What Do You Need to Know About Thyroid Health?

It’s likely that you don’t give much thought to your thyroid in your day-to-day life, but this gland is actually essential to your health and well-being. But what is its function and what do you need to know if something goes wrong? We’ll cover the importance of the thyroid, problems that can arise, treatment options, and natural ways to support your thyroid health in this article.

Why Is Your Thyroid Important?

The endocrine system is a system of glands that produce hormones, and the thyroid is one of them. It’s a butterfly-shaped gland that can be found at the base of the neck just below the larynx. The thyroid produces two hormones, known as triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), that affect your metabolism – but this does so much more than affect your ability to gain or lose weight.

These hormones and your metabolism can affect

            • How you break down what you eat

            • Heart rate

            • Breathing

            • The nervous system

            • Muscle strength

            • Body temperature

            • Cholesterol

            • Menstrual cycles

What Problems Can Arise With Your Thyroid?

Thyroid problems aren’t unheard of – in fact, over 12% of people will experience some trouble with this gland during their life, and it affects more women than men. Some examples of issues with the thyroid include


If your thyroid is underactive, you could suffer from hypothyroidism. This slows down your metabolism and could cause symptoms such as

            • Weight gain

            • Fatigue

            • Depression

            • Dry skin

            • Difficulty concentrating

            • Issues sleeping

            • Sensitive to cold

            • Heavy and/or frequent periods

            • Joint pain

            • Muscle pain


On the other hand, if your thyroid is overactive and producing too much T3 and T4, you could suffer from hyperthyroidism. Symptoms to watch out for are

            • Irritability

            • Anxiety

            • Weight loss

            • Hyperactivity

            • Sensitivity to heat

            • Sweating

            • Hair loss

            • Missed and/or light periods

            • Hand tremors


If your thyroid gland is swollen, this could be evidence of a goiter. Not all goiters produce symptoms, however, but you may also experience

            • A cough

            • Tightness of the throat

            • Trouble breathing

            • Weight gain

            • Sensitivity to heat

            • Fast heart beat

            • Hoarse voice

Growths on the thyroid could also be nodules or cancer, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about thyroid health, especially if it seems swollen or aggravated.

How Are Thyroid Problems Treated?

doctor and patient

Thyroid issues first need to be diagnosed, which can be difficult as symptoms can often appear to be other illnesses. If your doctor suspects a problem with your thyroid, however, or is trying to get to the bottom of your symptoms, they could ask you to complete blood tests, imaging tests, and physical exams.

It’s also important to note that certain illnesses are often the culprit behind hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. They could be caused by

            • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

                        ◦ An autoimmune disorder where the body attacks the thyroid

            • Graves’ disease

                        ◦ An immune disease that causes hyperthyroidism

            • Too much iodine

            • Subacute thyroiditis

                        ◦ Inflammation of the thyroid

            • Cancer

            • Toxic adenomas

                        ◦ Nodules in the gland

            • Pituitary gland malfunctions

                        ◦ The pituitary gland is responsible for telling your thyroid how much T3 and T4 to produce

The treatment required for thyroid issues depends on the cause and symptoms. Your doctor could recommend

            • Anti-thyroid drugs

            • Beta blockers

            • Radioactive iodine

            • Thyroid replacement medication

            • Surgery and replacement hormones

How Can You Naturally Support Thyroid Health?

Thankfully, there are a number of ways you can naturally support your thyroid’s health.

A Better Diet

Thyroid issues can be caused by a poor diet and missing nutrients. A balanced diet is one of the best ways you can work to improve your thyroid (and overall) health and ensure you’re getting enough iodine. It’s also been suggested that you

            • Cut down on sugars and processed foods as they can lead to inflammation

            • Take vitamins and supplements

                        ◦ Vitamins B and D can influence thyroid health in particular

            • Take probiotics or eat probiotic foods


Since movement impacts your metabolism, it can, in turn, impact your thyroid. If you’re suffering from joint pain though from hypothyroidism, you’ll want to participate in low-impact exercises instead. But studies have found that exercise and movement can improve thyroid hormone levels.

Watch Your Stress

Stress has the ability to wreak havoc on our lives and health – and it can absolutely affect your thyroid, especially if you already have an underlying condition. Stress on the gland can also slow your body’s metabolism. From meditation to exercise and mindfulness to deep breathing, there are plenty of ways to get a better control over stress.

The thyroid may be small but it plays a starring role in our body’s health. If you suspect an issue with your thyroid or endocrine system, it’s important to schedule an appointment with a doctor right away. If you’re curious about how we can help you take control of your health, from a natural approach, start here.