The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that lies on the base of your neck, below the “Adam’s apple”. This gland produces two main hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) that help regulate metabolism, energy, body temperature and weight. Thyroid hormones control many functions in the body. They aid in the process in which food is converted into energy, which allows bodily processes to run smoothly. If your thyroid isn’t working correctly—either because it produces too little hormones or too much—it can result in symptoms such as fatigue and weight gain.
How Your Thyroid Runs The Show
As we said before, your thyroid produces two main hormones, T3 and T4, which help regulate your whole metabolism. These hormones are secreted into the bloodstream, where they travel to the rest of your body. Once in their target tissues, they help regulate temperature and heart rate functions, among other things.
However, the release of T3 and T4 depends on another hormone: TSH. The Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is made by another gland called the pituitary, which is in your brain. The pituitary gland regulates your thyroid hormone levels by decreasing TSH production when it senses that you have enough T3 and T4 circulating through your bloodstream. In conjunction, these hormones tell all the cells in the body the speed at which they should be functioning, which affects the system as a whole. This includes your heart rate, converting food into energy, temperature control, and weight gain and loss.
What Happens If Your Thyroid Doesn’t Work Properly?
If your thyroid doesn’t function normally, it can release too much or too little T3 and T4.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid produces too many hormones and can cause
- Weight loss
- Heart palpitations
- Abnormal protrusion of the eyes
- Increased temperature
If you have hypothyroidism, it means that your thyroid hormones are deficient in number, and you may experience:
- Weight gain
- Cold sensitivity
- Dry skin
But don’t worry! Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can be treated, and you can lead a healthy and full life as long as you get the right treatment for your condition. There are natural ways to improve and also medication treatments. Once you’re on medication, it can help control your symptoms and improve your quality of life. However, if you ignore the symptoms, your condition can worsen, resulting in more debilitating health outcomes such as diabetes and hypertension.
Remember that you should be taking your medication under the surveillance of a professional and should get your blood tested regularly to monitor the efficiency and safety of your treatment. If you don’t want to deal face to face with doctors just yet, you can order your blood tests online at Private MD Labs, a leading blood testing service that has been helping Americans get affordable testing since 2005. No need to go to a doctor and no questions asked. Private MD Labs can take care of your hormone testing and much more. Once you have some clarity with your results, you can visit your doctor with less anxiety.
What Can Cause Thyroid Hormone Imbalances?
There are many reasons why a person could start suffering from thyroid problems. The most frequent are thought to be:
- Medical treatments such as radiation therapy or pharmacological treatments
- Autoimmune Disease
- Iodine deficiency
- Genetic disorders
- Thyroid cancer
Two common autoimmune diseases that attack the thyroid gland are Hashimoto’s Disease and Grave’s Disease. Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland and results in hypothyroidism.
Graves’ Disease, on the other hand, occurs when antibodies attack the TSH receptor on thyroid cells and prevent them from reducing the production of thyroid hormones. Grave’s Disease, therefore, results in hyperthyroidism. Hormone testing can help you diagnose these conditions early and get treatment before they worsen.
Lifestyle Changes Can Improve Your Thyroid Health
Leading a healthy lifestyle is one of the most important factors for thyroid health. This includes improving your diet and having a well-balanced approach to food.
Some foods that can improve thyroid hormone production are those that represent iodine and selenium sources since these are building blocks for T3 and T4. Great food sources of iodine and selenium are:
- Milk products
- Whole grains
- Iodine salt
Regular exercise is another great way to improve your overall health and thyroid hormone production.
Sleep is also vital in hormone production and regulation. To get better quality sleep, you should ensure that your bedroom is cool and dark and that you are comfortable in your bed. Additionally, turn off all screens at least 1 hour before bed.
Thyroid hormones are essential for the body to function properly. They are responsible for regulating your metabolism, which impacts your body as a whole. If you suspect you have a thyroid problem, get hormone testing done and discuss your results with your doctor. Private MD Labs can take care of your testing at affordable prices. If you do happen to have an imbalance, do not panic! You can get the treatment that best suits your needs and start living a joyful, energetic life again.
7 Key Takeaways
- The thyroid produces two main hormones (T3 and T4), which regulate your metabolism.
- The pituitary gland also regulates your thyroid hormones through a hormone called TSH.
- When there is an imbalance in your thyroid hormones, you can get hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
- Symptoms of hypothyroidism include unexplained weight gain, feeling cold, and fatigue. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include protrusion of the eyes, excessive sweating, and weight loss.
- Get your blood tested regularly (ideally 3 times per year). Use a well-trusted lab service like Private MD Labs.
- Receiving treatment for your thyroid imbalances can help you improve your quality of life.
- Leading a healthy lifestyle can improve your thyroid health as well. Eat nutritiously, exercise regularly, and improve your sleep patterns to optimize your hormones naturally.