WHAT IS THE THYROID GLAND AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the front base of your neck that produces thyroid hormones T4 and T3 and releases them directly into your bloodstream. These chemicals regulate the functioning of virtually all cells in your body. Thyroid hormones disperse throughout your body to regulate metabolism and most bodily functions. In your brain, T3 and T4 regulate neurotransmitters implicated in mood, appetite, sexual function, and emotions.
The manufacture of thyroid hormone requires several micro-nutrients, including iodine and selenium. Selenium is a trace element, which is crucial for adequate thyroid hormone production. 20% of the T3 hormone that your body produces comes from your thyroid gland and the remainder comes from the conversion of T4 to T3 in your organs.
The thyroid gland is regulated by the pituitary gland, or “master gland.” The pituitary gland delegates how much thyroid hormone the thyroid should produce. It emits signals to the thyroid gland using the right amount of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is the hormone that tells the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone.
HOW CAN THYROID FUNCTION GO WRONG?
Thyroid Disorder Symptoms
So many factors can alter your thyroid hormone levels. This includes depression, being overweight, medications, and improper nutrition. But the most common reason for having abnormal thyroid function is an immune system attack, causing the thyroid gland to either slow down or work excessively. This is called autoimmunity, meaning the immune system views your thyroid as a foreign entity. Autoimmune thyroid conditions are the most common among all autoimmune diseases.
Important trace elements such as selenium, zinc, and other antioxidants are crucial for thyroid hormone to work efficiently in your body and brain. You need the perfect amount of thyroid hormone in your system for optimal mind and body function.
Autoimmune thyroid disease is actually more common that type I diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, or rheumatoid arthritis. In autoimmune thyroid disorders, antibodies start attacking your thyroid. In one form of autoimmune thyroid disorders called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the thyroid no longer produces hormones normally, so it leads to hypothyroidism (low thyroid). Often, a genetic predisposition causes autoimmune disorders of the thyroid but many other factors, such as bacterial or viral infections, radiation, vitamin deficiencies, and stress can trigger an autoimmune attack.
The frequency of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis begins to rise significantly around puberty. At menopause, women become even more vulnerable to this autoimmune disorder, which explains why nearly 10 to 15% of postmenopausal women become hypothyroid. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is quite common, affecting over 10% of the population. Additionally, Women are 5 to 7 times more affected than men. Many patients suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis have normal thyroid function but have never become hypothyroid, however this does not mean that they are not at a high risk of becoming hypothyroid at any point in their lives.
Graves’ disease is also an autoimmune condition that typically results in overactive thyroid and affects one to two percent of the population. The antibodies that attack the thyroid, (thyroid stimulating antibodies) stimulate the thyroid gland and make it produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. The damaging antibodies of Graves’ disease can also attack the eyes, a thyroid-eye disease known as Thyroid Orbitopathy, caused by inflammation of the structures around the eyes, including the eye muscles. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism in both men and women is Graves’ disease. Graves’ disease is also 5 to 7 times more common in women than men.
The conventional way to diagnose an underactive or overactive thyroid is through blood testing of TSH, T4, and T3 levels. That being said, a TSH test may be enough as a first step. TSH is the pituitary hormone that makes the thyroid gland function properly. When the gland becomes sluggish, TSH levels become higher in an attempt to restore thyroid function back to normal.
The TSH test shows high numbers when your thyroid is not working well. The higher your TSH level, the more severe your hypothyroid condition is. In contrast, when the gland is overactive or when there is too much thyroid hormone in your system, your TSH levels becomes low.
It is very important to note that you may still be suffering from hypothyroidism even though your TSH levels are within the normal range. This phenomenon is known as covert hypothyroidism and can cause many symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. You can learn more about covert hypothyroidism in Dr. Arem’s book, The Thyroid Solution.
Typically in hyperthyroidism, both T3 and T4 levels are higher than usual but it is possible to see some patients with high T3 and normal T4 levels.
Other useful tests to diagnose thyroid disease:
– Anti-TPO antibody = The best marker for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
– TSI(Thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin) = immune blood marker for Grave’s Disease.
– Thyroglobulin = Blood test marker for thyroid cancer
– Calcitonin = Blood test marker for medullary thyroid cancer
– Ultrasound = Useful for diagnosing thyroid nodules, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and the detection of abnormal lymph nodes in patients with thyroid cancer.
COMMON RISK FACTORS FOR THYROID DISEASE THAT YOU CAN CONTROL
Cigarettes contain thiocyanate, a dangerous chemical that can adversely affect the thyroid gland because it acts as an anti-thyroid agent. It increases the severity and side effects of hypothyroidism for people who suffer from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
Iodine deficiency has been directly linked to increasing the risk of hypothyroidism and goiter. Since iodine is added to salt, iodine deficiency is more common among people who restrict their salt intake. In contrast, too much iodine can increase the risk of autoimmune thyroid disease and hypothyroidism.
For some people, too much soy has been shown to contribute to hypothyroidism because it can interfere with thyroid hormone absorption. The second is any food high in goitrogens. Goitrogenic foods include radishes, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. You should only be concerned with these foods when are eaten raw, in large quantities, and too frequently, because they contain a chemical that promotes goiter and potentially causes hypothyroidism.
It has been reported that women are 6 to 8 times more likely to develop thyroid disease than men.
As you age, your risk for thyroid disease increases.
A family history of autoimmune disease will increase your risk of thyroid disease.
During pregnancy, and the first year postpartum, the risk of developing an autoimmune thyroid disease and temporary thyroiditis increases.
Major stress factors such as death, divorce, economic hardship, loss of a job, or physical stress such as a car accident, can trigger autoimmune thyroid disease, especially Grave’s disease.
MORE AUTOIMMUNITY IN THYROID PATIENTS
Having Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or Grave’s Disease makes a person more vulnerable to immune attacks on several parts of their body, including adrenal glands, connective tissues (i.e. joints), muscles, the pituitary gland, the skin, the GI tract, and even the brain.
• Immune attacks on the adrenals can cause adrenal insufficiency
• Vitiligo is a loss of pigmentation of the skin; the result of an attack of the immune system on the skin.
• Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity, autoimmune reactions, cause inflammation in your GI tract and body. They are more common in patients with thyroid disease than the general population
Other autoimmune disorders more common among thyroid patients:
– Type I Diabetes (immune attack on beta-cells of the pancreas)
– Multiple Sclerosis
– Pernicious Anemia
– Rheumatoid Arthritis
– Sjogrens Syndrome
– Crohn’s Disease
– Ulcerative Colitis
– Autoimmune Hypophysitis (attack on the pituitary gland)
What Causes Hypothyroidism?
You can become hypothyroid as a result of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the autoimmune condition that destroys your gland over time and makes your T3 and T4 levels gradually decline. You can also become hypothyroid as a result of treating Graves’ disease. An underactive thyroid can be caused by the surgical removal of part or all of the thyroid gland. It can also be caused by other types of inflammation of the thyroid, such as subacute thyroiditis (a viral illness that can damage the thyroid gland), and silent thyroiditis (another form of autoimmunity on the thyroid). Postpartum thyroiditis, radiation to the head and neck, and deficiency of important nutrients such as iodine or selenium can also make your thyroid slow down. Some medications and disorders of the hypothalamus, or pituitary gland, can also result in hypothyroidism.
Most Common Physical Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:
• Weight Gain
• Aches and pains in joints and muscles
• Dry and itchy skin
• Brittle hair
• Hair loss, including loss of eyebrow hair
• Feeling cold even in warm temperatures
• Milky discharge from breasts
• Heavy Menstrual Periods
Most Common Mental Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:
• Mental sluggishness
• Increased sleepiness
• Emotional instability
• Inability to focus and pay attention
Treatment of Hypothyroidism
The conventional treatment of hypothyroidism is synthetic T4 or Levothyroxine. In the right amount, Levothyroxine will normalize your thyroid levels. The body can convert T4 to T3, which is the most active form of thyroid hormone, but not T3 to T4. When you try to correct your underactive thyroid with levothyroxine pills (T4) the conversion of T4 to T3 may not be optimal and you will end up missing some T3. That’s why you may not get rid of all your symptoms by just taking thyroxine tablets. There are 13 strength levels of Levothyroxine tablets, all ranging from 12.5 mcg to 300 mcg. Try to stick to the name brand when you are treated with levothyroxine. Examples of levothyroxine brands are Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid, and Unithroid. You may do better with Armour Thyroid as long as the prescribed T3 dose is right for you. Armour thyroid is a combination of T4 and T3 and comes in several different strengths. Regardless of the treatment you are using, the dose of thyroid hormone needs to be adjusted and monitored over time.
Lingering Thyroid Symptoms
For hypothyroidism, your doctor will typically aim at normalizing your TSH level, which is the pituitary hormone that regulates the thyroid gland. A normal TSH level indicates that you are getting the right amount of medication. However, despite achieving and maintaining normal blood tests, you may continue to suffer from fatigue, low grade depression, and weight gain because you are missing some T3 hormone. The solution to this may be the use of a well balanced combination of the two thyroid hormones T4 and T3. T3 treatment can help patients achieve the right T3 levels, but it alone is not enough to treat hypothyroidism.
How to Detect and Treat Congenital Hypothyroidism
Congenital hypothyroidism, or a baby born with hypothyroidism due to improper or non-existent thyroid gland development, is a condition that causes delayed mental and physical development. Screening is typically done a few days after birth to prevent any permanent damage. Treatment with levothyroxine must promptly begin at diagnosis of congenital hypothyroidism. With treatment, the child should normally develop and not suffer any lasting effects.
Is taking the right thyroid medication enough for Hypothyroidism?
Treating an underactive thyroid with thyroid medication is an important component of Dr. Arem’s Thyroid Program. However, having perfectly normal thyroid levels in your blood is not necessarily enough. Indeed, for optimal wellness, you must ensure that you are properly supporting your immune system since your thyroid condition is likely to be related to an immune system attack on your thyroid. There are additional factors that affect your ability to fight hypothyroidism:
• Healthy nutrition and the avoidance of saturated fats. The best diet for thyroid health is a high protein, high fiber low-glycemic, and immune system friendly diet. The Protein Boost Diet, designed by Dr. Arem, fulfills all these important fundamentals.
• Properly managing stress, practicing relaxation techniques and regularly exercising.
Hypothyroidism and Menopause
Menopause is defined as the end of the menstruation cycle in women, typically in their late 40’s or early 50’s. Estrogen levels in the body fall during this time and result in symptoms such as decreased libido, night sweats, hot flashes, depression, and mood swings. Having hypothyroidism, even low-grade, during or after menopause, can make its symptoms worse. Menopausal women are more likely to become hypothyroid than women in their reproductive years. In fact, research shows that as many as 10 to 15 percent of menopausal women have hypothyroidism. Hypothyroid and menopause symptoms can be similar. For this reason, any women going through menopause that has these symptoms and feels that they are having a lower than usual quality of life should be tested for hypothyroidism. Menopause can also make hypothyroidism symptoms worse. Thyroid patients are more likely to experience more menopausal symptoms than non-thyroid patients.
Hypothyroidism in Children and Adolescents
Children and adolescents can be affected by hypothyroidism as well. The symptoms are more or less the same as in adults; however, pay attention to concentration issues, low-grade depression, and weight gain. It is interesting that at puberty, the occurrence of hypothyroidism in girls increases. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in children and adolescents. As a mother, if you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, you should have your child tested if they start experiencing any symptoms suggesting low thyroid. Research has shown that children and adolescents of mothers diagnosed with hypothyroidism are more likely to be hypothyroid. For a more accurate diagnosis, the upper limit of the normal range for TSH levels should be lower in children and adolescents.
Subclinical Hypothyroidism in Children
Around 2% of the population’s children is affected by subclinical hypothyroidism. Children with subclinical hypothyroidism may progress towards more severe hypothyroidism and therefore experience delayed growth and brain development. It may be beneficial to start the child on thyroid medication if they have symptoms.
Thyroid Function in Small Newborns
Decreased thyroid hormone levels can result in the delayed growth of newborn babies. These babies are described as small for gestational age and are born with lower T4 levels than healthy infants. For these babies, it is important to begin thyroid medication in order to normalize their growth rate and prevent hypothyroidism.
Most Common Physical Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism:
• Weight loss
• Feeling hot and becoming intolerant of warm temperatures
• Hair loss
• Eye irritation
• Increased sweating
• Rapid heartbeat
• Irregular menstrual periods
• Decreased fertility
• Increased frequency of bowel movements
Most Common Mental Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism:
• Panic attacks
• Aggressive behavior
• Emotional withdrawal
• Emotional mood swings
What Causes Hyperthyroidism?
Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. In this condition, the immune system sends signals to the thyroid, making it produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. Other causes of hyperthyroidism are autonomous thyroid nodules (nodules that take over the function of the gland and produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormone) and multinodular toxic goiters (hyperactive nodules that produce too much thyroid hormone). Silent and subacute thyroiditis typically cause high thyroid hormone levels for a few weeks due to the release of thyroid hormone from the inflamed gland. Transient hyperthyroidism is typically followed by an underactive thyroid, which is then followed by the restoration of normal thyroid function. Many patients with subacute thyroiditis or silent thyroiditis will continue to have some thyroid hormone deficiency, often minimal, that can affect them.
Treatment for Hyperthyroidism
There are three types of treatments available for patients diagnosed with Graves’ disease: Radioactive Iodine, anti-thyroid medications (PTU or methimazole), and surgical removal of a big portion of the gland. The treatment offered by your doctor should be tailored according to your specific clinical situation.
The two most widely used medications used to treat Graves’ Disease are PTU (propyl- thiouracil) and methimazole. These medications block the manufacture of thyroid hormone. The required dosage depends on how severe the hyperthyroidism is and is typically adjusted based on symptoms and thyroid testing. These medications are generally used until remission of Graves’ Disease, which could happen from after a few months to a few years. The major adverse effect to watch for while taking these medications is low white blood cell count, an uncommon but dangerous effect that can lead to serious infections. Another rare but serious side effect of medication is liver damage. More common side effects are itching, urticaria (hives), skin rashes, joint pain, fever, upset stomach, and metallic taste. Before starting methimazole or PTU, please become acquainted with these side effects and others. The overall remission rate of hyperthyroidism with the use of these medications is around 30 to 50%.
Radioactive iodine treatment is by far the most favored treatment of hyperthyroidism because it is more definitive and will eventually lead to hypothyroidism as a result of the gradual destruction of the thyroid gland. Most patients require one treatment, though some may remain hyperthyroid after a few months and would therefore require a second or third dose.
Subtotal Thyroidectomy (surgical removal of a big portion of the thyroid gland)
This method of treatment is not recommended as often as medication or radioactive iodine. It could be the best option if you have a very big thyroid gland or if you have experienced side effects from medications and you are reluctant to receiving radioactive iodine treatment. Always select a surgeon who has a great deal of experience with thyroid surgeries.
DIFFERENT FORMS OF THYROIDITIS
Subacute thyroiditis occurs when a viral infection temporarily destroys the thyroid gland, resulting in transient hyperthyroidism. You can often see the following characteristics of this condition: fever and pain in your neck area and sometimes as far as your ears. The common cold, mumps, and measles, among other viruses, can cause subacute thyroiditis.
A temporary immune system attack on the thyroid gland that causes mild hyperthyroidism and only lasts a few weeks. In some cases, the hyperthyroidism can persist for as long as three months. Sometimes, hypothyroidism follows the initial stage of hyperthyroidism.
Nearly 5 to 8% of pregnant women suffer from a thyroid imbalance after the delivery of their baby. Most women who suffer from postpartum thyroid conditions begin to experience a transient state of hyperthyroidism for two to three months before they switch into a state of hypothyroidism. In most cases, hypothyroidism goes away after a few weeks to a year, but sometimes women continue to suffer from thyroid imbalance. After giving birth, women experience a drop in estrogen and progesterone, which provokes low mood or further depression. As the mother’s responsibilities increase, her stress and depression increase, heightening the autoimmune reactions in her body. This is why women sometimes experience autoimmune attacks in the postpartum stage. When the immune system attacks the thyroid gland in the postpartum period, there is a release of thyroid hormone, which causes thyroid hormone levels to become elevated. A few weeks later, the injured thyroid is not capable of releasing enough for some time. This explains why postpartum thyroiditis often causes hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism. Women who have positive thyroid antibodies, when they are pregnant, are more likely to suffer from postpartum thyroiditis. Postpartum thyroid issues need to be addressed to ensure that the temporary imbalance does not become a permanent issue. The ideal treatment for postpartum thyroid imbalance needs to include supplementation with antioxidants, in particular selenium, and should address postpartum stress and depression. It is also important for postpartum women to be checked for vitamin D deficiency and receive vitamin D supplementation, if needed to improve autoimmunity.
ACCORDING TO Dr. AREM, A COMPREHENSIVE SUPPLEMENTATION PROGRAM MUST INCLUDE:
• A well-balanced mix of trace minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and other ingredients that support the health of your thyroid gland, thyroid hormone efficiency, immune system health and metabolism (i.e. ThyroLife Optima).
• Omega-3 fatty acids
• Calcium (at least 4 hours after taking thyroid medication)
• Vitamin D in the right amount
There are many thyroid supplements that you can get over the counter or online. Unfortunately, many are designed by people who lack knowledge in thyroid and metabolism. Some contain herbs of unknown efficacy or safety while others have incomplete or imbalanced compositions. Ideally, you should select a thyroid supplement that provides a complete spectrum of ingredients that help attain optimal metabolism and reduce free radicals and inflammation in your body. You need to know that the best thyroid supplements should be clean mixes that include well-balanced amounts of the following:
• Specific minerals and trace elements: iodine, selenium, zinc, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, magnesium, and vanadium. All important for optimal thyroid health and metabolism.
• Vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin C
• Appropriate amounts of B vitamins: Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pyrodoxine, Folic Acid, vitamin B12, PABA, Biotin, and Pantothenic Acid.
• Potent antioxidants: Co-Enzyme Q10, Lycopene, Turmeric, Alpha Lipoic Acid, L-Glutathione and Quercetin
• Vitamin D (Extremely important for thyroid autoimmunity and metabolism)
• Inositol (Important for TSH signaling)
ThyroLife Optima is viewed by many health professionals as one of the best supplements for thyroid patients because it includes a balanced amount of all micronutrients that help with thyroid gland health, the immune system, thyroid hormone efficiency and metabolism. This supplement also helps with weight loss when taken while following the correct diet. It is calcium-free, gluten-free, iron-free and you can take it right at the end of breakfast. It will not interfere with thyroid medication. To learn more, click here.
It is to be noted that thyroid supplements such as ThyroLife Optima are not intended to treat or cure your thyroid condition, but to provide the necessary ingredients to maintain a healthy thyroid system and metabolism. Do not be misled, there are absolutely no supplements on the market that will replace your thyroid treatment or treat/cure your thyroid condition.
Nodules, or “lumps”, in the thyroid gland are quite common. Lumps that can be felt by your doctor during an examination are found in at least five percent of people. Most are benign and only fifteen percent are cancerous. There are two types of nodules:
* “Cold nodules” – On a thyroid scan, these do not pick up radioactive iodine and do not cause thyroid imbalance. However, these nodules are the most likely to be cancerous.
* “Hot nodules” – Also known as hyperactive thyroid nodules, these are much less common than cold nodules. They tend to cause hyperthyroidism and are almost never cancerous.
If your TSH levels are normal while still having a thyroid nodule, you most likely have a cold nodule. The next step should be an Ultrasound Guided Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy. You are at a higher risk of having thyroid cancer if you’ve previously received radiation treatment to the neck or if you were exposed to radiation when you were a child. Men with thyroid nodules have a higher chance of having thyroid cancer than women. If your thyroid nodule size increases over time, it could be an indication that you have thyroid cancer.
New Guidelines for nodules and differentiated thyroid cancer management:
The American Thyroid Association has updated and revised its guidelines for managing patients with thyroid nodules and differentiated thyroid cancer. For individuals with thyroid nodules, the guidelines include ultrasound criteria, managing benign thyroid nodules, and an initial evaluation. For thyroid cancer, several new guidelines are provided pertaining to surgery management, suppression therapy, radioiodine remnant ablation, laboratory testing, and ultrasound surveillance.
My 10 IMPORTANT THYROID FACTS:
- Iodine. Ensuring your diet includes the right amount of iodine is essential for proper thyroid health and the manufacture of thyroid hormone. Whether you are pregnant or not, it can be easier to incorporate iodine supplementation in your lifestyle in order to avoid iodine deficiency. However, do not take excessive amounts of iodine because it can negatively affect thyroid function and even promote autoimmune attacks on your thyroid. To be on the safe side, take a supplement that contains 100 to 200 mcg of iodine so that you avoid both deficiency and excess.
- Selenium. This trace element found in nature is a potent antioxidant essential for optimal thyroid function, thyroid hormone efficiency, and immune system support. For this reason, if you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease, it is important to include selenium as part of your daily supplement. A supplementation of 100 to 150 mcg is highly recommended. ThyroLife Optima; a complete, comprehensive, and well-balanced thyroid supplement includes selenium in the right amount
- Several other antioxidants besides selenium are essential for clearing your body from the buildup of free radicals caused by your thyroid disorder. Free radicals impair the efficiency of thyroid hormone in your body and can damage your thyroid. They can also weaken the immune system. The antioxidants also help improve mood and brain function. The vitamins and antioxidants that promote thyroid gland health and thyroid hormone efficiency as well as boost your metabolism and immune system are zinc, beta-carotene, vitamin B2, B3, B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and many others that are included in ThyroLife Optima.
- You need to pay attention to your vitamin D levels and take adequate vitamin D supplementation if you have an autoimmune thyroid condition such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease. Vitamin D deficiency can promote autoimmune attacks on the thyroid. This is why it is so crucial for supporting your immune system. Vitamin D supplementation also has benefits on the cardiovascular system, bone health, mood, cognition, and metabolism. The average thyroid patient requires 10,000 to 20,000 units of vitamin D3 every week. Vitamin D supplementation needs to be adjusted based on your 25-OH vitamin D levels. In addition to vitamin D, you may need to increase your calcium intake but be sure to not exceed 1000 mg of calcium per day. Calcium should be taken at least 4 hours after taking thyroid medication.
- Do not neglect low-grade thyroid imbalances, such as subclinical hypothyroidism or subclinical hyperthyroidism. These minor imbalances can affect your cardiovascular system and overall health.
- There are many levothyroxine medication brands used to treat hypothyroidism. The most popular ones are Synthroid, Levoxyl, and Tirosint. Some generic levothyroxine brands may have different contents of the active thyroid hormone, even though the label indicates the same strength. Because of these differences, it is recommended to stick to the same product. That being said, if you do decide to change products, make sure your thyroid tests are repeated 6 to 8 weeks later. When you are treated for hypothyroidism with thyroid medication, whether it is Armour thyroid, synthetic levothyroxine, or T4/T3 combination treatment, be sure that you do not become over or undermedicated, since this can have negative health consequences.
- Autoimmune thyroid disease and hypothyroidism tend to become more common around and after menopause. Ten to fifteen percent of menopausal women have low thyroid. Thyroid imbalance in menopausal women can cause or exacerbate menopausal symptoms. Moreover, menopausal symptoms can mimic low thyroid symptoms. Therefore, if you are feeling depressed, anxious, or are having sleep problems and troublesome menopausal symptoms, you need to test your thyroid and treat any imbalance.
- Thyroid disease can cause a wide range of GI symptoms but what is often overlooked is that people suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease are more likely to suffer from Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and other autoimmune gastrointestinal disorders. These include pernicious anemia with vitamin B12 deficiency, autoimmune liver disease, and inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
- Being overweight can push your immune system to attack your thyroid gland, causing a thyroid imbalance. In turn, having a thyroid imbalance can affect your metabolism and promote weight gain. As you can see, a vicious cycle can easily start, even if you previously believed you never had any thyroid issues. If you are overweight, you need to have your thyroid tested and if you have a thyroid imbalance, even minor, ensure that it is meticulously treated.
- Thyroid disease can cause or contribute to infertility, miscarriages, preterm birth, postpartum depression, and postpartum thyroiditis. It is therefore important to test your thyroid before contemplating becoming pregnant. It is also important to be tested during pregnancy. If you have hypothyroidism and become pregnant, you must adjust your thyroid medication dosage (it must often be increased) and monitor your thyroid hormone levels on a regular basis throughout pregnancy.