Is Your Thyroid Weighing You Down?

Do you have difficulty gaining weight; or, are you like the majority of the population who has a hard time losing it?  Have you consistently been eating healthy? Religiously doing cardio? Faithfully strength training? Yet, nothing seems to be happening?  There could be an internal force working against you and your fitness success.  This butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of your neck (called the thyroid) could be the limiting factor.  This gland manufactures two hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).  Thyroid hormones impact every cell and organ of the body.  They help control metabolism, heart rate, body temperature as well as the regulation of other organs.

Thyroid related disorders result from too little or too much of these hormones being produced; known as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism respectively.  When prescribed by your doctor, a blood test can provide an answer if a thyroid disorder is suspected.  The test measures the level of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) released by the pituitary gland, which regulates the work of the thyroid gland.  High TSH levels usually indicate that the thyroid function is too low; and vice versa, low TSH levels typically mean that the thyroid function is too high.

When hormone levels become too low or too high, you may experience a wide range of signs and symptoms, as shown below:

Hypothyroidism:                                   Hyperthyroidism:

• Weight loss difficulty                               • Quick weight loss

• Tired &/or weak                                        • Rapid heartbeat

• Dry skin &/or brittle nails                     • Nervous &/or moody

• Memory &/or thinking difficulties     • Abnormal sweat production

• Irregular or heavy menstrual periods

An unexplained change in weight is one of the most common signs of a thyroid disorder; although, not a sole predictor.  Once thyroid hormone levels return to their normal range (through proper treatment), the ability to gain or lose weight is equivalent to those individuals with a healthy thyroid.  Using thyroid hormone as a weight loss drug for those with healthy levels is not advised and could result in lean muscle loss and/or metabolic problems.  Proper nutrition and exercise should be the fat loss and lean muscle gain drugs of choice; Sea Change Fitness and Nutrition has your prescription.

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