The human body & body parts never fail to surprise us through their dynamic functions, distinguished structures & unique placements.
However, have you ever wondered which part of your body produces hormones that are responsible for your important daily activities such as metabolism, growth & sleep? Yes, It’s the thyroid gland.
The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is the key contributor to your conversion of food into energy & therefore the right balance of hormone release by the thyroid gland decides the pace at which this conversion takes place in your body.
Failure to meet this equilibrium of thyroid levels will result in thyroid-related conditions & diseases.
The connectivity of the Thyroid gland is very critical in the human body as it has direct links to other regions like the hypothalamus & the pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain.
Hypothalamus releases thyrotropin-releasing hormone during a chemical process whereas the pituitary gland releases something known as thyroid-stimulating hormone or TSH.
It is this hormone that solely ignites the thyroid to release T3 & T4 hormones that influence your mood, metabolism, body temperature & digestion.
The lower the TSH levels produced by the pituitary gland, the higher will be the release of T3 & T4 hormones which will cause the overactivity of the thyroid gland.
The process is vice-versa & is expected to have the right balance for the normal functionality of the body activities.
Anything more than the normal speed of body activities such as metabolism is a sign of overactive or underactive thyroid & this can cause unpleasant impacts to your body due to the undesired number of thyroid hormones released.
This condition is termed Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism is the condition where the T3 & T4 hormones suppress the TSH levels to form an overactive thyroid whereas, Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid is when the thyroid gland fails to release enough hormones to carry out digestive & metabolic activities.
Both above conditions are not considered to be a normal state of functionality for your body & therefore it will lead you to experience several symptoms.
Common ones that signify a higher thyroid hormone release (Hyperthyroidism) are weight loss, anxiety, irregular heartbeats, irritation, increased appetite, sweating, hair loss & tremors.
Women experience changes in their menstrual cycle & patterns due to this excess release of thyroid hormones.
Insomnia, swollen thyroid (also known as goitre) & frequent bowel movements are the other common symptoms of Hyperthyroidism.
Like the effects caused due to the release of high thyroid hormones, even the release of lower levels of T3 & T4 hormones (Hypothyroidism) can give you signs like quick weight gain, fatigue, mood swings & constipation.
Hypothyroidism is as serious as hyperthyroidism & is more common than the other. The major cause for Hyperthyroidism is the immune disorder that mostly impacts women under the age of 40.
This disorder is also known as Graves' disease & is the most common cause found to date that increases thyroid hormone levels.
In the case of Hypothyroidism, it is the failure of the immune system that causes the thyroid to not release enough hormones.
Any uneven levels of thyroid no matter increase, or decrease is equally dangerous & risky. Though the risk factors of increased thyroid levels differ from those for decreased levels, untreated hyperthyroidism & hypothyroidism lead to several complications.
Hyperthyroidism is mostly seen in women during pregnancies due to the stimulation of thyroid hormones by a special hormone called HCG or human chorionic gonadotropin produced during pregnancy.
Hypothyroidism on the other hand can be caused due to undergoing certain medications or treatments also. It accounts for risk factors due to your family history of chronic illnesses like diabetes or particularly Graves' disease.
Uncontrolled ones will lead to severe conditions like heart failures, osteoporosis, or brittle bones, bulging of eyes & vision impairment & other skin issues.
Failure in taking adequate treatments for hypothyroidism will also lead to various risks & complications such as mental health issues, infertility, Goitre & heart failures.
Women with uncontrolled hypothyroidism also have high chances of birth defects putting the newborn at the risk of physical & mental impairment. It is this reason why pregnant women or recently delivered women are a high-risk population for hypothyroidism.
Although anyone can be impacted by thyroid level decrease, women especially over 60 years with a family history of thyroid disease or someone who is undergoing any sort of treatments or surgeries are highly risky.
Hormone imbalances can occur due to various factors. Medications are an effective way to cure thyroid diseases.
However, some controls on our lifestyle habits can bring a lot of differences & reduce the chances of risk in facing thyroid illnesses.
In this era of busy life, you tend to compromise your meal or find shortcuts such as processed foods with high chemical content that can influence hormone imbalances in your body.
Instead choosing to eat fresh vegetables, fruits or anything that is highly nutritious can bring a lot of differences & long-term benefits in reducing the risk of thyroid defects.
Reduction of fast foods or packed foods & replacing them with leafy & colourful vegetables is the best diet plan for thyroid diseases.
The approach to exercise & workouts to control the Thyroid is a bit tricky but effective.
Hypothyroid patients are generally asked to not perform extensive workouts as their metabolism is already running at a vigorous pace & may cause heart-related illnesses.
On the other hand, studies show that hypothyroid patients are recommended to do regular exercises to improve their metabolic activities. However, in both cases, a detailed & discussed exercise plan crafted in agreement with your physician is the best approach to go about.
Like many other diseases & conditions, stress plays an important role in thyroid disorders as well.
Putting yourself in a highly stressful environment without having a control mechanism is not wiser for any thyroid risked patient & indeed it will worsen the situation.
Adopting stress management techniques or rituals to control your stress is the best way to reduce the impact of stress on the thyroid.
This can be through various ways such as meditation or yoga.
Taking regular advice from your physician & attending periodic routine check-ups will help you stay on track of your thyroid levels & progress along with the recommended medications & treatments.
It is also extremely important for high-risk thyroid groups to undergo regular periodic check-ups to understand their current state of thyroid levels.
Thyroid glands being the critical source of human body activities like metabolism & growth play a crucial role in the body’s chemical processes. Any imbalance in the hormone release from the thyroid will directly impact your body’s routines in a severe & rapid way.
Close monitoring of thyroid levels through regular periodic check-ups, physician visits & proper medications can improve the consistency of balanced hormone release. However, planning daily routines as part of your lifestyle such as diet, exercise & stress management is the key control mechanism.