Your thyroid is a tiny gland that has a big job. It sits at the base of the neck, and its job is to regulate the function of important hormones. Because it does have such a key role, even a small problem with your thyroid can have enormous negative consequences to your quality of life. At Knox Wellness Experience in Knoxville, TN, we can help with thyroid management that to restore that quality of life and get you back to feeling your best.
Thyroid Management FAQs
What Helps Hypothyroidism Naturally?
Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid is underactive. In some cases, this happens suddenly, but in most cases, it’s a gradual change. You can do some things to naturally support your thyroid and put off hypothyroidism.
Give Up Gluten
Your diet is possibly the single biggest factor in thyroid management, and different issues can be at play for different people. Some people see a big improvement in their symptoms once they go gluten-free. No one knows exactly why this is, but many people test negative for celiac disease but still have a sensitivity to gluten. It’s possible that gluten damage to the lining of the gut interferes with hormone production in some way for certain people.
Ditch the Sugar
This is a hard one, we know, but sugar is just bad for you. There’s no way around it: even the minimum amount allowed by the FDA is far more than anyone needs to be eating in a day. You have zero nutritional need for sugar, and refined white and brown sugars and corn syrup, in particular, are damaging to more than one bodily system. Your thyroid is in charge of carbohydrate metabolism, and when it’s having trouble already, bombarding it with sugar can make you gain weight and struggle with fatigue.
Eat Living Things
Probiotics are good for the gut, and they’re good for the thyroid, too. You can take probiotic supplements, and in some cases that’s best, but some people can get everything they need from live yogurt cultures, kefir, and fermented foods like raw kimchi, sauerkraut, and even pickles. Just be sure your fermented foods are raw (pasteurizing kills the probiotic bacteria) and that your yogurt and kefir aren’t sweetened.
Manage Your Stress
Stress, and particularly ongoing chronic stress, is a big trigger for thyroid dysfunction. Even if your thyroid management is going well, a new bout with chronic stress can be a trigger for new issues. Managing your stress could involve working self-care into your day, taking time deliberately to relax, and learning to say no when necessary.
There are many herbal supplements that can support healthy thyroid function. When you come to see us at Knox Wellness Experience, we will work with you to find the right supplements to help your thyroid perform at its best.
How Do I Know if My Thyroid Is Having Problems?
It takes testing and the help of a qualified medical professional to tell for certain if you have a thyroid problem or not, but there are certain signs and symptoms to watch out for. These symptoms can mimic those of other conditions, so if you’re experiencing several of these, and particularly if you’ve ruled out other issues, come talk to us about getting thyroid testing.
Symptoms of an Overactive Thyroid:
- Hungry all the time
- Sudden weight loss despite eating the same or more
- Nervousness and irritability
- Trembling in the hands and fingers
- Pounding heart
- Period changes
- More frequent bowel movements
- Swelling at the base of the neck
- Difficulty sleeping
- A feeling of muscular weakness
- Increased sensitivity to heat
- Thinning skin
- Hair that turns fine and brittle
Symptoms of an Underactive Thyroid
- Feeling cold
- Easily exhausted
- Dry skin
- Weight gain despite not eating more or even eating less
- Muscle weakness
- Thinning hair
- High cholesterol that can’t be explained by diet
What Is the Thyroid Responsible for?
The thyroid produces two crucial hormones: T4 and T3. These key hormones are responsible for triggering action in nearly every cell in the body. The thyroid itself is controlled by the pituitary gland (which is located in the brain) and by the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus sends a hormone to the pituitary gland, which then sends another hormone to the thyroid telling it to release T4 and T3.
Weight and Metabolism Management
These two hormones tell the cells to increase energy and control weight and metabolism. The thyroid is responsible for about 60% of your basal metabolic rate, which is the number of calories your body needs just to stay alive doing essential tasks like breathing and thinking.
These basic, crucial body functions are about 80% of the average person’s calorie expenditure, so it’s easy to see that even a small decline in the basal metabolic rate can cause your metabolism to drop and make it very hard to stop weight gain. If the basal metabolic rate speeds up, it can be hard to avoid weight loss or maintain your weight.
Hair Quality and Texture
The T4 hormone is responsible for the texture of hair, and when the thyroid is overactive, hair can get dry and brittle and start falling out.
We don’t know all the ways that the thyroid manages our moods, but we know without a doubt that it does. Depression is far more common among people with an underactive thyroid than among the regular population or among those with an overactive thyroid.
Clarity and Concentration
The thyroid is also responsible for helping you keep your focus and concentration. When the thyroid isn’t working properly, it can become difficult to concentrate, think of the word you want to say, or remember simple things that used to be easy for you.
Because the thyroid is essential to energy production, it’s also a key player in body temperature. When energy is being consumed, heat is being released. When you’re using a normal amount of energy, your temperature stays stable at a normal level. With your thyroid is underactive, your metabolic rate slows, which makes you feel cold. A hyperactive thyroid has the opposite effect.
What Causes an Overactive Thyroid?
An overactive thyroid is generally less common than an underactive one. About 70% of those with an overactive thyroid, known as hyperthyroidism, have something called Graves’ disease. This disease causes antibodies in the blood that normally attack bacterial invaders to attack the thyroid. This, in turn, prompts the thyroid to produce too much T4 hormone.
Another possibility for an overactive thyroid is Thyroiditis. This is a condition that can happen after pregnancy or when you get a virus. No one knows exactly why it works the way it does, but it causes the thyroid to swell, which messes with hormone production. This is usually a temporary condition, and with the right support, you can get your thyroid back to normal function.
What Causes an Underactive Thyroid?
There are quite a few issues that can cause hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid.
This is the most common reason for an underactive thyroid in the United States, and it’s actually an autoimmune disease. In this disorder, the immune system attacks certain cells in the body, including some in the thyroid. Unlike Graves’ disease, which pushes the thyroid to make more hormones, this one actually destroys the cells that allow the thyroid to make hormones in the first place.
If you’ve ever had a growth removed from your thyroid, it’s possible to suffer hypothyroidism as a result. If the entire gland was removed, you know you need to be taking your hormone replacement; but if only some of the gland was removed, it’s common to try supporting the remaining gland and see if it can produce enough hormones to regulate the body.
Thyroiditis, which can cause hyperthyroidism, can also cause hypothyroidism. It all depends on how the body reacts to the swelling that occurs in the gland.
If you’ve been treated for cancer in the head or neck or for Hodgkin’s disease or lymphoma, it’s possible that the radiation treatment could damage the cells in the thyroid, leading them to produce too little hormone.
We all need the nutrient iodine, and the thyroid needs it more than just about anything else in the body. Iodine is so crucial it’s added to much of our food, including our table salt. But it’s also easy to get iodine from eggs and quality dairy products. Seafood is also very high in iodine.
However, if you get too much iodine, it can cause hypothyroidism or make it worse, so it’s crucial to have your diet plan supervised by a professional who can help you ascertain if you’re getting enough or too much of this crucial nutrient.
What Is Involved With Thyroid Testing?
One of the interesting things about our thyroids is that “normal” levels are specific to each person. It’s possible to measure the hormones and get an initial reading, and sometimes this flags up a serious problem right away. But in other cases, it’s necessary to do several tests to get a better handle on your unique baseline rate. Thyroid management usually starts with blood tests to get this information.
Another factor in thyroid management is understanding what might be causing abnormal thyroid levels in the first place. This is something the blood tests cannot show, so once the blood tests are in, they have to be understood in light of your unique history, medical condition, and a physical examination. Depending on what all these show, it might be necessary to test for some more things, like thyroid antibodies. In some cases, an ultrasound of the thyroid gland could be ordered.
How Will You Help Me Treat My Thyroid Issues?
At Knox Wellness Experience, we know that the key to accurate thyroid management is understanding each patient’s individual needs. Our team will use state-of-the-art testing to optimize your thyroid levels and develop a treatment plan that’s perfect for you.
We can prescribe medications that will help and combine these with herbal supplements that support good thyroid function. We can also help you evaluate your nutritional intake, exercise habits, and other lifestyle choices to see where changes can optimize your thyroid levels and improve function through as natural an approach as possible.
About Knox Wellness Experience
At Knox Wellness, we combine functional and integrative medicine to help you achieve complete wellness. We’re not interested in simply treating the symptoms of your thyroid issues. We want to provide personalized care that addresses any underlying illness and cares for the whole person.
Care for Your Thyroid Naturally
If you’re experiencing signs and symptoms of hypothyroid or hyperthyroidism, don’t wait to regain your quality of life. Reach out to Knox Wellness Experience in Knoxville, TN today to schedule an in-person or virtual consultation and get started on feeling like yourself again!