How To Celebrate National Thyroid Health Awareness Month

Doctor holding a replica of a thyroid gland on his desk and examining it with a pencil.

January is National Thyroid Health Awareness Month, and it seeks to educate everyone on what the thyroid is and how it works. While small, the thyroid plays a huge role in the body as it influences the function of the heart, kidneys, brain, liver and skin. Its hormones help keep the body warm, appropriately uses energy and keeps multiple organs operating as they should. Find out what happens when the thyroid isn’t working properly and what you can do to keep your thyroid healthy with this guide!

 

What The Thyroid Gland Does For The Body

January is a month full of new beginnings, habits and resolutions, but it also gives each of us the chance to take better care of our bodies during the upcoming year. January is also a month when National Thyroid Health Awareness occurs, encouraging us to learn about and take care of our thyroid health. The thyroid gland is a very important organ in the body that helps our bodies work properly and influences how we feel. Located near the base of your neck, the thyroid gland is responsible for regulating body temperature, metabolism, digestion and even cognitive function. The thyroid is one of those things that when damaged, it is impossible not to feel the effects. The thyroid is essential in stimulating bone growth and energy production, plus it reduces cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, affects how the heart pumps, helps the liver break down toxins, produces hormones and stimulates nerve and brain growth. In summary, the thyroid is VERY important and should be protected at all costs to ensure healthy living, aging and happiness. However, millions of Americans currently have undiagnosed thyroid diseases that affect their daily lives, and the numbers are only growing. As National Thyroid Health Awareness Month continues to educate people on the effects of a malfunctioning thyroid, the hope is that more and more of those individuals will get the care that they need to live happy, productive lives. Understanding what types of thyroid diseases can occur and how you can treat them are two of the most important things that one can do to promote a healthy body.

 

Hypothyroidism vs. Hyperthyroidism

When it comes to your thyroid, there are two basic problems that you can experience: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. To begin, hypothyroidism is characterized by various mood, gastrointestinal, neurological, metabolic and cardiovascular conditions. Some of these include depression, poor vision, neuropathy, constipation, fatigue, weight gain and abnormal heart rhythms. All of these symptoms occur due to hypothyroidism, which is used to describe too little hormone production in the body. Hypothyroidism can be caused by autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or it can be caused by adrenal stress or nutritional deficiencies. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism occurs when too much hormone is produced in the body, leading to weight loss, fever, increased heart rate, hair loss, skin changes, panic attacks, eye problems, diarrhea, nervousness and insomnia. Like hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism is most commonly caused by autoimmune diseases (typically Graves’ disease), but growths on the thyroid, pregnancy and too much iodine in one’s diet can contribute to its appearance, as well. Both of these diseases seriously affect a person’s energy and general well-being, impacting not only their lives but the lives of those around them, too.

 

Tips For Protecting Your ThyroidWoman laying in a doctor's office while a female doctor examines her thyroid with an ultrasound machine.

No one wants to deal with an underactive or overactive thyroid, but what can you do if you think that you’re at-risk for thyroid problems? The first thing that you should focus on is your diet. A balanced, anti-inflammatory diet is one of the easiest ways to keep your thyroid healthy and prevent disease from developing. Eating nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts improve health and promote a healthy immune system. Fish and beans offer healthy levels of protein for your body, which is necessary for proper thyroid function. Cutting out saturated and trans fats, like meats, cheese, margarine and processed foods, will reduce your cholesterol levels while increasing your fiber intake will help clear out your digestive system. If you have Celiac disease or other food sensitivities, you’ll have to take extra precautions with what you eat to ensure that you’re protecting your thyroid while avoiding severe food reactions. However, there are some people that, no matter what dietary changes they make, will need professional help to address their thyroid issues. Many people are often prescribed medications and nutritional supplements that regulate their hormone production to normal levels, while others will need thorough adrenal testing, as well, to help balance their thyroid levels. Sometimes replacement hormones are administered to those individuals whose bodies aren’t regulating their hormones as they should be while people with hyperthyroidism sometimes have to take antithyroid drugs to help the gland go into remission. Your treatment will depend entirely on whether you have hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, and results often vary from person-to-person. Meeting with your doctor should always be a first consideration when your body begins to feel imbalanced.

 

Improve Your Thyroid Health This Year With Our Help!

At Balanced Well-Being Healthcare, we can address your thyroid issues and help you find peace and normalcy again. Whether your thyroid is functioning too much or too little, we can help! Call our office at (970) 631-8286 to get your body back on track for the New Year!