Thyroid Problems and Symptoms

Woman With Thyroid Problem

Thyroid Problems

In every cell in your body, thyroid hormone plays a major role in regulating metabolic rate, your body’s rate of energy production. Thyroid problems quite often masquerade as other health problems.

Why the Interest Thyroid Problems


 Feeling ill and fatigued all the time. I had gastrointestinal problems and was always very cold. I had been diagnosed with a low thyroid problem. After the diagnosis, my quality of life improved. This information report is the result of my personal experiences and observations, far removed from the formal education 

Having acquainted yourself with the information contained in this publication, you will be able to intelligently discuss your symptoms with your doctor.

Table of Content
What is thyroid gland?
What is a thyroid disorder?
Types of thyroid disorder
What is Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid function)?
Causes of hypothyroidism
Symptoms and signs of hypothyroidism
Is hypothyroidism hereditary?
The relationship between type 2 diabetes and hypothyroidism
The relationship between hypothyroidism and Obesity
Hypothyroidism testing
Hypothyroidism therapy
How can exercise help combat hypothyroidism?
How can eating right help alleviate hypothyroidism?
Food not recommended for thyroid disorder patient

What is thyroid gland?

Thyroid Gland The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands found in your neck. This gland makes two hormones that are secreted into your blood: triiodothyronine(T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones are important for all the body cells to work normally.

The thyroid is located at the base of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid is made up of the right lobe and left lobe joined by a small bridge of thyroid tissue known as the isthmus. The two lobes are on either side of your wind-pipe.

Functions of the thyroid gland

The thyroid gland releases the hormones that control body metabolism, i.e., the way your body uses the energy. The hormones also regulate important body functions such as:

  • Heart rate
  • Breathing
  • Menstrual cycles
  • Body weight
  • Body temperature
  • Muscle strength
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Central and peripheral nervous systems
  • Much more

Thyroid function test

The thyroid secretes the two hormones it makes into your bloodstream. One of those hormones is called thyroxine (also known as T4); this hormone contains four atoms of iodine. The second is called triiodothyronine (also called T3), and it contains three atoms of iodine. In the tissues and cells of your body, the T4 is converted to T3 because it is the T3 that is biologically active and can influence the activity of tissues and cells of the body.

The T3 secreted by your thyroid gland or converted from T 4 influence the metabolism of the body cells. It means it regulates the speed at which the cells of your body work. If you have hyperthyroidism as a result of too much secretion of the hormones from your thyroid gland, the increased activity of your body organs or cells may lead, for instance, to the quickening of your heart rate. It can also increase the activity of your intestine and cause you to have frequent bowel motions or diarrhea.

Also, if too little thyroid hormones are produced, the organs and cells of your body slow down. This condition is called hypothyroidism. If you become hypothyroid, your heart rate may be slower than normal, and your intestines will start working sluggishly.

What is a thyroid disorder?

Thyroid problems disorder is conditions that affect your thyroid. The thyroid has vital roles to play in regulating numerous metabolic processes in your body. Different types of thyroid problems affect either its function or structure.

Types of thyroid problems

The specific kinds of thyroid problems are:

    • Hyperthyroidism
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Thyroid cancer
    • Thyroid Nodules
    • Goiter
    • Graves Disease


  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

What is Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid function)?

Hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid disease, is a common disorder. If you have hypothyroidism, it means your thyroid gland is not making sufficient hormone. This will affect your heartbeat, how well you burn calories and also affect your body temperature. With hypothyroidism, your body processes slow down, and your metabolism becomes sluggish as a result of less energy your body is producing.

Women, especially those that are older than 60, are prone to hypothyroidism. It can cause some symptoms in its early stage, but over time, untreated hypothyroidism can lead to a number of health issues like obesity, infertility, heart disease, and joint pain.

Causes of hypothyroidism

There are several things that can cause thyroid problems. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).

Other causes include:

Radioactive iodine treatment: Doctors commonly prescribe this treatment to people with an overactive gland (hyperthyroidism). However, the cells in the thyroid gland can be destroyed by radiation, thereby causing hypothyroidism.

Thyroid surgery: Removing thyroid with surgery will lead to hypothyroidism. But if only a part of the thyroid is removed, then the remaining gland can still produce sufficient hormones for the needs of the body.

Use of some medications: Some medicines used to treat cancer, psychiatric conditions and heart problems can sometimes affect thyroid hormone production. These include lithium, interleukin-2, amiodarone (Pacerone, Cordarone) and inferno alpha.

Radiation therapy to the neck: Treating cancers like lymphoma requires radiation to the neck area. Radiation damages thyroid cells and when it does, producing hormones will be difficult for the gland.

Too little iodine in the diet: Your thyroid needs iodine to secrete thyroid hormones. The only way your body can get iodine is through your diet because your body doesn’t produce it. Iodized table salt is very rich in iodine. Other foods that are rich in iodine are saltwater fish, dairy products, seaweed, eggs, and shellfish.

Problems with the thyroid at birth: During birth, the thyroid of some babies may not develop correctly or work properly. We call this type of hypothyroidism congenital hypothyroidism.

Pregnancy: Even though the reason is not clear, inflammation sometimes occurs after pregnancy. This is called postpartum thyroiditis. Any woman with this problem usually experiences a severe increase in thyroid hormone levels, which are generally followed by a reduction in thyroid hormone secretion. Most women with this issue will regain their normal thyroid function.

Disorder of the hypothalamus: A rare form of hypothyroidism can occur if the hypothalamus in your brain doesn’t secrete enough of the hormone known as TRH. TRH affects the release of TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) from your pituitary gland.

Pituitary gland disorder or damage: A problem with pituitary gland can rarely interfere with thyroid hormone production. The pituitary gland makes a certain hormone known as TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), which informs your thyroid about how much hormone it should secrete and release.

Hypothyroidism is mainly caused by an issue with the thyroid gland.

Secondary hypothyroidism occurs as a result of another issue of interference with the ability of thyroid to produce hormones. For instance, hypothalamus or pituitary gland produces hormones that trigger thyroid hormone release. If there is a problem with a n y of these glands, the thyroid can become underactive.

Symptoms and signs of thyroid problem

Thyroid Symptoms

Hypothyroidism symptoms can often mimic other conditions and may also be vague. Its symptoms include:


  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Greater sensitivity to cold (feeling cold when others are not)
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle, infertility, and low sex drive
  • Dry hair and hair loss
  • Depression
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome, joint pain, muscle pain, or tendonitis
  • Surprising weight gain and difficulty losing weight
  • Goiter, hoarse voice or snoring
  • Slow heart rate

A baby can have thyroid problems

  • You may not see any symptom of hypothyroidism in babies that have it, but if symptoms occur, they may include:
  • Constipation
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Low muscle tone
  • Little or no growth
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Poor feeding habit
  • Whites of the eyes and yellowing of the skin (persistent jaundice)
  • Hoarse cry
  • Swollen tongue
  • Stomach Bloating
  • Puffy face

Is hypothyroidism hereditary?

Yes, hypothyroidism is genetic. If you ever have a family member with hypothyroidism, there is an increased chance that you will a l so have it. However, it could mean that you’ll develop a different thyroid problem, which is not the same as your family members.

Relationship between type 2 diabetes and hypothyroidism

According to a new study, having too little hormone in your blood raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In his presentation, Layal Chaker, MD of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherland said, “Low thyroid function is associated with higher risk of developing diabetes, but also the progression from prediabetes to diabetes and this is even with the proper range of thyroid function. “Low thyroid function as represented by higher TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) is with a 1.2-fold increased risk of diabetes and a 1.4-fold increased risk for progression from prediabetes.”

It has been proven in internal medicine that there is an association between diabetes mellitus and thyroid disorder. So it is necessary to diagnose thyroid function in T2DM patients.

Relationship between hypothyroidism and Obesity

Hypothyroidism causes patients to gain weight and makes it difficult to lose weight because the hormones produced by the thyroid gland helps regulate metabolism. The thyroid secretes triiodothyronine and thyroxine, which helps the body to determine how fast it should metabolize carbohydrates and fat. So if the hormone produced is not sufficient, the patient begins to gain weight.

Heart disease and diabetes, two diseases that are commonly associated with obesity are also associated with hypothyroidism. Even though most of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are not life-threatening, the combination of hypothyroidism and obesity can be life-threatening. According to research, women with hypothyroidism are more likely to have blockages in their aorta and suffer from heart attacks.

Hypothyroidism testing

A thorough physical exam and medical history are the first steps in diagnosing mild (subclinical) hypothyroidism or hypothyroidism. If based on the result, your doctor suspects you have subclinical hypothyroidism or hypothyroidism; he will have to recommend you for a test to confirm the diagnosis.

Doctors always recommend a blood test to confirm a diagnosis of mild hypothyroidism or hypothyroidism. The tests mostly used are:

  • Thyroxine (T4) measurement
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test

If the two tests above are not normal, antithyroid antibody tests may determine whether you have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or not.

Hypothyroidism is more prevalent in older women, so most doctors recommend that old women be tested for the disorder during an annual physical examination. 

Hypothyroidism therapy

You can easily use thyroid hormone medicine to treat hypothyroidism. The most reliable and effective thyroid replacement hormone is human-made synthetic. You will have to regularly visit your doctor when you start the treatment, to ensure you have the right dose of medicine.

In many cases, hypothyroidism symptoms begin to improve within the first week after starting the treatment. Usually, all symptoms disappear within a few months. Children and infants with hypothyroidism should be treated. It may take older people with poor health longer time to respond to treatment.

How can exercise help combat hypothyroidism?

Most thyroid problems need medication and exercise can complement the treatment. Exercise can offer a natural antidote to the symptoms (e.g., muscle loss, weight gain, low energy levels, and depression) of hypothyroidism. Exercise raises the metabolism and increases lean muscle mass, helping you to burn more calories. Regular exercise also boosts your energy levels and mood. Hypothyroidism may cause low energy levels and sleeplessness, both of which can easily be lessened with regular exercise.

Moderately intense cardiovascular 30 minutes workout a day, five days in a week is recommended for adults. But before you begin any exercise, make sure you consult your doctor because your condition may require less exercise or more exercise and intensity.

Warning: exercise can help you alleviate the symptoms of thyroid problems, but it’s not a substitute for medical treatment. If you suspect any symptoms of hypothyroidism, consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. If you experience fatigue or lasting pain while working out, stop immediately and go to your doctor.

Here’s what to eat (and why) to improve your thyroid function:

The first thing you need to do is get off all those processed junk food, gluten, and sugar and start eating right. Here is what you can eat to combat thyroid problems.

  • Iodine rich food:  iodized salt, sushi, Nori Rolls, saltwater fish, seaweeds and seafood and Celtic sea salt
  • Eat sea vegetable two times a week
  • Cook your kale
  • Seaweed
  • Yogurt
  • Fish
  • ShellfishSalmon is Beneficial for Thyroid Problems
  • Eggs
  • Don’t be afraid of butter
  • Slow down your eating: Don’t rush when you are eating.
  • Vegetables and antioxidant-rich fruits, eg., bell peppers, tomatoes, blueberries, whole grains and other foods rich in antioxidants.
  • Selenium, eg., Brazil nuts, and sunflower seeds
  • Food is rich in tyrosine, eg., meats, legumes, and dairy. You can also take supplements, but ask your doctor first.


Food not recommended for thyroid disorder patient

Most common foods contain compounds that interfere with thyroid function. Hypothyroidism can be a tricky condition to manage, and what you eat can interfere with your treatment. Some nutrients heavily influence the function of the thyroid gland, and certain foods can inhibit your body’s ability to absorb the replacement hormones you may take as part of your thyroid treatment.

What not to eat when you have hypothyroidism.

  • Soy: According to a study, phytoestrogens in soybeans and foods rich in soy may inhibit the activity of the enzyme that produces thyroid hormones.
  • Calcium and iron supplements: calcium and supplements can change the effectiveness of most thyroid medications.
  • Certain vegetables: Vegetables rich in fiber, like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach and broccoli
  • Cassava
  • Peanuts
  • Turnips
  • Linseed
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mustard
  • Mustard Greens
  • Coffee
  • Peaches
  • Rutabagas
  • Millet
  • Cauliflower
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Tempeh
  • Garden Kres
  • Bok Choy
  • Canola Oil
  • Sweet potato
  • Foods with gluten
  • Horseradish
  • Processed foods
  • Fast food


Leading an overall healthy lifestyle—one that includes eating well and exercising—can help you manage hypothyroidism.

People with hypothyroidism condition need treatment. Depending on the cause of hypothyroidism, patients may need treatment for the rest of their lives. Follow up with your doctor to make sure your medication is right. All thyroid diseases can be treated, resulting in normal thyroid function. 

To your Health

Erika Penney
Erika Penney





Disclaimer: The information contained in this publication is for awareness purposes only.  I am happy to share my experiences and the results of the study with the hope that some people will find it helpful.  I am not a doctor and nothing written here should be taken as professional medical advice.  Always get medical advice from your doctor.

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