Hyperthyroidism (Thyroid Series, Part I)

The Thyroid... a small gland ... with big impact on your health!

Lately I have seen quite a few patients with hyper- or hypothyroidism, therefore some awareness about thyroid health might be justified. Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland situated at the base of your neck, just below your Adam's apple. Although it weighs less than an ounce, the thyroid gland has an enormous impact on your health. Every aspect of your metabolism is regulated by thyroid hormones.

Your thyroid gland produces two main hormones, thyroxin (T-4) and triodothyronine (T-3), that influence every cell in your body. They maintain the rate at which your body uses fats and carbohydrates, help control your body temperature, influence your heart rate, and help regulate the production of protein. Your thyroid also produces calcitonin, a hormone that helps regulate the amount of calcium in your blood.

The rate at which T-4 and T-3 are released is controlled by your pituitary gland and your hypothalamus - an area at the base of your brain that acts as a thermostat for your whole system.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism usually include:

  • Sudden weight loss, even when your appetite and the amount and type of food you eat remain the same or even increase
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), commonly more than 100 beats a minute; irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia);or pounding of your heart (palpitations)
  • Increased appetite
  • Nervousness, anxiety and irritability
  • Tremors - usually a fine trembling in your hands and fingers
  • Sweating
  • Changes in menstrual patterns
  • Increased sensitivity to heat
  • Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements
  • An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
  • Fatigue, muscle weakness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Skin thinning

Although Homeopathic or medical treatment should be on the forefront for alleviating these symptoms, patients should avoid all stimulants, such as: coffee, tea, chocolate, colas, power drinks, nicotine.

Certain foods are said to help decrease the thyroid output including: cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, Brussel's sprouts, greens (kale and spinach), turnips, pears and peaches.

Stay tuned for more of my tips on being healthy and vibrant!