For a number of years thyroid conditions have been misunderstood and downplayed. However, thyroid disease can affect almost every aspect of a person’s health, causing nervous tremors, exhaustion, joint and muscle aches, excessive weight loss or gain, memory difficulties and depression. While thyroid disease can affect men, it’s more commonly found in women. Diagnosing thyroid disease is a process that will incorporate a number of factors, including whether an individual has a normal thyroid level. A diagnosis will involve blood tests, biopsies, imaging tests and other procedures.
Evaluation of Your Natural Thyroid Level
An evaluation will be performed by a trained practitioner. As part of a thorough exam, your physician will begin by palpating the neck and listen to your thyroid using a stethoscope. They will then measure your weight, examine your eyes, face and skin and review other clinical signs that point to your natural thyroid level being out of balance.
During this process you’ll undergo a number of blood tests to determine what your natural thyroid level is. Thyroid imaging tests can include an MRI, CT scan, nuclear scan and thyroid ultrasound.
Thyroid biopsies are done using a needle. This test will evaluate cold nodules and lumps. During a needle biopsy the needle is inserted into the lump, with some cells withdrawn and evaluated for cancer. Cancer can be diagnosed about eighty percent of the time using this procedure.
Physicians will sometimes use other tests and procedures to identify thyroid dysfunction. These other tests are considered controversial, but many of them are frequently used among holistic, integrative and alternative practitioners. These tests will include urinary testing, saliva testing, iodine patch testing and basal body temperature testing.
Treatment for Thyroid Conditions
The thyroid is a small gland in the neck that wraps around the windpipe below and behind the Adam’s apple area. This gland produces several hormones. These hormones help oxygen to enter cells and also regulate the metabolism.
One of the easiest ways you can determine whether or not you have a natural thyroid level is to listen to your body. An enlarged thyroid is a common symptom of an overactive or underactive thyroid. Low natural thyroid levels mean that there is an elevated TSH level. A physician can diagnose hypothyroidism in patients with TSH levels that are at 4.0.
The first and most basic step towards the treatment of an underactive thyroid is to improve the amount and quality of the fluids you drink and the food you eat. Consume at least one quart of water a day, for every fifty pounds of body weight. You should eliminate coffee, fruit juice and soda. You should also eliminate processed sugar and refined foods.
The focus of treatment for patients with overactive or underactive thyroids is for the patient to reach a natural thyroid level. Changes in diet and incorporating exercise will significantly help to adjust the thyroid level. Often, physicians will prescribe medication that is designed to regulate the thyroid. If medication therapy proves to be ineffective other therapies will explored.
Symptoms for Underactive and Overactive Thyroid Glands
It’s estimated that fifty-eight million Americans have a thyroid condition, but the majority of people are unaware of it. Since undiagnosed thyroid conditions can dramatically increase a person’s risk of depression, obesity, anxiety, heart disease, hair loss, infertility, sexual dysfunction and a number of other health problems and symptoms, it’s important that a person doesn’t go undiagnosed.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include impaired memory, sensitivity to cold, fatigue, weight gain, depression, constipation, difficulty sweating, dry hair, brittle nails, dry skin, hair loss and skin that’s rough and scaly.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include tremors, rapid heartbeat, feeling hot and sweaty, clammy skin, nervousness and rapid weight loss.
A person does not need to have several symptoms in order to have a thyroid problem, but some of the most common signs that you may have a thyroid condition include neck discomfort or enlargement, tendonitis issues, hair and skin changes, bowel problems and menstrual irregularities or fertility problems.
A feeling of swelling in the neck or discomfort when wearing shirts with a collar, a horse voice or an enlarged thyroid that’s visible, can all be signs of a goiter, which is another term for an enlarged thyroid gland.
Hair and skin changes are frequently associated with thyroid problems. Hypothyroidism can cause the hair to become coarse or brittle. The hair can fall off or break easily. The skin can become thick, coarse, scaly and dry. When diagnosed with this condition it’s not uncommon for a person to experience hair loss in the eyebrows.
Long-term or severe constipation is often association with hypothyroidism, while irritable bowel syndrome or diarrhea is associated with an overactive thyroid.
Periods that are more frequent or heavier and painful are associated with hypothyroidism. Infrequent, lighter periods can be associated with hyperthyroidism.