What Is the Thyroid and How Does It Affect Our Weight?


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You have probably heard of the thyroid, but do you know how it affects your health? More specifically, do you understand how it controls your weight? Let’s take a closer look at what the thyroid is and exactly how it contribute to weight fluctuations in order to better understand the way our bodies regulate weight gain and loss.

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid is the largest endocrine gland and it is located in the bottom of your neck. The thyroid regulates the speed with which your body makes proteins and uses energy. It also controls how your body interacts with hormones. The thyroid gland controls most of the metabolic processes in the body and it is therefore a crucial component of both your physiological and psychological health.

Thyroid disorders

You thyroid controls your metabolism, so when it is functioning properly, all of your metabolic processes are regular and normal, and this includes your ability to gain and lose weight. However, there are a number of thyroid disorders that can contribute to weight problems. These include:

· Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is when your thyroid over produces thyroid hormones. This encompasses a broad range of disorders, from Graves disease to subacute thyroiditis. In terms of weight gain and loss, hyperthyroidism makes it extremely difficult to gain weight because the system is overactive, and this can cause moodiness, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, and an overproduction of sweat.

· Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is the opposite of hyperthyroidism-it is the underproduction of thyroid hormones. An underactive thyroid makes it very difficult to lose weight and can lead to heightened levels of cholesterol and increase your risk of heart attack.

· Thyroid cancer: The thyroid can be affected by cancer and this can also wreak havoc on your body’s metabolic systems and ultimately be fatal.

As evidenced above, struggling with being overweight or underweight can be a hallmark symptom of a thyroid disorder. If you have tried all other options for weight loss or gain, such as a healthy diet and normal exercise, it might be a good idea to visit your doctor and have your thyroid checked. Thyroid disorders are very treatable-they can be helped with surgery, medication, or radiation. Doctor’s will check a patient’s blood work for thyroid hormone levels and then determine the best course of action for treatment.

Understanding the fact that your thyroid plays a major role in your weight management can save you the stress of long hours at the gym or crash diets that don’t seem to work. If your thyroid causes you to gain weight, then exercise and diet won’t fix the problem. If you suspect that your weight problems are due to a thyroid issue, don’t delay-visit the doctor as soon as possible.

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What Is the Thyroid and How Does It Affect Our Weight? was last modified: February 15th, 2012 by Maureen

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