When a person has thyroid problems, it may be due to a lack of thyroid stimulating hormone, or TSH. This hormone is not produced by the thyroid, but is actually produced by the pituitary gland. TSH passes information to the thyroid and helps it produce the hormones necessary for the body. When health care professionals work on the thyroid without finding the actual problem, this can lead to frustration if a person is not feeling better. It is only by correcting the root cause in the body that a person can begin to feel like their old self again.
As part of the endocrine system, the thyroid is interconnected with many glands throughout the body. These glands all work together to produce the hormones that help the organs function. If one gland is not working properly, it can lead to problems that manifest in a variety of ways. For thyroid problems, this includes weight gain, anxiety, fatigue and other issues as well.
The biggest problem is that when a person presents with symptoms of a thyroid issue, their health care provider may recommend the same course of action for each person. They will often recommend synthetic thyroid hormone, which will need to be taken for the rest of a person’s life. This may provide some short-term solutions, but eventually its effectiveness might wear off. This is because the thyroid may not necessarily the problem, but rather TSH may be the problem. Because this approach is not addressing the root cause and is instead only addressing a symptom, this may not be the best place to start. A licensed naturopathic physician will work to address the root cause of the problem, instead of just the symptoms.
Low thyroid is associated with uncomfortable, distressing and even debilitating or life-threatening complications. Yet it's estimated that half of those who have the condition don't know it, and neither do their healthcare providers. Left untreated, low thyroid can result in conditions such as a goiter, heart problems, infertility and more.
You may be aware that the thyroid is associated with regulating the metabolism, and you might be aware that weight gain or an inability to lose weight even while dieting are common low thyroid signs. Yet did you know that hypothyroidism can also affect your energy levels? Lethargy, a lack of energy and extreme fatigue are all potential signs of a thyroid problem.
Muscle and joint pains, headaches and fibromyalgia are some other potential signs of low thyroid, as it affects the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system. Brain fog, memory problems, depression or anxiety are other signs you may not be aware are associated with thyroid conditions.
Thinning hair or hair loss, dry skin, coldness in your hands or feet and gum disease are a few other lesser known, but not uncommon low thyroid signs. The diversity of symptoms demonstrates and reflects the extent and importance of the thyroid's role in your body's function and overall health. Nearly every physiological process in the body involves the thyroid.
When tough times bring you down, your ability to cope in a positive way is known as resilience. An essential skill for healthy development in childhood, resilience is critical to well-being throughout our lifetime. The overriding question is this: As adults, can we increase our capacity for resilience in order to lead more fulfilling lives?
The answer is YES. Resilience is not a super power; it's an ordinary skill that anyone can develop at any age. Think of it as an emotional muscle that can be strengthened. Research shows that resilience is linked to well-being by way of positive emotions and coping strategies (e.g., optimism, cheerfulness, gratitude, mindfulness). Benefits include:
Six Secrets to Increasing Your Resilience:
Catch It Early. One trait of highly resilient individuals is a keen awareness for when things aren't going right. We've all heard doctors say "good thing we caught it early," and that applies to stress. Identify stress early in the process and you can be proactive in managing how it (and your emotions) affect you and your health.
Stay in the Light. Optimism is the ability to look at a dire situation and assess its meaning for your life. If a significant relationship has ended, there will be grief, confusion, anger and so on. There's also an opportunity to re-examine your needs and explore what truly makes you happy. Amid dark times, you can mentally stay in the light by using positive affirmations, surrounding yourself with supportive people, and monitoring what you watch and read on a regular basis.
The Great Defender: that's our immune system, uniquely designed to keep us healthy and defend against illness and infection. Made up of organs, including the skin, lungs, and gut, as well as specialized cells, the immune system's job is to remain on alert for disease-causing invaders and to protect our body against them.
Our immune system's first responders are white blood cells (WBCs) that are alerted to the presence of an invader. Some WBCs seek and destroy invaders while others have a cellular memory that enables the body to remember and recognize previous invaders and help destroy them. For example, if you get chickenpox, your body develops immunity to the virus; if you're exposed to chickenpox again, you won't contract it.
Sometimes the cellular communication goes haywire and the immune system starts attacking healthy cells in the body. This is called an autoimmune response; it can lead to autoimmune disease of which there are many types, such as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. There are also conditions, such as Selective IgA Deficiency, in which some part of the immune response is lacking or not functioning properly.
Each of our immune systems are as unique as our individual family health history, our lifestyles, and the environmental conditions with which we live. Some folks seem to never get sick, while others catch every bug going around. The strength of the immune system also changes as we age. Because the immune system is our greatest defender against disease, it's critical that we keep it strong, healthy and balanced.
Adults and children alike are spending more time awake late at night to study, work, or have fun. All those late nights may be slowly killing us. More than 20 years of research shows us that sleep is vitally important to physical and mental health.
Most of what we know about sleep and health comes from studies of what happens to the mind and body when we don't sleep enough, or at all. In animal and human studies, living without sleep for even a few months resulted in death. Sleeping fewer than 8 hours a night on a regular basis is associated with increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke, depression, colds and flu, and obesity.
While We Are Sleeping…
Sleep affects brain chemistry and has an important role in the functioning of the nervous, immune and endocrine systems. During sleep we develop and reinforce neural pathways involved in memory, learning, and emotion. New research suggests sleep helps flush toxins from the brain.
While we are sleeping, the body manufactures hormones that repair damage caused by stress and the environment in which we work and play. Growth hormone cleanses the liver, builds muscle, breaks down fat, and helps normalize blood sugar. We also produce hormones that help fight infections. If we aren’t getting sufficient sleep, we get sick more often and take longer to recover. Lack of sleep increases inflammation, which is has been linked to heart disease and stroke.
Skimping on shut-eye is linked with obesity in adults and children. Lack of sleep interferes with the levels of ghrelin and leptin, metabolic hormones that signal when you’re hungry and when you’re full.
The amount of sleep you need varies based on age, activity level, quality of sleep, and genetics (e.g., some of us really are night owls). Infants typically require 14-15 hours of sleep per 24-hour period; young children about 12 hours; teens about 9 hours, and most adults 7-9 hours. A general rule of thumb for determining your sleep requirement: If you do not wake feeling refreshed, you may not be getting enough sleep.
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