The thyroid is a “butterfly-shaped” gland that can be found in your neck and is responsible for producing hormones needed for certain brain activities and healthy metabolism. About 9% of Filipinos have some form of thyroid disease and is more common in adult women. According to the American Thyroid Association thyroid diseases affect an estimated 20 million Americans and up to 20% of those with an existing condition are unaware of their condition. Some studies conducted in the Philippines concluded that 8.53% of Filipinos had some form of thyroid function abnormality. A majority of the participants in the study who tested positive for thyroid disease were mostly females aged 48 and up. It’s also important to note that goiter was also found to be prevalent in Filipinos who had existing thyroid dysfunction.
What does your thyroid do?
The thyroid is a “butterfly-shaped” gland that can be found in your neck and is responsible for producing hormones needed for certain brain activities and healthy metabolism. Your thyroid is also in charge of regulating your heartbeat and body temperature. An unhealthy thyroid can have a huge impact on other major body functions if left untreated.
Symptoms of an unhealthy thyroid
Initial signs of an abnormal thyroid may include sudden mood changes like consistently feeling tired despite having a full night’s rest. The same goes for abrupt feelings of anxiety which may indicate that your thyroid is producing too much thyroid hormone. Other symptoms may include:
- Changes in bowel movement
- Excessive hair loss
- Sudden weight gain
- Irregular periods
- Mental fatigue
What causes thyroid disease?
There are two major types of thyroid disease: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. refer to the table below for common symptoms:
|• Always feeling fatigued||• Experiencing tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)|
|• Suffering from constipation||• Heightened feelings of anxiety|
|• Muscle weakness||• Excessive sweating|
|• Affected menstrual cycle (too light/too heavy)||• Trembling hands|
|• Slow heart rate||• Sudden loss of weight|
|• Feelings of depression||• Enlarged thyroid glands aka goiter|
|• Slow brain function||• Insomnia|
|• Hair loss|
Hypothyroidism can be caused by an existing medical condition like thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, iodine deficiency, and postpartum thyroiditis. Meanwhile, hyperthyroidism can also be the result of other illnesses like Grave’s disease, thyroiditis, excessive iodine intake, and overactive nodules within the thyroid. Recommended diet If you are suffering from hypothyroidism, then it is probably because you lack iodine in your diet which is essential for the production of thyroid hormones. Fortify your diet by adding a mix of foods rich in iodine like seafood and seaweed. On the other hand, those with hyperthyroidism should eat more cruciferous foods like broccoli, kale, and cauliflower which help decrease the production of thyroid hormones.