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Just So You Know - Issue 1 - 2021

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Feeling Anxious? Your thyroid could be to blame. 

Anxiety is widely known as a mental health disease, but when it comes on suddenly without any history of anxiety, your thyroid may be to blame. Also, if you’ve already been diagnosed with underactive or overactive thyroid function, you might at some point begin having bouts of anxiety. 

What’s the difference between hypothyroidism versus hyperthyroidism? 

The thyroid gland acts as the control center for your body. This butterfly-shaped gland located in the base of your neck produces a thyroid hormone that communicates with your brain, heart organs and muscles to use energy properly. 

jsyk insideIf your thyroid gland is underactive, it doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. This is called hypothyroidism. If your thyroid gland is overactive, it produces too much thyroid hormone. This is called hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism slows down your metabolism, while hyperthyroidism causes your metabolism to be excessively fast. 

Both types of thyroid dysfunction are more common in women than men. Hypothyroidism tends to develop with age and can also be due to an autoimmune disease that can be present since birth. 

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune condition that causes your immune system to attack thyroid cells and stop them from making the thyroid hormone. 

The most common form of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease, in which your body produces an antibody that causes an overactive thyroid. 

How is your thyroid linked to anxiety? 

The thyroid hormone is pivotal to the creation and regulation of neurotransmitters like serotonin, which stabilizes your mood, feelings, happiness and well-being. Low serotonin levels are linked to depression, anxiety and mood. 

When your thyroid is not functioning properly, these neurotransmitters become erratic, potentially causing anxiety and panic attacks. Those anxious feelings can be made even worse after discovering you have a thyroid disorder, because now you’re worried about your health. 

If you have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder and are experiencing unexplained anxiety, or if you have a sudden onset of anxiety symptoms such as nervousness, restlessness, or increased heart rate, contact your primary care physician. 

Tell your doctor about your symptoms, voice any concerns you have, and ask about available treatment options to get you feeling better. Keep in mind, not all people who experience feelings of anxiety suffer from a thyroid dysfunction. 

Source: Kelsey Seybold