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Hyperthyroid


Introduction

Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland is located at the base of the throat and helps regulate maintenance of nearly all cells in the body. When too much thyroid is produced, the body runs too fast, thus increasing metabolism, body temperature, and heart rate. One type of hyperthyroidism is called Grave's Disease, an autoimmune disorder where the body's antibodies attack itself.

T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland produces both T3 and T4, which is the inactive form. The production is regulated by the pituitary gland by secreting Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and is down-regulated by circulating thyroid hormones. T4 is converted to active T3 by enzymes. Chronic release of too much thyroid hormones can wear out the gland, causing it to stop producing sufficient hormones.

Lab tests can be helpful when determining if a thyroid problem is present, but not always. Each lab has a range that it sets for each lab test. These parameters may not always correspond to what is ideal for the thyroid or normal for an individual's body. Changes in thyroid hormone production or symptoms can indicate a thyroid condition, even if hormone levels are within normal limits.

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Common Symptoms

"Tired and wired"; trembling; mood changes; restlessness; anxiety; sleeping difficulties. Weight loss despite increased appetite; weight gain due to increased appetite greater than metabolic needs; diarrhea; rapid heartbeat; increased sweating and intolerance to heat. Goiter (painless swelling in the throat); bulging; irritated eyes; muscle weakness; light or no menstrual periods.

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Common Causes

May be triggered by stress that is caused by a heightened reaction from the immune system, thus causing an autoimmune reaction. Thyroid conditions are usually genetic or hereditary in nature and are set off by a stressor, either a virus or a life event. Thyroid disorders may also be caused by other hormonal disturbance, surgery, radiation, or medications.

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Natural Treatment

Thyroid problems result from a number of different factors, including environmental exposures, pesticides, chemicals, and a number of deficiencies in nutrients that result from improper diet or toxic overload. Treatment begins with exploring the diet and environment as a cause of the symptoms through food recall analysis, symptom review, medical history review and laboratory testing. A balanced diet plan and supplementation counteract nutritional deficiencies and help to avoid toxic elements to the thyroid. Chemical additives and artificial sweeteners in food are among the biggest culprits of thyroid problems. Finding which foods are toxic to your system with the help of EB Nutrition and food sensitivity testing helps unravel the path toward metabolic balance.

Balancing hormones helps keep all hormones in check, including thyroid hormones. EB Nutrition Dietitians can provide a nutrition plan specified at balancing hormones, including stress hormones. The adrenal gland and thyroid glands work closely together to retain equilibrium in the body. Many times, a slight imbalance with either gland can send its counterpart out of sync as well. The Adrenal Stress Test can assist with finding the root cause of metabolic and hormone imbalance and help EB Dietitians treat the problem at hand. Additional therapeutic supplements are often required for metabolic and thyroid function during stress. "Stress" might include diagnosis of other conditions, especially autoimmune, a life change, a virus or bacterial overgrowth, surgery or just stress overload from everyday life. Supplementation is essential in an effort to consume therapeutic amounts of vitamins and nutrients necessary for optimal thyroid support.

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References

Bauman E. The Metabolic Detective: A Look at Nutrition for Your Thyroid. Thyroid Info. February 11, 2010. Available at http://www.thyroid-info.com/articles/ed-bauman.htm. Accessed February 11, 2010.

Kalyn W. Reader's Digest The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs. Pleasantville, NY: Reader's Digest; 1999: 214-215.

Isaac S. Hormonal Balance: Understanding Hormones, Weight, and Your Metabolism. Boulder: Bull Publishing Company; 2007: 249.

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