cases where the body does not secrete sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones.
Both conditions are thyroid disorders that affect a wide range of bodily functions and can lead to a number of medical issues. This is due to the fact that the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction vary considerably from person to person and tend to develop gradually.
What to look out for
Change in body weight is one of the main symptoms of thyroid dysfunction. Weight gain despite reduced calorie intake and regular exercise is a sign of hypothyroidism, while unexpected weight loss, foretells an overactive thyroid gland, which speeds up metabolism.
Lesions in the voice and swelling of the thyroid (goiter) are visible signs that indicate problems with the thyroid gland. Also, in other cases, the skin may experience increased sensitivity, dryness and intense itching.
An additional sign of thyroid dysfunction is menstrual cycle imbalances. The increased duration of menstruation, with more blood flow (menorrhagia) that occurs more often than normal may be a sign of hypothyroidism. Conversely, when there is enough time until the next menstruation or it lasts less days than it should, then the woman is likely to develop hyperthyroidism. In addition, women with hypothyroidism have a predisposition to infertility or recurrent miscarriages.
Furthermore, the feeling of constant fatigue throughout the day and the increased need for sleep and difficulty in getting out of bed may be related to hypothyroidism. On the other hand, when the thyroid gland is overactive, the body’s functions are accelerated, resulting in a rapid increase in the energy levels of the patients. Patients are overwhelmed by a feeling of excessive intensity as if they have consumed large amounts of caffeine, they have difficulty in sleeping and feel palpitations, even when at rest.
Thyroid disorders can have an impact on the mood, as well as Hypothyroidism tends to make people feel depressed because, when too low levels of hormones are produced by the thyroid gland, then serotonin levels drop respectively. In contrast, constant stress, anxiety and irritability are symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism, where the thyroid gland functions more than normal, resulting in overstimulation of the brain.
Furthermore, patients with hypothyroidism report limited mental acuity, cognitive problems and memory loss. Also, decreased or zero sexual desire may be due to thyroid disorders. In addition, thyroid dysfunction affects the ability to regulate our body temperature. People with hypothyroidism may feel cold very often, while people with hyperthyroidism suffer from constant sweating and hot flashes, even when they do not exercise.
Hair loss may indicate thyroid hormone imbalances. Also, there is a slowdown in the growth of hair on the legs, armpits and pubic area and when they eventually grow, they are very thin and brittle. Finally, elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, diarrhea, constipation and muscle and joint pain are conditions that may be associated with thyroid dysfunction.
Specialized Diagnostic Tests and Etiological treatment of thyroid disorders
The good news are that nowadays e that specialized laboratory and molecular tests of the thyroid gland exist, in order to provide a complete and accurate overview of thyroid function. Furthermore, they can detect the metabolic functions of our body, paying special attention to all clinical symptoms and making visible any deviation or dysfunction.
Then, if the diagnostic findings reveal the presence of thyroid disorders, either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, the appropriate treatment protocols can be developed, which address the root causes of thyroid dysfunction. The proper function of the thyroid gland can be supported by changes in lifestyle, diet and intake of appropriate micronutrients and macronutrients. Also, the hormonal and cellular balance of our body is gradually restored. These therapeutic protocols do not pre-exist. They are strictly personalized and patients obtain them from selected pharmacies. Patients gradually see their health improve and their quality of life increase.
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