Thyroid Health

Did you know there are about 13 million Americans who have thyroid disorder and don't know it?  That might explain why some people eat healthy, exercise regularly, but can not seem to loose weight, while others eat whatever they want, don't exercise and can not gain a pound.

The thyroid is a gland at the front of your neck and just below the voice box.  It's function is to produce a hormone that regulates the rate the body uses energy and burns calories.  An under or over active thyroid can, among other problems, lead to heart disease and a chance of birth defects in pregnancy.

Here are some symptoms that might help you recognize if you have a thyroid that might not be functioning correctly. Hypothyroidism (too little hormone) you will feel fatigue, heavy periods, weight gain, constant coldness, and constipation.  The opposite, hyperthyroidism, (too much hormone) will show the reverse symptoms which are, anxiousness, lighter periods, weight loss, and frequent bowel movements.

So, what steps can we take to insure thyroid health?  First of all, if you feel like these symptoms might pertain to you, see your doctor for an easy blood test.  If your family history includes type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis you may be at a higher risk.  Be sure to get enough iodine in your diet, as that is the mineral that is the building block of thyroid hormones.  Iodine is found in iodized salt, seaweed, and milk.  If you don't consume these foods, there are also supplements.  Breast-feeding women should take a daily supplement with 150 mcg of potassium iodine.

Stress may also be a factor in thyroid health.  It is important to find a way to deal with every day stress, whether it be a visit to a fitness center, meditation, or even just venting to a friend.