“What is a thyroid?”
That question is the reason I had to write this article.
“But what is it?'”
“What?” (I was quite taken aback.)
I thought I may be hearing things.
This was a conversation I had with my sister the other day and it had me thinking…
“How many people don’t know what a thyroid is?!”
Let’s Talk Thyroid
You may have decided to read this article because you too, either don’t know what a thyroid is or you don’t know why it is wreaking havoc on your entire body.
Let me tell you that a lot is going on with that little gland in your neck.
Hopefully, you will understand a little better by the time you’re done reading this.
So, what is your thyroid?
Simply put, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that is pretty small and sits low on the front of your neck.
When it is normal size, you should not be able to feel it.
It should be thought of as the accelerator of your entire body.
What the thyroid does controls so many things.
The thyroid is what you would call a vital hormone gland.
So…that’s super-interesting…but what does the thyroid do?
I suppose there’s a chance you have read about the thyroid at one point, maybe in school for a very brief moment.
There’s also a good chance you weren’t paying attention. I know I wasn’t.
Thyroid School 101
Keep in mind it is very important to know this if you are dealing with any of these symptoms that cause problems, especially in females.
Don’t worry, I will get into the signs and symptoms later, I promise.
So here’s a list to refresh your memory.
The thyroid gland does all of these things:
- Produces thyroid hormones for metabolic health (controls your metabolism)
- Regulates the body’s metabolic rate
- Heart function(how fast your heart beats)
- Muscle function
- Digestive function
- Brain development
- Bone maintenance
Okay, you might be beginning to think that that’s a pretty good list of what the thyroid does. But it will go on.
More Things the Thyroid Controls
Yes, it gets less boring.
It also controls:
- Weight gain or loss (“Say WHAT?”)
- Body temperature
- Cholesterol levels
- Menstrual cycles
- Your mood!
- Your skin and hair health
Now I don’t know about you, but knowing the above mentioned things that your thyroid does would have my attention immediately.
What if all of the sudden your thyroid stops functioning the way it should?
Let me just say, that the thyroid does not all of the sudden stop functioning the way it should.
There are many reasons why it may start to malfunction, as it were.
I’m not going to get into that right now, because this article would be twenty pages long.
But the point is, there is some reason that things go wrong with the thyroid.
It may be one or many reasons. There is always a starting point.
Signs and Symptoms of a Sick Thyroid
So when the thyroid starts to act up, you have some pretty lousy signs and symptoms on your hands.
Ahh, the fun begins.
(That was definitely sarcasm.)
I just want to emphasize, if you have one or more of these symptoms, DO NOT IGNORE THEM!
Do not let anyone tell you that these symptoms are normal!
THEY ARE NOT!
- Dry skin
- Dry or coarse or strange looking hair (Like when you’ve used heat tools more often than you should on your hair, that kind of strange looking)
- A puffy face (This is a big one, and not many people realize that their face may look like a kewpie doll not because they ate too many Ding-Dongs, but because there are some serious issues going down with their thyroid. Ask me how I know? I will get into that another time.)
- Constipation (This one plagues a lot of people and they have no idea why. It’s because when your thyroid ain’t working your digestion slows down, dramatically.)
- A heavy menstrual flow and horrible cramps
- Muscle cramps (Ever heard of or had a “charley horse?” Yep, can be thyroid related.)
- Weight gain (This is weight gain that a lot of the time will come on rapidly, and mostly on your waistline. This is even if you’ve always been able to keep trim in the past. Suddenly, you have a spare tire. Oh, not fun at all.)
- Hoarseness in your voice
- You are cold all of the time (Especially cold hands and feet)
- You are warm all of the time (Like uncomfortably warm.)
- Muscle weakness
- Feeling bone-tired (By this I mean really tired. This is not “I’m tired I need to go to bed tired.” This is I can’t get my head off of my desk and it’s nine o clock in the morning tired.)
- Hair loss! (I think I need to write a whole post on this one.)
- You start to feel like you’re going crazy
- Feeling depressed
- Feeling blue
- You can’t remember what you just said, or are currently saying
- You can’t concentrate because you are too tired
- Apathy (The things that you once enjoyed no longer interest you)
- A goiter(or a bulge) on your neck (This is much more common than you may realize.)
Are we getting tired of reading all of these symptoms? I know I am.
The Importance of Thyroid Knowledge
There are far more symptoms than what is listed above to choose from.
I just really want my readers to be aware of how incredibly important it is to just have basic knowledge of what your thyroid is.
You should know the signs and symptoms that can come with it when it’s not working properly.
Interestingly, I didn’t know what the thyroid was until I started realizing I had just about all of the symptoms.
That was when I started researching like a mad scientist until I was convinced I had diagnosed myself.
Unfortunately, by then it was too late.
Why Should You Care What a Thyroid Is?
My story is something I’d like to share with you all at some point.
But I know that’s not why you’re here. At least, not likely why you’re here.
Again, why should you care about your thyroid?
You are here because at some level, you are suffering.
I don’t believe you would be reading this just for fun.
It’s not fun. It’s a serious matter.
Thyroid problems don’t go away on their own. Once they start, they just get worse and worse.
Even if you have an inkling that you may be dealing with more than just average tiredness, you should address it.
There is a good possibility as you are reading this that you are struggling to just get through the day.
You may be asking yourself if there is a connection between “what is a thyroid?” and your fatigue.
Likely, there probably is.
Please Take Action
Listen, it really irks me when thyroid problems are written off by doctors and people who don’t understand.
So I get it.
If you are reading this and you can relate to any of this, now is the time to take action.
The good news is that you can find out the problem, and get to a solution.
It’s not untreatable.
There is a way to manage all of these symptoms.
I don’t want to overwhelm you, but….
Please don’t wait any longer.
You can catch this before it gets worse.
It could develop into an autoimmune disease.
This little gland in your neck could cause you have to quit your job.
Sadly, it could change your entire life.
I’m not saying it’s the end, and there may be some good that comes out of it one day.
But why go through all of that if you don’t have to?
The point of this blog is to get you onto a better path.
There is a path to health and a vibrant you.
Let’s Talk TSH
Introducing one of the main players of thyroid problems, the hormone TSH.
(I’ve tried to make this article as entertaining as possible considering its content.)
That is, the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, and it is the fuel that causes your body’s functions to either slow down or speed up, depending on what you’re dealing with.
TSH is one of the keys to determining if indeed you are dealing with a thyroid problem.
I’d really like to tell you a little more about TSH.
So if you’re ready, let’s talk about TSH and what should be done next if you have any of these signs or symptoms that we just covered.