Thyroid Imbalances In Weight Problems

By Mick Keeman

The thyroid is part of the endocrine system of the body. It is a gland that, among other things, produced hormones which regulate the metabolism. There are many people who have imbalances in their thyroids which lead to affects on their weight which they can not control through diet or exercise.

Thyroid dysfunction can be broadly divided into under activity, hypothyroidism, or over activity also known as hyperthyroidism. If it is under active, it is not producing enough hormones and if overactive, it is producing too much. Either condition will lead to a metabolic imbalance but the resulting symptoms will depend upon which of these is present.

In the case of hyperthyroidism, the metabolism works too quickly. This will result in weight loss and increased appetite with an inability to gain weight. To a person with weight problems, that might seem ideal. However, it also leads to a speeding up of the entire sympathetic nervous system which in turn can lead to anxiety, palpitations, respiratory problems and a host of other ills.

A too slow metabolism and, therefore, weight gain and edema are hallmark symptoms of an under active thyroid. Other symptoms besides the slower metabolism include depression, fatigue, and feeling the cold more than usual.

It is rare for these symptoms to come on suddenly. Usually, they develop over a period of time. This makes it tricky to know that medical help should be sought, as most of the symptoms can be indicative or other issues. Fatigue, in particular, can be a result of other illnesses or merely not getting enough sleep.

Once a person does seek the help of a medical professional, there are various tests that can be done to diagnose thyroid disease including, but not limited to, blood tests, as these alone do not always give an accurate assessment. There are many possible causes of either an under active or overactive thyroid and there are different ways to deal with the conditions as well.

For an overactive thyroid, surgery is normally not recommended if it is possible to avoid. There are medications that can help to balance out the hormone levels, although if too high doses are given, the patient may be pushed into hypothyroidism. In some cases, people taking these medications will end up having remissions of their condition. Another common treatment is with radioactive iodine. However, this treatment is somewhat controversial, due to the inherent radioactivity.

For an under active thyroid, the treatment is generally for the patient to take thyroid hormone replacements. The most common type of thyroid hormone replacement is synthetic, however, it is also possible to have a natural thyroid replacement that comes from pig thyroids.

In addition, there are some alternative therapies that are currently being used for thyroid conditions. These appear to be more effective with thyroid problems that are slight or in the very early stages. Among the therapies considered are acupuncture, herbal supplements, diet and yoga. Even for people already taking medications for their thyroid problems, natural therapy in conjunction may be of interest. - 30540

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