The Thyroid is the Body’s Gas Pedal
The thyroid gland is the body’s accelerator. It controls the speed of your internal body functions, known as your metabolism, by secreting hormones which speed things up. When your body needs to slow down, the thyroid decreases the production of these hormones. Another gland in the brain, the pituitary gland, keeps tabs on the thyroid and secretes its own stimulator to motivate production when levels are low. Disorders and diseases mainly affect the amounts of hormones produced in two ways: too much or too little. The result is a metabolism that is too fast or too slow.
Too Much Means Too Fast
When your thyroid is producing too much of its hormones, you have a condition known as hyperthyroidism. The easiest way to remember symptoms associated with the condition is the word, “hyper.” Metabolism is abnormally fast, and you will probably feel restless, agitated, and anxious. You will have trouble sleeping and may lie awake with your mind racing, regardless of how tired you are. You may shake. Your heart will race, and you may feel hot even though your AC is set to turn your house into a deep freeze. You also use the bathroom more frequently and will lose weight although you can’t stop eating. Your endocrinologist will probably perform tests to rule out Grave’s Disease and examine your neck for lumps and bumps known as adenomas or nodules. You may also experience neck swelling referred to as a goiter. It is very important to see your doctor as a potential crisis may occur that can threaten your life known as thyroid storm.
Too Little Means Too Slow
Hypothyroidism is the exact opposite. It results from an under-producing thyroid. It is easier to remember, “hypo rhymes with low and metabolism is slow,” when describing the symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms of an underactive thyroid, you will feel tired, you will have no energy, and may even be sad. Mood swings are common. The fact that you are gaining weight regardless of how little you eat, make them even worse. You will feel cold a lot, and everyone may wonder why you are wearing a sweater in July. Everything seems to slow down, even your bowel habits. You may forget things and feel weak. Your endocrinologist will perform tests to rule out causes such as Hashimoto’s Disease or thyroid tumors.
Pedro I. Toya of Bay Area Endocrinologist Associates offers comprehensive services to treat thyroid disorders. He does all his laboratory testing and diagnostics on site offering a one-stop center. In addition, services for advanced metabolic conditions, diabetes, and weight management are available.