Here’s What Happens to Your Body When Your Thyroid Is Imbalanced

Have you been feeling more tired than normal lately or been struggling with your weight? An imbalanced thyroid may be the cause. 

About 20 million Americans struggle with thyroid issues, and many more are unaware of their condition. In fact, the American Thyroid Association estimates about 60% of Americans don’t know they have thyroid disease. 

An imbalanced thyroid can wreak havoc on your body and your overall wellness. At Grassroots Healthcare in Tusla, Oklahoma, Dr. Melita Tate, and our compassionate team are dedicated to helping you improve your overall health, including the health of your thyroid

Dr. Tate is an internal medicine physician who uses a holistic approach to wellness. To help you understand your thyroid and how an imbalance impacts your body, we’ve created this helpful guide.

Read on to learn what happens to your body when your thyroid is imbalanced!

What is the thyroid and how does it work?

Along the front of your windpipe, low on your neck, lies a small gland called the thyroid. This tiny gland plays a big role in regulating your health. 

The thyroid is part of the endocrine system, a system of different glands located throughout the body that make the hormones that regulate almost every part and function in your body. Each gland has different responsibilities.

The thyroid’s main job is to regulate and control your body’s metabolism, or ability to take food and change it into energy. It also helps regulate your heart rate, how fast you burn calories, body temperature, blood pressure, muscle contractions, and mood. 

For your thyroid to work correctly, its cells need to take in and use iodine. This means your diet needs to be rich in foods that supply iodine, such as iodized salt, prunes, egg yolks, lima beans, fish, iodine-fortified foods, and different seaweeds.  

How does a thyroid imbalance impact my body?

When your thyroid is out of balance it produces either too much or too little of the different hormones it secretes. With an imbalanced thyroid, your body doesn’t receive the right amount of hormones it needs to function. 

Thyroid disease is the name given to a group of conditions that result from problems with the thyroid. Depending on the type and severity of thyroid condition, the conditions and the way they impact your body can vary. 

Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)

Hyperthyroidism occurs when your thyroid is overactive or overproduces thyroid hormones. Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder, is the primary cause of hyperthyroidism, but inflammation of the thyroid can also lead to excess hormones. 

When not treated, hyperthyroidism leads to significant health problems with your bones, muscles, and heart. For women, it can also impact your menstrual cycle and fertility.

Symptoms of an overactive thyroid include:

Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)

Hypothyroidism results when your thyroid is underactive or doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. An autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s disease causes the immune system to attach the thyroid and is the leading cause of hypothyroidism in America.

With an underactive thyroid, your body functions slow, including your metabolism. Symptoms of hypothyroidism are slow to appear and progress slowly. Initially, you might feel more tired than normal. 

As hypothyroidism progresses you experience additional symptoms, including: 

If left untreated, hypothyroidism can result in elevated cholesterol, increasing your risk for heart disease, as well as decreased mental and cognitive function.

Other thyroid conditions

While hyper and hypothyroidism are the most common forms of thyroid disease, other conditions can impact the health of the thyroid. These include thyroid nodules, goiters, thyroid swelling, and thyroid cancer. 

During your visit with Dr. Tate, she'll perform a physical exam and run a blood test to check the levels of your thyroid hormones. You may need additional tests or imaging to confirm a diagnosis. 

How can I treat a thyroid imbalance?

Dr. Tate’s holistic approach to healthcare treats your imbalanced thyroid as an essential part of the entire body rather than an isolated concern. She works to understand the root cause of the imbalance to ensure you receive the best care. 

At Grassroots Healthcare, we work to recommend a course of treatment that alleviates symptoms while improving the health of your thyroid. Depending on your symptoms, test results, and health history, Dr. Tate may recommend nutritional supplements, a healthy eating plan, medications, and changes to your lifestyle. 

If you’re experiencing symptoms of an imbalanced thyroid, the caring team at Grassroots Healthcare in Tulsa, Oklahoma, can help. Schedule your appointment today by visiting us here.

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