Christina was 26 years old when she suddenly felt the strongest breakdown. The morning ascent demanded inhuman efforts and was accompanied by a gloomy mood. Formerly always active, she gained more than two kilograms in two weeks, although she followed the diet. Moreover, despite the warm weather, it began to freeze and wrap in woolen things. She turned to the therapist, who advised to conduct a series of tests. The great problems of Christina, the doctor said, arose from the fault of the small organ - the thyroid gland located at the base of her neck.
Why do I need a thyroid?The thyroid gland has the form of a butterfly. It consists of two lobes, connected by an isthmus, and is located in front of the trachea, covering it from the front from the sides. The main function is to provide a person with thyroid hormones, which are necessary for the normal operation of almost all organs and systems: substances stimulate the brain and intestines, regulate the menstrual cycle, ensure the health of the skin, nails and hair, and regulate energy production. The probability of developing thyroid problems in women is 12 times higher than that of men. Perhaps this is due to the fact that we are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases (such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis).
Thyroid dysfunction is often due to genetics, but also environmental factors - in particular, ionizing radiation and radionuclides. According to recent studies, the risk of hitting a small but important organ also increases the substance used in the manufacture of non-stick cookware and water-repellent coatings for carpets and sofas. All disorders are divided into two types - a decrease in thyroid function (hypothyroidism) and an increase in the production of hormones (hyperthyroidism) - and may be temporary or permanent.
How to recognize hormonal failureHypo-and hyperthyroidism are characterized by opposite symptoms. Most often, the picture of a decrease in thyroid function corresponds to what happened to Christina. However, in many cases, the signs of hypothyroidism are less pronounced and develop gradually. There may be an increase in body weight, but this symptom alone is not enough to suspect hypothyroidism. Specialists first of all pay attention to dry skin, hair loss, forgetfulness, fatigue, frequent chills, constipation and irregular menstruation. An alarming call should also be a feeling of fatigue when doing work that previously did not cause difficulties.
Hyperthyroidism - excessive activity of the thyroid gland (most often - Graves' disease, diffuse toxic goiter) - is much easier to recognize. Increased hormone production leads to rapid weight loss, increased heart rate, insomnia and diarrhea attacks. Patients experience constant excitement, heat and tremor, as though they were injected intravenously with a horse's serving of espresso. Just as with hypothyroidism, symptoms may eventually grow and become more pronounced. Both these conditions require treatment, which after an appropriate examination will appoint an endocrinologist. There are three methods - medication (taking drugs that suppress excess hormonal secretion), surgical and radioactive iodine therapy.
Protect the thyroid itself!The best way to protect yourself is to identify the problem as early as possible. If you have a suspicion, ask the doctor to prescribe an easy-to-perform blood test for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). But - attention! - only if you really have good reason for that. Often patients, especially girls, begin to call the doctors to request analysis, despite the absence of symptoms - just like that, just in case. The problem is that many women have TTG in the border zone and, although they have no signs of illness, doctors prescribe unnecessary drugs that can lead to hyperthyroidism.
We have little influence on genetic or autoimmune risk factors, but we can protect our gland by using enough iodine. Doctors recommend taking 150 mcg every day (during pregnancy and lactation - 200 mcg) and quitting smoking: substances contained in cigarettes increase the risk of developing a disease of the base. Assistants in the protection of the thyroid gland should be not only multivitamins and iodized salt, but also conventional products. For example, 100 grams of boiled shrimps contain 110 μg of iodine, 100 g of salmon - 200 μg, in the same amount of broccoli - only 15, and in the cod liver - as much as 370 μg. Still rich in iodine feijoa, sea kale and persimmon. And we hope you do not need to say that the excess of this great trace element in the body will not lead to anything good either.
We thank Olga Yatsishin, MD, doctor-endocrinologist of the European Medical Center, for help in preparing the material.