8 things you need to know about your thyroid that you may not have realised

Without realising, the symptoms you are experiencing could be a result of an underlying thyroid disorder. Shockingly, 1 in 7 Australians will suffer with some form of thyroid disorder, with 5 in every 7 sufferers being women.

So what do you need to know about your thyroid so you can enjoy life and not be weighed down?

What is the thyroid?

Essentially, your thyroid gland is the thermostat that regulates the energy for your entire body. It controls everything from your mood to your metabolism.

The thyroid takes iodine and adapts it for use throughout your body.

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The most common forms of thyroid problems are:

  • Hypothyroidism, which is under-functioning of the thyroid gland (energy and metabolism are low)
  • Hyperthyroidism, which is over-functioning of the thyroid gland (metabolism is running on overdrive)
  • And autoimmune forms of under- and over- active thyroid (Hashimoto’s and Graves disease) or due to other causes ranging from nutritional deficiencies to infection and inflammation (thyroiditis).

Hypothyroidism is the most prevalently diagnosed thyroid disease.

8 things you need to know about your thyroid

1. You need the thyroid hormone to feel great

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If you haven’t seen your doctor or you aren’t taking your medication, you could experience fatigue, constipation, dry skin, brain fog or trouble concentrating, depression, anxiety, hair loss, depression, joint and muscle aches.

2. High cholesterol could mean you have an underactive thyroid

If you’ve been having trouble getting your cholesterol down, it might be worth asking your doctor to be tested for a thyroid condition. Hypothyroidism can lead to high cholesterol because slower metabolism isn’t burning up fat.

3. Make sure you have had everything checked in relation to your thyroid

We know the drill: you go to your doctor with a concern and they try to reassure you it isn’t anything serious. But if you have an inkling you have a thyroid problem, it is recommended you have the following ‘labs’ tested:

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  • TSH
  • Free T3
  • Free T4
  • Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb)
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb)
  • Reverse T3

4. If you’re having a hard time losing weight, if could be your thyroid

If you cannot lose weight, you might have a thyroid problem. With the right medication, you can increase your metabolism. On top of that, make sure you take iodine, selenium, zinc to help your thyroid gland along with the tablets you’re taking.

5. You can recover from a thyroid problem

Believe it or not, you can fix a thyroid problem with persistence and trial and error. A naturopathic doctor will be able to test you for everything you need to achieve a healthy thyroid holistically. According to Aviva Romm from The UltraWellness Center, “thyroid function can be recovered and restored with natural methods using stress reduction, diet, herbs, and supplements. Sometimes medications are needed long-term. But either way, it is important to identify whether you have a thyroid problem so you can get the help you need to feel like yourself again”.

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6. Changing your diet could help

If you have or you suspect you have hypothyroidism, try to avoid eating soy products because soy hinders absorption of hormones taken by those with thyroid conditions. Cabbage is also not great for hypothyroidism as the vegetable has an ion that conflicts with iodine – a supplement crucial for balancing thyroid levels.

7. If you suspect you have hypothyroidism, take this test

According to Dr Broda Barnes, there is a simple at-home test you can take. He told Harper’s Bazaar, that someone who suspects they may have a thyroid problem to buy a digital thermometer, and keep it on their bedside table. Take your oral temperature before getting out of bed in the morning. Take your temperature 20-30 minutes after lunch. Record the temps for several weeks. Your temperature should be around 36.7 upon waking and should rise to 37 by mid day. If your temperatures are routinely below there is a good chance your thyroid is not functioning properly. If you don’t feel like taking your temperature, ask yourself: are your hands and feet often cold? Are you often cold when everyone else is fine? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, you should see your doctor.

Tell us, do you have issues with your thyroid? How do you manage it?