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January is Thyroid Awareness Month

We might be “just” massage therapists, but we really do care about more than just your back. We care about your health overall. We care about you!
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in your neck that secretes certain essential hormones to the body. It helps to regulate digestion, energy, body weight, body temperature, and much more. The thyroid uses iodine from the food you ingest to secrete 2 hormones, Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4). These hormones regulate your metabolism. Without getting into a whole complicated anatomy lesson of the endocrine system (a very complex system), the thyroid communicates with the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus gland, both in your brain, to ensure the levels of these hormones are correct. When they aren’t your body doesn’t function the way it’s supposed to, and you develop signs and symptoms of having disfunction with your endocrine system.
Many signs can point to a thyroid condition, and it’s important to recognize these symptoms and make your doctor aware of these symptoms. Some of these include feeling exhausted all of the time, depressed, anxious, dry skin, your inner thermostat isn’t working well, weight gain, hair loss, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and many more.
Most people are familiar with Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism, two diseases that affect the thyroid gland in opposing ways. The four most common types of thyroid disorders are Hashimoto’s, Grave’s Disease, Goiter, and Thyroid Nodules. There is also thyroid cancer.
Many factors can play a role in developing these disorders. Insufficient iodine in your diet can be a big factor, and some people present as having some of these diseases due to a diet that contains a food they are allergic or sensitive to and unaware they are sensitive to it. There can be hereditary factors that can cause it. There can be damage to the pituitary or other endocrine glands that affect the thyroid. You can also develop a thyroid disorder as a side effect of using a medication for another ailment. Unfortunately, there’s not one answer.
There are a lot of ways to naturally improve your thyroid health, including a good diet, natural supplements, and practice relaxation techniques (including getting massages) to help eliminate stress. Exercise is always good for a healthier lifestyle.
The most important thing is to work with appropriate medical professionals who can help you with your path to correcting thyroid imbalances. Please, DO NOT treat yourself. Don’t take supplements unless a doctor has told you that you should based on your test results. If you treat yourself for a thyroid condition and you don’t have the thyroid condition, you can really damage yourself. Please be responsible. If you think you might suffer from a thyroid condition, talk to your doctor.
You can help those who suffer from thyroid issues, and help researchers know more about how to treat for thyroid disorders and cancer by donating to the American Thyroid Association.