Sweat through the night last night? Feeling nervous or shaky today? Experiencing flushed or red, itchy skin? How about increased bowel movements and unexplained weight loss? Although these symptoms might be signs of many metabolic or hormonal disorders, the key suspect here is your thyroid.
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits beneath your Adam’s apple in the front of your neck. This gland is responsible for making thyroid hormone, which controls your metabolism and affects your heart, muscles, bones, and even your cholesterol levels. It is estimated that 30 million Americans are facing some form of thyroid disorder and that women over 35 are the most common sufferers (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/19-signs-thyroid-working/story?id=20100212).
Having too much thyroid hormone, which causes your metabolism and many other bodily functions to speed up, is known as Hyperthyroidism. Symptoms include:
- Increased sweat production, especially at night
- Increased nervousness, shakiness, moodiness, or fatigue
- Increased heartbeat
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Increased bowel movements and unexplained weight loss
- Increased hair softening or loss
If you are experiencing any combination of these symptoms you should schedule an appointment with your doctor to rule out any serious conditions or cancer and get started on a treatment plan. Diagnosis through a blood test is typically followed by a straightforward and manageable treatment plan. Physicians usually prescribe one of the following medications: Tapazole (generic name: methimazole) or Propyl-Thyracil (PTU) which are antithyroid medications that slow or stop the overproduction of your thyroid gland.
Sometimes hyperthyroidism can start as a result of Grave’s disease, in which the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland causing it to fight back and overproduce. Other times hyperthyroidism can be caused by a thyroid nodule, in which a section of the thyroid is swollen. Thyroid nodules are very common and especially affect women over the age of 50.
Lastly (and interestingly), hyperthyroidism is commonly found amongst people with Type-A personalities. Type-A’s who also experience a high correlation with coronary heart disease, often appear ambitious, competitive, irritable, rigid or highly organized, tend to have “A-typical” ways of working out their stress. Sometimes Type-A’s may even work out the stress experienced during the day at night, resulting in teeth clenching or grinding and night sweats. Clearly this evidence supports “nature” in the Nature vs. Nurture debate regarding personality types.
If any of the above information relates to you and you have yet to be diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, schedule an appointment with your doctor so that you can work towards eliminating these bothersome symptoms. Hyperthyroidism occurs commonly and with the correct treatment regiment, including medication and other natural-solutions, you can begin to overcome the irritating symptoms and side effects of hyperthyroidism today.