What Is The Thyroid Gland?

thyroid gland location

Thyroid Gland

Every cell in the human body uses energy to function. Much of the energy used by the body’s cells comes from the food we eat. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located at the base of the neck that releases hormones commonly referred to as “thyroid hormones”.  These thyroid hormones are also known as “T3” and “T4”. Thyroid hormones control metabolism, or how effective the body’s cells are at using the energy released from food to power themselves when they carry out their functions. People with “high metabolism” are able to use more of the energy released from the food that they’ve eaten to power their organs. People with “low metabolism” are able to use less of the energy released from the food that they’ve eaten to power their organs.

What Is Thyroid Disease?

Thyroid Disease refers to a group of conditions that can affect the thyroid gland. These conditions will either result in the thyroid gland producing too much T3 and T4 or too T3 and T4. Because thyroid hormones control how much of the body’s available energy cells can actually use to power themselves; the production of too much or too little thyroid hormone(s) can profoundly affect how well the body’s cells and organs function. If too much energy is made available to the body’s cells, they my function too much, becoming over active. If too little energy is made available to the body’s cells, they may function too little, becoming underactive. The most commonly diagnosed thyroid diseases include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Grave’s Disease, Hashimoto’s Disease and Thyroiditis.

Hypothyroidism

thyroid disease fuel gauge

Hypothyroidism starves the body’s cells of fuel.

Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland is not making enough of the T3 and T4 thyroid hormone(s). Because the body’s cells rely on thyroid hormone(s) to help them to utilize energy, when too little thyroid hormone(s) have been produced, the body’s cells run low on energy. Much like a car would struggle to function optimally if it did not have enough gas available to it, the body’s cells struggle to function optimally when they do not have enough energy available to them.

Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Fatigue
    thyroid disease hypothyroidism symptoms

    Possible Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

  • Persistently feeling cold
  • Persistent constipation
  • Having dry skin
  • Unexpected weight gain
  • Facial swelling/puffiness
  • Memory loss
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Difficulty becoming pregnant
  • Unexplained joint swelling or stiffness
  • Persistent muscle aches

Common causes of hypothyroidism include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus.
  • Use of certain medications like Lithium to treat bipolar disorder, Amiodarone to treat an irregular heart beat and Interferon Alfa to treat Hepatitis C.
  • Radiation therapy involving the head and neck.
  • Treatment of hyperthyroidism
  • Iodine deficiency
  • Congenital disease (i.e. birth defects)
  • Disorders of the pituitary gland
  • Viral and bacterial infections

Why Is Hypothyroidism Dangerous?

Every cell in the body relies on the T3 and T4 thyroid hormone(s) to function properly. Thyroid hormone(s) help the body’s cells to utilize the energy that they need to carry out their functions. When levels of thyroid hormone(s) are low, the body’s cells are not able to optimally utilize energy. Without being able to optimally utilize energy, the body’s cells run low on energy and then are not able to function optimally. Sub-optimally functioning cells and organs can of course mean different things for different parts of the body.

thyroid disease slow brain

Hypothyroidism can cause a sub-optimally functioning “slow” brain.

If brain cells are not able to optimally utilize energy for example, the brain is not able to function optimally. This can result in brain related issues like depression and memory loss occurring. If on the other hand cells in the intestines are not able to optimally utilize energy, then the intestines are not able to function optimally. This can result in GI related issues like constipation. Because all cells in the body rely on thyroid hormone(s) to help them to utilize energy, hypothyroidism can lead to dysfunction of all of the body’s cells and organs. This is what makes hypothyroidism potentially quite dangerous.

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism results when the thyroid gland is making too much of the T3 and T4 thyroid hormones. Because the body’s cells rely on these thyroid hormones to help them to utilize energy, when too much thyroid hormone(s) has been produced, the body’s cells can become “overloaded” with energy. Once overloaded with energy, the body’s cells and organs may function too aggressively, becoming dangerously overly active.

Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

thyroid disease hyperthyroidism symptoms

  • Experiencing mood swings
  • Feeling nervous, anxious or irritable
  • Persistently feeling warm
  • Persistent diarrhea or increased frequency of having bowel movements
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Persistent palpitations/racing heart
  • Difficulty sleeping/insomnia
  • Frequent menses/changes in the menstrual cycle
  • Feeling persistently energetic
  • An enlarged thyroid (goiter) that makes the base of the neck look full.
  • Tremors/shaky hands and fingers
  • Thinning skin

Common causes of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Graves’ Disease (the most common cause of Hyperthyroidism)
  • Benign tumors of the thyroid gland
  • Toxic multinodular goiter (TMNG)
  • Thyroiditis
  • An abnormally functioning pituitary gland

Why Is Hyperthyroidism Dangerous?

When the thyroid gland is making too much thyroid hormone(s), the body’s cells and organs become overloaded with energy. Overloaded with energy, the body’s cells and organs then “speed up”, functioning at a higher pace. This higher pace can for example cause the heart to “speed up”, leading potentially to an irregular heart beat or even to a heart attack. This higher pace can also cause the activity of the brain cells (neurons) to “speed up”, leading potentially to anxiety, mood disturbances and even seizures. Because all cells and all organs in the body rely upon the T3 and T4 thyroid hormone(s) to help them to utilize energy, an overactive thyroid gland can result in every one of the body’s cells and organs functioning at a higher than normal pace. This higher than normal pace can compromise everyone of the body’s vital functions. This is what makes hyperthyroidism potentially quite dangerous.

Grave’s Disease

Grave’s Disease results when a person’s immune system mistakenly makes a protein that functions like Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). Normally, the thyroid gland releases the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 when the pituitary gland in the brain secretes TSH. The job of TSH is basically to tell the thyroid gland that it is time for it to make and release more T3 and T4 so that the body’s cells and organs can utilize the energy that they need to function properly. In Grave’s Disease however, the immune system makes a protein that the thyroid gland thinks is TSH. This confusion causes a form of hyperthyroidism as the thyroid gland starts making too much T3 and T4.

thyroid disease exophthalmos

Exophthalmos (bulging eyes) seen in Graves Disease.

Common Symptoms of Grave’s Disease include the common symptoms of hyperthyroidism listed above along with two additional symptoms that are unique to Grave’s Disease. These unique symptoms include:

 

  • Exophthalmos (bulging of the eyes)
  • Reddening and thickening of the skin on the shins and the tops of the feet.

 

Why Is Grave’s Disease Dangerous?

Grave’s Disease is dangerous because it is a form of hyperthyroidism. The potential dangers of hyperthyroidism have been listed above in the “Why Is Hyperthyroidism Dangerous” section.

Hashimoto’s Disease

The primary job of the immune system is to protect the body against both foreign invaders (i.e. viruses, bacteria, fungi, etc.) and unhealthy cells like precancerous and cancerous cells. When an autoimmune condition occurs however, the immune system becomes “confused”. In this confusion, the immune system believes that parts of its own body are foreign invaders. This results in the immune system attacking the part(s) of the body that it thinks is a foreign invader. Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune disease that results when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. This attack on the thyroid gland eventually destroys it, leaving it largely non-functional. When the thyroid gland has been destroyed it no longer produces the T3 and T4 thyroid hormones. This effectively means that someone with Hashimoto’s Disease has a form of hypothyroidism.

thyroid disease goiter

Goiter

Common symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease include the common symptoms of hypothyroidism listed above. Additionally, Hashimoto’s Disease can present with the formation of a goiter. A goiter is an enlarged, inflamed thyroid gland.

Why Is Hashimoto’s Disease Dangerous?

Hashimoto’s Disease is dangerous because it is a form of hypothyroidism. The potential dangers of hypothyroidism have been listed in the “Why Is Hypothyroidism Dangerous” section above.

Thyroiditis

Thyroiditis results from an inflammation of the thyroid gland. Thyroiditis typically occurs in phases with the first phase of the disease being called the “thyrotoxic phase”. During this initial “thyrotoxic phase” of thyroiditis, the thyroid gland produces too much of the T3 and T4 thyroid hormones. This in effect causes someone with thyroiditis to initially have hyperthyroidism. This hyperthyroid thyrotoxic phase of thyroiditis typically lasts anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Eventually, the initial inflammation of the thyroid gland then causes the gland to release all of it’s thyroid hormones. Once all of the thyroid hormones have been exhausted, the thyroid gland has no more T3 and T4 to release. Burned out, the thyroid gland then enters the second phase of thyroiditis. This phase is called the “hypothyroid phase” because the thyroid gland has no more thyroid hormone(s) to release. During the hypothyroid phase of thyroiditis, a patient effectively has hypothyroidism.

Depending upon the cause of thyroiditis, the hypothyroid phase of the disease may or may not be permanent. If the hypothyroid phase of thyroiditis is not permanent however, then a third phase of thyroiditis called the “euthyroid phase” occurs. During the euthyroid phase of thyroiditis, the thyroid gland recovers from the damage caused by the inflammation. With recovery, the previously burned out thyroid gland recovers it’s normal function.

The common symptoms of thyroiditis initially include the common symptoms of hyperthyroidism. As the disease progresses, the common symptoms of thyroiditis later include the common symptoms of hypothyroidism. See the common symptoms of both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism listed above.

Common causes of thyroiditis include:

  • Bacterial and/or viral infections
  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (see above)
  • Pregnancy/Childbirth
  • Radiation exposure
  • Autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland

Why Is Thyroiditis Dangerous?

Thyroiditis is dangerous because the disease is characterized by periods of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. The potential dangers of both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism have been listed above in the “Why Is Hyperthyroidism Dangerous” and in the “Why Is Hypothyroidism Dangerous” sections.

How Is Thyroid Disease Diagnosed?

There are a number of different ways to diagnose thyroid disease. They include:

  • thyroid disease thyroid examFeeling the Thyroid Gland: Frequently, the first steps taken in diagnosing thyroid disease will involve a Doctor “palpating” or feeling a patient’s thyroid gland. Many times when thyroid disease is present, the thyroid gland will feel larger than normal, smaller than normal, it will have multiple masses called nodules that can be felt across the skin or it will be excessively tender when touched.
  • Listening to the Thyroid Gland: Many times when thyroid disease is present there is also more blood flow than normal to the gland. This increased flow of blood to the thyroid gland can be heard with a stethoscope.
  • Checking Vital Signs: Often times when thyroid disease is present, vital signs like heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature can all be affected.
  • Checking Body Weight: Thyroid disease is frequently associated with rapid weight changes. Hyperthyroidism is often associated with weight loss while hypothyroidism is often associated with weight gain.
  • Examining the Head and Neck: The neck will frequently look fuller when thyroid disease is present. Additionally, the eyes may bulge when thyroid disease is present and the hair may significantly thin.
  • Examining the Skin and Nails: When thyroid disease is present, the skin frequently becomes excessively dry (hypothroidism) or it becomes unusually smooth (hyperthyroidism). Additionally, the nails frequently become brittle when thyroid disease is present.
  • Checking the Reflexes: Many times when thyroid disease is present, a person’s reflexes will either become very sluggish or they will become very brisk.
  • Doing Blood Tests: There are a number of different blood tests that can be done to help in diagnosing thyroid disease.
  1. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) Test: TSH is a hormone that the pituitary gland in the brain produces to signal the thyroid

    TSH for the pituitary gland in the brain tells the thyroid gland to make more T3 and T4.

    gland to make thyroid hormone(s). If the thyroid gland is making too much thyroid hormone (i.e. in Hyperthyroidism, Grave’s Disease, the first stage of Thyroiditis, etc.), then the TSH level will be abnormally low. This is because there is already too much of the T3 and T4 thyroid hormones in the circulation and the pituitary gland does not want to signal the thyroid gland to produce and release anymore. If on the other hand the thyroid gland is making too little thyroid hormone (i.e. Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, the second stage of Thyroiditis, etc.), then the TSH level will be abnormally high. This is because there is not enough of the T3 and T4 thyroid hormones in the circulation and the pituitary gland wants to signal the thyroid gland to produce and release more.

  2. Free T4 (Thyroxine)/Total T4: The thyroid gland produces two primary “thyroid hormones”. They are T3 (Triiodothyronine) and T4 (Thyroxine).  T4 and T3 help the body’s cells and organs  to utilize the energy released from food so that they have enough energy to function. When the thyroid gland is over-active (i.e. in Hyperthyroidism, Grave’s Disease, the first stage of Thyroiditis, etc.) blood levels of T4 will be too high. Conversely, when the thyroid gland is under-active (i.e. in Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, the second stage of Thyroiditis, etc.), blood levels of T4 will be too low.
  3. Free T3 (Triiodothyronine)/Total T3: While both T4 and T3 help the body’s cells and organs to utilize the energy released from food to function, T3 is four times better than T4 at doing this. When the thyroid gland is over-active (i.e. in Hyperthyroidism, Grave’s Disease, the first stage of Thyroiditis, etc.) blood levels of T3 will be too high. Conversely, when the thyroid gland is under-active (i.e. in Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, the second stage of Thyroiditis, etc.) blood levels of T3 will be too low.
  4. Thyroglobulin/Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG): Much of the T4 and T3 circulating in the blood stream does not circulate as “Free T4” or “Free T3”. Instead, it circulates attached to a “carrier protein” called TBG. So, when TBG levels are higher than normal, more T4 and T3 is grabbed by and bound to TBG. This can make the amounts of Free (i.e. unbound) T4 and T3 in the blood lower than normal, even though the thyroid gland maybe producing the proper amounts of the T4 and T3 hormones. Conversely, when TBG levels are lower than normal, less T4 and T3 will be bound by TBG. This will result in higher than normal Free T4 and Free T3 levels. So, anytime before hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism is diagnosed based on lower than normal or higher than normal Free T4 and Free T3 levels, the amount of TBG in the blood is also assessed. That way, it can be confirmed that lower or higher than normal levels of Free T4 and/or Free T3 are truly the result of the thyroid gland making too little or too much of the hormones; and not the result of too much or too little TBG binding too much or too little of the T4 and T3 hormones.
  5. Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb)/Antithyroid Peroxidase Antibodies: The cells of the thyroid gland contain an enzyme protein called Thyroid Peroxidase. When the body’s immune system becomes confused and attacks it’s own thyroid gland, it frequently will attack the thyroid gland using antibody proteins called “Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies” that target this thyroid enzyme. So, the presence of these abnormal antibody proteins in the blood indicates that a person’s thyroid disease is the result of an autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or Grave’s Disease.
  6. Thyroid Receptor Antibodies (TRAbs): Like Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies, the presences of Thyroid Receptor Antibodies in the blood can indicate that a person’s thyroid disease is the result of an autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or Grave’s Disease. There are different types of TRAbs, and determining the type of TRAb present can further help to distinguish between Grave’s Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
  7. Thyroid-Stimulating Immunoglobulins (TSI): Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulins are another type of antibody proteins that the body’s immune system can produce when autoimmune conditions like Grave’s Disease are present.
  • Thyroid Imaging Test: When thyroid disease is suspected, a number of different imaging tests can be done to further evaluate the appearance of the thyroid gland.
  1. Nuclear Scan/Radioactive Iodine Uptake (RAI-U): The thyroid gland makes the T3 and T4 hormones using Iodine. The RAI-U test is an imaging test that allows Doctors to see how much Iodine the thyroid gland is absorbing.
    thyroid disease thyroid nuclear scan

    Normal thyroid nuclear scan (left) and abnormal (hyperthyroid) thyroid nuclear scan (right).

    Over-active thyroids (i.e. Hyperthyroidism, Grave’s Disease, the first phase of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, etc.) are making too much T3 and T4. They therefore will absorb more than normal amounts of the Iodine needed to make T3 and T4. Conversely, when the thyroid is under-active (i.e. Hypothyroidism, the second stage of Hashimoto’s Disease, etc.) it is making too little T3 and T4. The thyroid will therefore absorb less than normal amounts of the Iodine that it needs to make T3 and T4. RAI-U thyroid scans can also be used to evaluate the size of the thyroid gland. In many thyroid diseases, the thyroid gland is either larger than normal or smaller then normal.

  2. Thyroid CT Scan: A CT Scan of the thyroid gland provides excellent views of the gland. These views can reveal nodules, masses and the overall size of the thyroid. A number of different thyroid diseases can present with abnormalities in the size of the thyroid. Many thyroid diseases may also present with larger masses or smaller nodules of the gland.
  3. Thyroid MRI/Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Like a CT Scan, an MRI of the thyroid gland can help to evaluate the size and the shape of the thyroid gland. It can also be used to detect the presence of smaller nodules and/or larger masses.
  4. Thyroid Ultrasound. Like CT Scans and MRI’s of the thyroid gland, ultrasounds of the thyroid gland can also evaluate the overall size of the thyroid gland. Ultrasound of the thyroid can also help to detect whether or not smaller nodules and larger masses are present in the thyroid gland.  Ultrasound of the thyroid can also help to determine whether or not thyroid nodules or masses are fluid-filled cysts or actual solid tumors.
    thyroid disease thyroid biopsy

    Fine Needle Thyroid Biopsy

  5. Thyroid Biopsy/Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA): When thyroid imaging tests like a Nuclear Scan, a CT scan, an MRI or an ultrasound of the thyroid reveal findings suspicious for cancer, a biopsy of the thyroid gland will be carried out. A biopsy can help to make a definitive diagnosis of cancer. Thyroid biopsies are carried out using very fine needles, hence the term “Fine Needle Aspiration”.

How Is Thyroid Disease Treated?

Thyroid disease is typically treated using either a variety of different medications or surgery. The treatment approach(es) taken ultimately depend upon the thyroid disease(s) present.

How Is Hypothyroidism Treated?

Because hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone(s), the primary treatment of hypothyroidism involves taking synthetic forms of the T4 thyroid hormone. The most commonly prescribed synthetic forms of the T4 hormone include Synthroid and Levothroid. Once prescribed, the doses of Synthroid and Levothroid will likely be adjusted until the amount of T4 hormone in the blood is sufficient.

How Is Hyperthyroidism Treated?

Hyperthyroidism can be treated using medications and surgery. The treatment approach taken ultimately can depend upon a number of different factors.

  • Radioactive Iodine: The T3 and T4 thyroid hormones are made using Iodine. Because the thyroid gland is making too much T3 and T4 in patients with hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland is needing more Iodine than normal to make more T3 and T4 than normal. It therefore absorbs more iodine than normal from the blood. Hyperthyroidism can therefore be treated sometimes by using a radioactive form of Iodine taken in pill form. When this radioactive Iodine is absorbed from the bloodstream by the thyroid gland, it has the effect of destroying overactive thyroid tissue. Used since the 1950’s as a treatment for hyperthyroidism, radioactive Iodine has been shown to be generally safe.
  • Anti-Thyroid Medications: Anti-Thyroid Medications prevent the over active thyroid gland seen in hyperthyroidism from making excessive amounts of the T3 and T4 thyroid hormones. The most commonly prescribed anti-thyroid medications are Propylthiouracil (PTU) and Methimazole (a.k.a Tapazole).
    thyroid surgery thyroid disease

    Thyroid Surgery

  • Thyroidectomy: Some people with hyperthyroidism, including those who are pregnant, maybe unwilling and/or unable to take radioactive Iodine or anti-thyroid medications like PTU and Tapazole. For these people, surgical removal of part (i.e. Partial Thyroidectomy) or all (i.e. Complete Thyroidectomy) of the over-active thyroid gland might be an option. Additionally, people with hyperthyroidism resulting from a thyroid cancer as well as those people whose hyperthyroidism is associated with a Goiter (severely enlarged thyroid gland) may benefit from having their thyroid gland removed.

How Is Grave’s Disease Treated?

Grave’s Disease is a form of hyperthyroidism. Therefore, the treatment approaches to Grave’s Disease include many of the same treatment approaches taken to treat hyperthyroidism (see “How Is Hyperthyroidism Treated” above). This means that radioactive Iodine, anti-thyroid medications and thyroidectomy can all be used to treat Grave’s Disease. Grave’s Disease is sometimes associated with a finding that is unique to it, that of bulging eyes or “exophthalmos”. Unique approaches taken to treat exophthalmos include the following:

  • Corticosteroids: Swelling behind the eyeballs helps to contribute to exophthalmos. Using corticosteroids like Prednisone can help to decrease this swelling.
  • Orbital Decompression Surgery: Exophthalmos can be treated surgically by removing the bone between the eye socket (i.e. the orbit) and the sinuses (i.e. the air spaces next to the orbits). This can give the eyes room to move back into their original position. This helps to alleviate the outward bulging of the eyes.
  • Orbital Radiotherapy: Orbital radiotherapy involves directing X-ray beams at the eyes. These X-ray beams destroy some of the inflamed tissue behind the eyes that cause them to bulge forward in cases of exophthalmos. While still used sometimes, orbital radiotherapy was once a more popular option for treating exophthalmos.

How Is Hashimoto’s Disease Treated?

Hashimoto’s Disease occurs in multiple stages. The first stage of Hashimoto’s Disease is characterized by hyperthyroidism. The second stage of Hashimoto’s Disease is characterized by hypothyroidism. And then in some cases there is a third stage of Hashimoto’s Disease that is called the “Euthyroid” stage. During the Euthyroid stage (if it occurs), the thyroid glands returns to normal function. If the Euthyroid stage does not occur, then the second hypothyroid stage and hypothyroidism persist. Because Hashimoto’s Disease has multiple stages, the treatment of Hashimoto’s undertaken depends upon the stage of the disease.

When Hashimoto’s is in the first “hyperthyroid” phase, Hashimoto’s Disease is treated like hyperthyroidism (see “How Is Hyperthyroidism Treated” above). This can include the use of radioactive Iodine and anti-thyroid medications. When Hashimoto’s is in the second “hypothyroid” phase, the disease is treated like hypothyroidism (see “How Is Hypothyroidism Treated” above). This can include the use of synthetic forms of the T4 hormone like Synthroid and Levothroid. If the third and final “euthyroid” stage of Hashimoto’s Disease occurs, then normal thyroid function has returned and no further medical or surgical management is required.

How Is Thyroiditis Treated?

Much like Hashimoto’s Disease, thyroiditis occurs in stages. There is an initial “hyperthyroid” stage during which the thyroid gland is producing and releasing too much of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. This is then typically followed by a second “hypothyroid” stage during which the thyroid gland is producing and releasing too little thyroid hormone(s). This hypothyroid stage may then be followed by a final “euthyroid” stage during which normal thyroid function returns. The treatment of thyroiditis therefore depends upon the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis. Thyroiditis in the initial “hyperthyroid” stage is treated in a similar fashion to hyperthyroidism (see “How Is Hyperthyroidism Treated” above). This may include the use of radioactive Iodine and anti-thyroid medications. Thyroiditis that has then progressed to it’s second “hypothyroid” stage is treated in a similar fashion to hypothyroidism (see “How Is Hypothyroidism Treated” above). This may include the use of synthetic forms of the T4 thyroid hormone (i.e. Levothroid or Synthroid). If the third and final “euthyroid” stage of thyroiditis occurs, then normal thyroid function has resumed and no medical or surgical treatment is required.

Thyroid pain is common with thyroiditis.

As the thyroid gland becomes enlarged during Thyroditis, this enlargement frequently causes pain. The treatment of thyroiditis therefore also may include the use of pain medications including NSAIDs. NSAIDs are particularly good at not only treating pain, but also at decreasing inflammation.

How Can Thyroid Disease Be Prevented?

There are a number of different types of thyroid disease, so it stands to reason that there are many different things that can be done to prevent the various forms of thyroid disease that exist.Ways to prevent thyroid disease include the following:

  • Protect your thyroid gland by wearing a thyroid collar during X-Rays.
  • Stop smoking. Tobacco use has been associated with certain forms of thyroid disease.
  • Take Selenium supplements. Selenium is thought to protect against thyroiditis and certain forms of autoimmune thyroid disease.
  • Drink more bottled water and less tap water. Tap water is fluorinated and high Fluorine consumption can damage the thyroid gland.
  • Limit soy in-take. Research has shown that excessive soy consumption, especially if an Iodine deficiency is also present, can damage a person’s thyroid gland.
  • Avoid Gluten if you suffer from Celiac Disease. Gluten consumption in people with Celiac Disease has been linked to autoimmune attack on and damage of the thyroid gland.
  • Take Vitamin A supplements. Vitamin A has been found to promote thyroid health.
  • Eat lots of fruit and vegetables.
  • Reduce your in-take of refined and processed foods.
  • Exercise regularly by getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week or a combination of the two .