May 25th World Thyroid Day
This day is so important to me because, as you may know, in 2014 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and it rocked my whole world. I was so unaware of the thyroid back then and never gave it much thought. The thyroid holds so much power and affects so much in the body. Today, I have spent much of my life over the last 7 years researching the thyroid. I want to go over some of the basics and give hope and recognition to those battling thyroid diseases.
This day, May 25th, is recognized globally by the American Thyroid Association in cooperation with the European Thyroid Association, the Asia-Oceania Thyroid Association, and the Latin American Thyroid Society. They aim to empower people with education about the thyroid gland and its related conditions.
My prayers go out to anyone and everyone experiencing thyroid conditions. I see you, I hear you, I’m with you.
Let’s talk thyroid.
What is the thyroid?
The thyroid is located at the base of the front of your neck. It is a butterfly shaped gland and it sits right below one’s Adam’s apple. There are specific hormones that are produced by the thyroid gland. These hormones are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones impact your metabolism, sensitivity to temperature, and so much more. The impact the thyroid has is HUGE. Yes, it’s a tiny gland but it is connected to so many different facets of the body.
Importance of our thyroid
I just told you about how the thyroid can impact temperature sensitivity and metabolism, but it also affects so much more.
It plays a role in growth and development. This includes being a kid and growing into an adult and even wound healing.
Your thyroid is constantly releasing a steady stream of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream and if it is off even just a little bit- things can go wonky.
Thyroid hormones can even impact breathing, heart rate, muscle strength (or lack thereof), menstrual cycles (very common), and even cholesterol levels! (Source)
Facts about thyroid disease
The thyroid is such an interesting part of the body! Here are some facts you may not know:
1. Almost all types of thyroid problems or diseases are broken up into two major categories—hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Diseases of the thyroid will generally cause the gland to get out of whack. TSH levels will be elevated in the case of hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. And TSH levels will generally be low to unmeasurable in a case of hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid.
2. Women are more likely than men to develop a thyroid condition. In fact, one in eight women will develop a thyroid condition in their lifetime. It can especially happen after pregnancy and menopause as those are both so hormonally disruptive.
3. Stress can widely impact the thyroid. It is so important to be mindful of your mental health while dealing with thyroid issues. The HPA axis is involved with emotions and the HPA axis and the thyroid go together. Prioritize rest, mindfulness, prayer, movement, and consistent breathwork.
4. Thyroid disorders need to be managed with a healing team alongside. Please make sure that you are working closely with a doctor who hears you, understands you, runs full thyroid panels and is always willing to pivot your medication if need be. To leave a thyroid condition untreated can bring about serious consequences down the line.
5. The very minerals needed to help your thyroid are also ones you need to make sure you are not getting in excess (unless stated is needed from your doctor.) For instance, proper iodine is needed for thyroid function. However, if it becomes excessive it can exacerbate the symptoms of Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism. Zinc is also needed for the thyroid, but you don’t want to come into a case of zinc toxicity. Always be mindful and upfront about your supplementation with your doctors.
Common thyroid diseases
Thyroid Nodules.- A lump in the thyroid, the butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck.
Hypothyroidism.- A condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone.
Hyperthyroidism.- The overproduction of a hormone by the butterfly-shaped gland in the neck (thyroid).
Goiter.- Abnormal enlargement of the butterfly-shaped gland below the Adam’s apple (thyroid).
Thyroiditis.- Inflammation of the thyroid, the butterfly-shaped gland in the neck.
Thyroid cancer.- Cancer of the thyroid, the butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck.
Steps to taking care of your thyroid
It is so important to care for your thyroid on a daily basis. Here are some of my favorite ways to keep my thyroid strong and healthy.
1. Consistently get your thyroid levels checked. Ask for a full panel if you can.
2. Eat foods that are high in selenium, zinc, magnesium and iodine.
3. Lean on a plant-based lifestyle for healing.
4. Work on detox. Consider buying sauna sessions, eating foods that strengthen your liver and kidneys, and always be mindful of your digestion.
5. Consume thyroid healing herbs on the regular. (See my list here)
6. Get proper rest and keep a low stress lifestyle.
Why is World Thyroid Day Important?
World Thyroid Health Day is so important because an estimated 20 million Americans have thyroid disease and so many are still going undiagnosed. (Source) So many people are experiencing horrible symptoms that really impede their quality of life and yet they have no idea that it could be their thyroid. More awareness is needed and together we can do just that.