Claire MartinezHow stress affects thyroid disease 04/01/2019Barbari, NicolePsych 1 How stress affects the ThyroidIn this article review, I will be talking about a health problem that hits close to home for me. This issue being thyroid disease. Hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland cannot make a sufficient amount of the thyroid hormone to keep the body running in its normal state. I have been aware and living with this issue for about two years now and with it has come a lot of struggles but it has also helped me to adopt a healthier and happier lifestyle. Being a 20-year-old full-time college student, as well as a fulltime retail worker stress, is an all too often occurrence in my daily life, because of this I decided to research and investigate the effects of stress to the thyroid and what you could do to have and nurture a healthy thyroid.To start here are some symptoms of having an underactive thyroid, weight gain, puffy face, heavy menstrual period, fatigue, cold intolerance, and brittle hair and nails. When the body experiences high amounts of stress it sends the thyroid into almost a type of overdrive which then, in turn, shuts down or slows down the thyroid significantly. When the body is going through this is releases a stress hormone called cortisol or better known as the stress hormone when this is released it reduces the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone which causes a negative effect on your body due to the mandatory need of some hormones your thyroid creates. In prior research, it has been shown that chronic stress decreased the D1 activity and increased D3 activity both of these enzymes responsible for the basic functions of the thyroid hormones. When this occurs it then leads to an increase of T4 conversion where this may sound positive it is actually negative. T4 is supposed to be processed by your thyroid and turned into T3. Because the vital process isn’t happening it then inhibits cell processes, and as a result, you are having a hormone imbalance. There is something called the HPAT axis this is where the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, adrenal gland, and thyroid axis meet this is the point where the hormonal direction is given instruction to the body, for this reason, all of these glands work together. Because women have higher hormone rates across the board this is why they experience these problems the most opposed to men. When systems such as these run off of one main function when the body detects stress or starvation it then slows the process of reproduction to almost a halt, therefore hormones don’t circulate and you become lacking in these essential hormones you need. For the thyroid there are many different ways it can malfunction stress just being one culprit, the first most common reason the thyroid experiences thyroid problems are a disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and this is most commonly found in cases with diagnosed clinical hypothyroidism. This harsh disease happens to occur when the immune system goes into overdrive and attacks its own cells weakening the bodies organs and overall health, in which cases the thyroid is a victim. Here are different types of stress that are often accompanied together but there are some separate factors that might impede the thyroids normal behavior such as the difference between physical and psychological stress. For physical stress, it could be factors such as undereating, a low-carb diet, weight loss, over-exercise. For psychological it is generally categorized with any kind of stress you experience in your life that is more than just your everyday stress, for example, experiencing a loss of a family member or financial problems. As stated, some ways to get rid of or prevent a sluggish thyroid from occurring would reduce stress, sleep more, eat when hungry and stop when you are full, but most importantly make sure you are receiving enough carbohydrates in your diet. As far as treatment may go because there are two different types of thyroid diseases there are different treatments. For hypothyroidism it generally treated with a drug called levothyroxine, this is a synthetic hormone tablet that supplements the missing thyroid hormones needed to function normally. With careful monitoring, your doctor will adjust your dosage accordingly and in time you should be back to somewhat normal levels. For hyperthyroidism it is harder to treat, you have to be able to normalize or get your thyroid back to its normal state. The treatment process for this specifically is more strenuous it involves drug therapy using radioactive iodine which disables the thyroid or having surgery the remove the overactive part of your thyroid. As you can see this is a very complex disease that has a lot of in’s and outs to it, the thyroid is a very sensitive part of the body that requires the proper amount of rest, diet and stress to be able to function and produce the proper number of hormones to maintain a stable and healthy thyroid. As women age, the chances of having a thyroid problem increase less than 2% are affected during ages 12-19 but over 15% are affected during their mid-life stages. About 40% of people in the United States are already taking or need to take medication to be able to stabilize their pre-existing or existing thyroid problem, before starting to write this paper I didn’t know that this was such a widely known disease people struggled with but mostly women suffer from. It also was good to inform myself of some of the ways I could better my diet and manage my stress to be able to make my hypothyroidism not as complicated to live with. Overall there are very valid and credible treatments out there to be able to normalize whatever issues you may have when it comes to living with specific thyroid disease, specific types are harder to treat than others but not impossible. Stress is not a good contributing factor where the thyroid is concerned it actually is the root of a lot of problems where this disease is concerned. With proper coping skills for stress, right diet, and regular exercise the thyroid should maintain a healthy state but just in case going and getting a yearly blood work panel at your General Practice Doctors office should rule out or exclude any of these issues. (Main Source)Warren, E. (2014). Thyroid disease. Practice Nurse, 44(8), 14–17. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=97824783&site=ehost-live(extra sources)“Thyroid Disease Management and Treatment.” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8541-thyroid-disease/management-and-treatment. “Hypothyroidism Statistics.” Symptoms of Hypothyroidism, symptomsofhypothyroidism.weebly.com/hypothyroidism-statistics.html.“Hypothyroidism.” American Thyroid Association, www.thyroid.org/hypothyroidism/.“National Academy of Hypothyroidism.” National Academy of Hypothyroidism, www.nahypothyroidism.org/.
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