The Thyroid - Two Common Conditions

Woman head down on train table

In part 1 of my 2-part series I talked about HPA-Axis dysfunction and the affects it has on your body. https://www.foundationmed.com/blog/ever-wondered-about-hpa-axis-dysfunction-part-1

Our next topic is the Thyroid gland. This powerhouse of a gland produces hormones that regulates the body’s metabolism. This is the process of creating and using energy.  It is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits low on the front of the neck below your Adam’s apple along the front of the windpipe.  There are two lobes connected by a bridge (isthmus) in the middle.  When the thyroid is at normal size, you cannot easily feel it. 

 

There are two main disorders that can arise when the thyroid produces too much or too little thyroid hormone.  

 

The first is HYPOTHYROIDISM. This is the condition of an UNDERACTIVE thyroid that produces too little thyroid hormone. 

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition in which the body produces antibodies against the thyroid. This means the immune system does not recognize thyroid tissue as friendly tissue; it attacks the thyroid as if it is a foreign body, hence the reason it is called an autoimmune condition.  

Some individuals with Hashimoto’s will have mild cases and will not show many symptoms at all, if any. The disease can remain stable or even dormant for years. Those with active Hashimoto’s, however, will often show symptoms that include:

 

The second thyroid condition to be aware of is HYPERTHYROIDISM or OVERACTIVE thyroid. This is a lot less common than hypothyroidism, but it is important to discuss because thyroid disorders, in general, have become so prevalent.  Hyperthyroidism is mostly seen in those with Graves’ disease, which is also an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland.

When the thyroid is overactive, that means there is too much thyroid hormone being produced.  When too much thyroid hormone is circulating in the bloodstream, metabolism speeds up.  Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include (but not limited to)

 

Thyroid problems can arise because of several factors, including:

 

Changes in thyroid hormone production can affect the entire body, from digestion to sleep, to energy levels and weight gain and weight loss.  Many of these disorders have symptoms that can also be associated with a lot of other conditions – hormonal or otherwise. Therefore, it so important to see a trained medical professional such as our FoundationMED Physicians for proper testing and diagnosis. 

Want to learn more about this health topic or explore other areas?  You can make an appointment with a FoundationMED Health Coach to begin your journey to improved health and well-being (through learning how to create supportive habits) as you learn about and implement the “5 boxes” of lifestyle management, or you can include Health Coach visits with your FoundationMED Physician visits - a powerful approach to assess and address underlying health and wellness.

Author
Image of Sharon F Sharon Fowler, NBC-HWC Sharon Fowler is an Integrative Institute of Nutrition trained and certified Integrative Health Coach with additional certifications in gut and hormone health.

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