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Foods that we eat play a role in production of Thyroid Hormones, excessive action of the thyroid gland can cause Graves’ Disease, while under activity can cause Myxedema.
Foods that reduce Thyroid Function
Certain foods contain chemicals which block the production of thyroid hormone, particularly cabbage, broccoli, rutabaga, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, watercress, and peanuts. Cooking partially inactivates the interfering chemical, known medically as a Goitrogen. Thus, in most cases it is wise to eat these foods cooked. Raw peanuts or soybeans should never be eaten. Fortunately, peanut butter is heated to a high enough degree that the Goitrogens are destroyed.”
Milk is a major contributing factor to thyroid problems, especially since modern dairy products often contain traces of antibiotics such as penicillin and hormones which place an even greater burden on your endocrine system.
Soy. Soy is a Goitrogen known to depress thyroid functioning.
Sugar. At high level of sugar intake, there is a risk of damaging or even destroying the adrenal and thyroid glands.
Graves ’ Disease, also recognized as Toxic Diffuse Goiter, is the most widespread source of hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is a disorder that occurs when the thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormone than the body requires. Hyperthyroidism causes many of the body’s functions to speed up. Graves’ Disease is an Autoimmune Disorder, in autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks the body’s own cells and organs.
Causes of Graves Disease
It is caused by an abnormal immune system response that causes the thyroid gland to produce too much thyroid hormone. Immune system generates antibodies called Thyroid-Stimulating Immunoglobulins(TSIs). These antibodies cause your thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormone than your body needs. The Thyroid is a 2-inch-long, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck below the larynx, or voice box. The thyroid makes two thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). T3 is made from T4 and is the more active hormone, directly affecting the tissues. Thyroid hormones circulate all through the body in the bloodstream and operate on virtually every tissue and cell in the body. Thyroid Hormones affect metabolism, brain development, breathing, heart and nervous system functions, body temperature, muscle strength, skin dryness, menstrual cycles, weight, and cholesterol levels.
Symptoms of Graves Disease
Signs and symptoms of Graves Disease include one or more of the following:-
An enlarged thyroid
Rapid heart rate
Widened pulse pressure
A hyperthyroid stare (infrequent blinking) or frank exophthalmos
Smooth moist skin
Frequent bowel movements or diarrhea
Weight loss despite increased appetite
Heat intolerance, sweating
Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
Irregular menstrual periods
Difficulty controlling diabetes
Prominent, bulging eyes
Vision problems (such as double vision)
Diagnosis and Tests for Graves Disease
Blood tests to measure levels of TSH, T3, and free T4. Graves’ Patients usually have lower than normal levels of TSH and higher levels of thyroid hormones. Another laboratory test measures the levels of the antibody known to cause Graves’ disease.
Radioactive iodine uptake. By giving, a small amount of radioactive iodine and later measuring the amount of it in thyroid gland with a specialized scanning camera, doctor can determine the rate at which thyroid gland takes up iodine. A high uptake of radioactive iodine indicates thyroid gland is overproducing hormones.
Treatment of Graves Disease
Following treatments of Graves’ disease are common:-
Antithyroid Drugs. These drugs reduce the production of thyroid hormone. Treatment with antithyroid medications must be given for six months to two years, in order to be effective. The main antithyroid drugs are carbimazole, methimazole, and propylthiouracil. These drugs block the binding of iodine and coupling of iodotyrosines. Antithyroid medications can cause side effects in some people, including
Allergic reactions such as rashes and itching
A decrease in the number of white blood cells in the body, which can lower a person’s resistance to infection
Liver failure, in rare cases
Radioiodine (Radioactive Iodine). It is suitable for most patients, although some prefer to use it mainly for older patients. In radioiodine therapy, patients take radioactive iodine-131 by mouth. Disadvantages of this treatment are a high incidence of hypothyroidism (up to 80%) requiring hormone supplementation
Thyroidectomy (Surgical Excision of the Gland). Operating on a hyperthyroid patient is dangerous. Preceding to Thyroidectomy, preoperative treatment with antithyroid drugs is given. This modality is suitable for young patients and pregnant patients.
An endocrine gland located in the neck of human beings and other vertebrate animals that secretes the hormones responsible for controlling metabolism and growth. Excessive action of the thyroid gland can cause Graves’ Disease, while under activity can cause Myxedema.
The Thyroid Gland influences almost all of the metabolic processes in your body. Thyroid disorders can range from a small, harmless Goiter (Enlarged Gland) that needs no treatment to life-threatening cancer.
The most common thyroid problems involve abnormal production of Thyroid Hormones. Too much thyroid hormone results in a condition known as Hyperthyroidism. Insufficient hormone production leads to Hypothyroidism. Although the effects can be unpleasant or uncomfortable, most Thyroid Problems can be managed well if properly diagnosed and treated.
Types of Thyroid Disease
All types of hyperthyroidism are due to an overproduction of thyroid hormones, but the condition can occur in several ways:
Graves ‘disease: The production of too much thyroid hormone.
Toxic adenomas: Nodules develop in the thyroid gland and begin to secrete thyroid hormones, upsetting the body’s chemical balance; some Goiters may contain several of these nodules.
Subacute thyroiditis: inflammation of the Thyroid causes the gland to “leak” excess hormones, resulting in temporary hyperthyroidism that generally lasts a few weeks but may persist for months.
Pituitary gland malfunctions or cancerous growths in the thyroid gland: Although rare, hyperthyroidism can also develop from these causes.
Hypothyroidism, by contrast, stems from an underproduction of thyroid hormones. Since your body’s energy production requires certain amounts of thyroid hormones, a drop in hormone production leads to lower energy levels. Causes of hypothyroidism include:
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: In this autoimmune disorder, the body attacks thyroid tissue. The tissue eventually dies and stops producing hormones.
Removal of The Thyroid Gland: The thyroid may be surgically removed or chemically destroyed as treatment for hyperthyroidism.
Exposure to excessive amounts of iodide: Cold and sinus medicines, the heart medicine amiodarone, or certain contrast dyes given before some X-rays may expose you to too much iodine. You may be at greater risk for developing hypothyroidism, especially if you have had thyroid problems in the past.
Lithium: This drug has also been linked as a cause of hypothyroidism. Untreated for long periods of time, hypothyroidism can bring on a myxedema coma, a rare but potentially fatal condition that requires immediate hormone injections.
Cancer Of The Thyroid Gland is quite rare and occurs in less than 10% of thyroid nodules. You might have one or more thyroid nodules for several years before they are determined to be cancerous. People who have received radiation treatment to the head and neck earlier in life, possibly as a remedy for acne, tend to have a higher-than-normal propensity for thyroid cancer.
Symptoms of Thyroid Disease
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Infants can include:
Jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes)
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in children include:
Symptoms similar to adult symptoms
Poor school performance
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in adults include:
Easy fatigue, exhaustion
Poor tolerance to cold temperatures
Carpal tunnel syndrome (pain at the wrists and numbness of the hands)
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism in the Elderly may cause:
Worsening of angina (chest pain) in persons with heart disease
Worsening of shortness of breath in persons with heart failure
Thyroid Nodules and Goiter Signs and Symptoms
The only sign of goiter or nodule is an enlargement in the lower part of the front part of the neck. This enlargement is often not painful or bothersome.
When the nodule or goiter becomes large, there can be pressure on the surrounding normal structures in the neck including the esophagus (swallowing tube), trachea (breathing tube) and the blood vessels that bring blood to and from the head.
Diagnosis of Thyroid Disease
Thyroid Diseases Tests
Thyroid Function Tests
Thyroid Scan and Uptake
Ultrasound of the Thyroid Gland
Treatment of Thyroid Disease
Medicines for Hypothyroidism
Radioactive Iodine (I-131)
Thyroid Hormone Treatment
Risk Factors for Thyroid Disease
Some of the key risk factors for thyroid disease include…
Female: Women are at greater risk than men.
Age – being 50 and above poses the highest risk of thyroid disease, though it can strike at any age.
A personal or family history of thyroid and/or autoimmune disease increases risk.
Surgical removal of all or part of the thyroid, or radioactive iodine treatment to the thyroid — both which typically result in an under active thyroid.
Being left-handed, ambidextrous or prematurely gray mean greater risk of autoimmune disease, including thyroid problems
Being pregnant or within the first year after childbirth
Current or former smoker
Recent exposure to iodine via contrast dye or surgical antiseptic
Iodine or herbal supplements containing iodine, in pill or liquid form
Living in an iodine-deficient area
Various medical treatments, including Interferon Beta-1b, Interleukin-4, immuno-suppressants, antiretrovirals, monoclonal antibody (Campath-1H), bone marrow transplant, Lithium, amiodarone (Cordarone), and other medications
Over-consumption of raw goitrogenic foods, i.e., Brussel sprouts, turnips, cauliflower, soy products and others
Over-consumption of soy foods
Recent neck trauma, biopsy, injection or surgery
Radiation exposure, through radiation to neck area, or exposure to nuclear facility or accident, i.e., Chernobyl