Given that the thyroid gland produces a wide array of hormones, it affects nearly all of the metabolic processes within the body. Thyroid disorders can be mild, such as goiter or enlarged gland, to cancer. Insufficient hormone production causes hypothyroidism while too much thyroid production is known as hyperthyroidism. It is estimated that under-active thyroid, known as hypothyroidism, is to blame for about 99 percent of all thyroid related issues. The Thyroid gland, the small gland at the base of the neck, is responsible for the metabolism, the rate at which cells convert food into energy. This means that the energy levels will suffer if your thyroid gland is not functioning correctly.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
- Removal of the thyroid gland: The thyroid may have been destroyed chemically or removed via a surgery.
- Hashimoto`s thyroiditis: This autoimmune disorder is characterized by insufficient hormone production as the body attacks thyroid tissue, which eventually dies off.
- Lithium: This drug is suspected to be a cause of hypothyroidism.
- Excessive exposure to iodide: Certain dyes, amiodarone, or cold and sinus medications can expose you to too much iodine, which increases the risk for hypothyroidism.
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
- Toxic adenomas: When nodules develop in the thyroid gland, it starts releasing too much hormones and disrupting body`s balance
- Subacute thyroiditis: The inflammation of the thyroid causes it to lead excess hormones
- Grave`s disease: Manifested by excessive production of thyroid hormone
- Pituitary gland malfunctions or cancerous growths in the thyroid gland: Hyperthyroidism can also be caused by these factors.
Signs of Thyroid Dysfunction
- Constantly feeling cold, having cold hands and feet
- Hair and skin changes like excessive hair loss, brittle nails and dry, cracking skin
- Bowel problems like constipation or diarrhea
- Weight gain or the inability to lose weight
- Mood swings, anxiety, depression and other mood related issues
- Fatigue, even after sleeping 8+ hours at night
- Low sex drive, PMS, irregular periods and infertility – all signs of female hormone imbalance
- Poor concentration, brain fog and inability to focus
How to Determine if your Thyroid is the Cause
It is recommended that all patients with these symptoms do the following lab tests in order to determine if their thyroid is functioning properly:
- Thyroid Binding Globulin (Protein that binds to Thyroid Hormone)
- Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO Ab)
- Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TGB Ab)
- TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)
- Free T4 (Inactive Thyroid Hormone)
- Free T3 (Active Thyroid Hormone)
- Reverse-T3 (Inactivated Thyroid Hormone)
Even if your levels appear normal, they may not be in the ideal range. Therefore, it is recommended to find the underlying cause of why your levels are not optimal.