Thyroid- What You Should Know

What should you know about your thyroid.

The thyroid gland is small, but plays a big role in how you feel and your day to day health.

The thyroid is made up of two small glands located at the lower aspect of your neck on each side of your wind pipe. You can frequently feel the thyroid if it is abnormally enlarged. Enlargment can also give you a sensation of pressure on your throat , trouble swallowing, choking or sensation of needing to cough.

Thyroid Anatomy

This butterfly-shaped gland can be found in the lower part of your neck. The two “wings” fold around your windpipe. The thyroid is responsible for secreting hormones: T3 (trio-iodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) into the bloodstream.

These hormones are involved in the delivery of energy to the cells of the body.

Here is how the system works. The thyroid helps regulate your metabolism along with the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. When the body needs more energy, a chain reaction is touched off.

The hypothalamus is first to respond. It releases TRH (thyrotrophin releasing hormone). This then signals the pituitary to produce TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). The message it sends to the thyroid is to produce T4. This hormone hangs around in the bloodstream until it is needed. T4 doesn’t have a direct job in the cycle except to be converted to T3 which produces the energy the body needs.

The T4 hormone is converted to T3 when more is needed by the body.

It then increases the metabolic rate of the cells throughout the body. It initiates the fight-or-flight response in the body (heart rate increases; fats are broken down for energy consumption).

The entire body starts producing energy.

The thyroid has two jobs in its normal state. It helps the enzymes needed by the cells to pass through the cell membranes. Inside the cell, it helps the mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) to produce energy.

Diseases of the Thyroid

The thyroid, like other glands and organs, can have problems.

The two that most people are familiar with are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is often blamed for weight gain or the inability to lose weight, feeling tired or lack of energy, dry skin, coarse hair, psychological changes such as depression.

The thyroid produces thyroid hormone which plays a roles in many bodily functions including your bodies metabolism and the utilization of nutrients available for energy.

During hypothyroidism, the thyroid is not producing enough energy for the body. This can lead to weight gain, tiredness, depression, dry skin, dry brittle nails and problems with other organs of the body.

It can be due to a lack of sufficient iodine in the system; however, this is rare in developed countries.

Another reason could be Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease where the body begins producing antibodies against the thyroid causing it to slow down hormone production.

Hyperthyroidism can have the opposite effect.

It can be linked to overactive nodules within the thyroid, inflammation of the thyroid or an autoimmune disease called Graves’ disease.

In any case, the thyroid shoots into overdrive and produces more hormone than the body needs. That can lead to weight loss, muscle weakness, sleeplessness, excessive perspiration, anxiety, palpitations of the heart and other organ problems.

Thyroid diseases tend to affect women more than men.

Thyroid disease can affect many aspects of your life including productivity and health. If you are concerned you may have a thyroid problem, talk to your doctor. A simple blood test will tell your doctor if your thyroid is functioning appropriately or if you have a problem with an overactive or underactive thyroid gland.

Will Red Wine Improve Your Heart Health

Will Red Wine Improve Your Heart Health

When it comes to healthy eating and drinking, there are more choices than you might realize. You don’t have to drink water all the time.

How about red wine?

It is being touted as the next best thing in heart health.

What is it about red wine that has people up in arms? For one, no one wants to promote drinking alcoholic beverages. If you are not a drinker already, then starting to use red wine to increase your heart health may not be such a good idea.

Alcohol can become addictive and can bring more harm than good for the non-drinker.

But, if you already enjoy a drink every now and then, this information is for you.

Red wine is made from the red grape.

Grapes contain many antioxidants.

We know that these substances are instrumental in reducing the signs of aging. Keeping the body young includes increasing immunity, protecting vessels of the heart and vascular system, improving mood and increasing metabolism while reducing appetite.

In grapes, the antioxidants are found in the skin. When red wine is created, the skin of the grape is used to give it its deep red color.

The skin contains flavonoids and non-flavonoid antioxidants.

Flavonoids have been shown to lower bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) in the body.

Flavonoids are found in grapes as well as cocoa (dark chocolate), berries and apples.

It is the LDL cholesterol that contributes to the formation of plaques and hardening of the arteries in your body.

The hardening of the arteries leads to narrowing of the arteries and decreases the blood supply to your major organs.

The diminished blood supply contributes to your risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke, eye disease, and kidney problems.

Non-flavonoid antioxidants have been found to help increase the health of your heart. When the coronary arteries are clear, then blood and nutrients can reach the heart muscle.

One of the substances in this category is resveratrol.

Resveratrol is a substance found in grape skins that has been getting a lot of attention lately.

It has fueled research into the health benefits alcohol may have on the heart. There are supplements available on the market but no recommendations for daily levels and how much may be needed to positively affect the heart.

Tests have shown that resveratrol can lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity in studies using mice.

The amounts of resveratrol used were far higher than the amount available drinking red wine daily. However, drinking red wine may be beneficial over a period of time or adequate amounts may become available in the form of supplements.

Your doctor may already be recommending you drink a little red wine daily for the heart health benefits.

If you have a problem with drinking too much alcohol or a problem in the past then implementing red wine into your daily routine should be avoided.