By Kim Wagler, BA, CPT, Compass Media Contributing Writer
So you’ve been working out hard and not seeing the results you want. Have you ever wondered what is happening in that wonderful little body of yours? Some of you may have heard that the thyroid can cause metabolic conditions resulting in weight loss, weight gain, and a host of other issues. The American Thyroid Association (ATA) has estimated that 1 in 8 women will suffer from thyroid disease. The thyroid gland is responsible for producing hormones which control your metabolism. If your thyroid doesn’t produce hormones at the correct rate, you may find yourself in HYPERTHYROIDISM which is when you produce more thyroid hormone than normal. This causes your basal metabolic rate (BMR) to speed up. You could experience HYPOTHYROIDISM which is when you’re not producing enough thyroid hormone and your BMR slows down.
- Gender: females are 5-8 times more likely to suffer from thyroid disease
- Age: your risk of thyroid disease increases at age 50 and above
- Hormonal changes such as menopause and pregnancy/childbirth
- Suffering from autoimmune disease (specifically Hashimoto’s)
- Genetics: family history of thyroid or autoimmune diseases
- Having received radiation (especially in the upper chest or neck area)
- Ingesting high amounts of iodine (in food or medication)
- Over exposure to pesticides, mercury, and environmental toxins
- Iodine deficiency
- Ethnicity (Caucasian and Asian decent are more prone to thyroid conditions)
- Cigarettes: thiocyanate, a chemical in cigarettes increases the risk
- Consuming large amount of Goitrogens (a chemical found in certain foods)
- Stress, trauma, and surgery
If you have more than 4 of these symptoms I would encourage you to make an appointment with your family physician.
- Swollen or enlargement in the neck
- Unexplained hair loss
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Low energy, brain fog
- Extremely elevated heart rate (pounding heart)
- Decreased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Excessive sweating or unexplained chills
- Irregular body temperature
- Dry skin
- Brittle nails
- Numbness or tingling in the hands
- Abnormal menstrual cycles
How to check for an abnormal thyroid
- While looking in the mirror tip your head back and drink some water. When you swallow watch just between your Adam’s apple and collarbone for any knobs, swelling, or lumps.
- Touch the area around the thyroid to check for any lumps
- Blood test administered by your doctor
Natural steps to create a healthier environment for your thyroid
- Your very first step is to figure out exactly what is causing your thyroid condition. You can do this by identifying and eliminating food allergies through an elimination diet, reduce toxins in your health/beauty products, stress, etc.
- Focus on cleaning up your nutrition and adding in foods or supplements that contain adequate amounts of omega-3, antioxidants, iodine, vitamin D, as well as other vitamins and minerals.
- Reduce stress by getting 7-8 hours of sleep and performing stress management techniques.
- Get active! The hormones released from simply moving will naturally stimulate your thyroid causing it to balance out.
Thyroid Problems? What to look for.