How Does Thyroid Disease Affect Your Body?
The thyroid gland is shaped like a small butterfly located in the neck, just above the trachea. It has a very important role in the body. It's responsible for regulating metabolism, producing proteins and hormones that control heart rate and how fast the body burns calories, and managing the body's sensitivity to other hormones.
There are all kinds of things that can impact the health of your thyroid gland and cause illness. The two main types of thyroid disease are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. They both have a different impact on the body, but either way, you have to get them under control before they affect your quality of life.
Hypothyroidism is a type of thyroid disease that happens when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones. This causes the metabolism to slow down, which also leads to many other health problems and brings down your overall quality of life.
The way hypothyroidism affects the body is case by case and depends on how far it has progressed. Here are some of the things that happen:
- Exhaustion or weakness
- Weight gain or obesity
- Lack of appetite
- Changes to the menstrual cycle
- Lack of sexual desire
- Feeling cold
- Muscle aches
- Swelling around the eyes
- Brittle nails
- Hair loss
Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid disease and mainly affects women. Along with the above symptoms, it can also cause dry skin, intolerance to cold, poor memory, and problems concentrating. In severe cases, it can cause a deterioration in the function of the heart, kidneys, liver, etc. Regardless of how serious it is, it’s very important to see your doctor and seek treatment.
Hyperthyroidism is the opposite. It happens when the thyroid gland produces too many hormones and shoots your metabolism way up. Although the idea of a higher metabolism might sound nice if you want to lose weight, this condition can cause serious health problems.
Like hypothyroidism, the way it impacts the body is case by case and the symptoms depend on the stage of the disease. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
- Weight loss
- Accelerated heart rate
- Increased perspiration
- Feeling hot
- Changes in the menstrual cycle
- More frequent bowel movements
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In some cases, people with hyperthyroidism will also experience symptoms like fever, accelerated heart rate, or changes in mental functioning (confusion, convulsions, restlessness, and coma).
Thyroid disease and quality of life
Whichever thyroid disease you have, it’s extremely important to see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment. Thyroid disease gradually starts to interfere with your life, until it begins to seriously affect your health and prevent you from going through your normal daily routine.
With hypothyroidism, it’s very important to completely change your habits and adopt a healthy lifestyle to keep the disease under control, especially when it comes to weight gain. So, proper nutrition and a healthy diet play a major role in treating it.
Hyperthyroidism requires a special diet from a nutritionist that will limit iodine intake, which the thyroid gland uses to manufacture hormones.
Thyroid specialists warn that there is no concrete way to prevent either type of thyroid disease. But they insist that a balanced diet, exercise, and healthy habits can be an important factor in reducing the risk of thyroid problems in the future. Once thyroid disease is diagnosed, it’s important to follow your doctor’s recommendations to prevent serious changes in the body.