High Thyroid Levels

High thyroid levels refer to the overproduction of the thyroid hormones, T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). This condition is also known as hyperthyroidism, and women are about 5 to 10 times more susceptible to develop this condition than men. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped, small organ located in front of the neck. This gland is concerned with the production and secretion of T3 and T4 hormones, which regulate the rate of metabolism.

So, an excess production of these hormones can accelerate the rate of metabolism, or the rate at which food is converted into energy. This in turn, can manifest in several other health problems, as the hormones released by the thyroid gland can affect every part of the body.

The production of thyroid hormones on the other hand, is regulated by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus signals the pituitary gland to produce and secrete the ‘thyroid stimulating hormone’ (TSH). TSH signals the thyroid gland to produce T3 and T4. The amount of TSH released by the pituitary gland depends on the levels of T3 and T4 in blood. So, if the levels of T3 and T4 in blood are high, then the level of TSH will fall.

Normal Thyroid Levels

The normal range for T4 hormone (for adults) is 4.5 – 11.2 mcg/dL
The normal range for T3 hormone (for adults) is 0.1 – 0.2 mcg/dL

The normal value ranges can vary slightly from one laboratory to another, as different laboratories may use different measurements or test different specimens. So, it is better to talk to your physician to evaluate the results of the thyroid test before coming to any conclusion.

Hyperthyroidism Causes

It can have several underlying causes, of which Graves’ disease can be considered one of the most common causes. Apart from Graves’ disease, several other factors can cause the levels of thyroid hormones to rise. Some of the most common causes of elevated thyroid levels or hyperthyroidism are explained below.

Graves’ Disease

It is an autoimmune disease, wherein the antibodies produced by the immune system attack the thyroid gland and cause the gland to enlarge. The level of T4 hormone has been found to increase significantly in this disorder. Women, usually those in the age group of 20 to 50 years are more susceptible to develop this condition.

In Graves’ disease, the antibodies produced by the immune system can attack the tissues behind the eyes, along with the thyroid gland. As a result, the eye muscles and tissues can get inflamed, and the eyeball can protrude from the socket. This condition is known as exophthalmos, and this complication can be experienced by a certain percentage of individuals with Graves’ disease.

Scientists have not been able to find out what exactly causes this autoimmune disease, but it has been observed to run in families. So, this disease is presumed to have a genetic predisposition, along with several other triggering factors.

Thyroiditis

Thyroiditis or the inflammation of the thyroid gland can also cause an overproduction of thyroid hormones. The inflammation can be caused by unknown factors. Sometimes, it can be caused by a viral infection, while at other times, it can be caused by an autoimmune reaction. For example, subacute thyroiditis usually follows a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, such as mumps and influenza, while Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid gland.

Other common types of thyroiditis are, postpartum thyroiditis, silent thyroiditis, and drug-induced thyroiditis. As the name suggests, postpartum thyroiditis occurs after childbirth. This condition can last for about a month or two, followed by a period of hypothyroidism. Eventually, the levels of the thyroid hormones become normal after a few months. Silent thyroiditis is similar to postpartum thyroiditis except for the fact that it is not related to pregnancy or childbirth. The affected individuals develop a small goiter, which is usually not painful.

Thyroid Nodules

Sometimes, lumps or nodules can develop on the thyroid gland, and increase the amount of hormones produced by the gland. If hyperthyroidism results due to the development of a single nodule, it is termed as single toxic nodule. On the other hand, if several nodules develop in the thyroid gland, and they cause the excess production of thyroid hormones, the condition is known as toxic multinodular goiter. Thyroid nodules can be benign or malignant, but usually, they are benign or non-cancerous. The nodules can be solid or fluid-filled.

Excessive Intake of Iodine

Iodine is required by the thyroid gland to synthesize thyroid hormones. But its excessive intake can cause thyroid disorders like hyperthyroidism. Kelp or seaweeds contain a very high level of iodine, and so, an excessive intake of kelp and its supplements can raise the risk of developing thyroid disorders.

Thyroid Medications

Thyroid medications that are usually prescribed for the treatment of hypothyroidism can occasionally cause high thyroid levels, especially when they are used for a long time. Drugs like amiodarone used for treating irregular heartbeats can also cause hypo or hyperthyroidism, as this drug is structurally similar to thyroxine.

Hyperthyroidism Symptoms

As mentioned already, thyroid hormones regulate the rate of metabolism and hence, high levels of thyroid hormones raise the rate at which food is converted into energy (metabolism). High levels of thyroid hormones in the body can also affect the nervous system and vital organs like the heart. This condition can manifest in several symptoms, which are enlisted below:

✧ Anxiety and nervousness
✧ Increase in appetite
✧ Unexplained weight loss
✧ Heat intolerance
✧ Palpitations and irregular heartbeat
✧ High blood pressure
✧ Irritability
✧ Insomnia
✧ Excessive sweating
✧ Polyuria
✧ Excessive thirst
✧ Tremors
✧ Shortness of breath
✧ Irregular and scanty menstrual flow in women
✧ Muscle weakness
✧ Skin thinning
✧ Arrhythmias
✧ Changes in bowel patterns (usually an increase in frequency)
✧ An enlarged thyroid or goiter
✧ Hair loss
✧ Brittle and fine hair
✧ Decreased libido
✧ Depression
✧ Exophthalmos and red and swollen eyes (if it is caused by Graves’ disease)
✧ Excessive tearing, light sensitivity, and blurred vision (if it is caused by Graves’ disease)

However, people having hyperthyroidism usually do not develop all the symptoms. Most of the affected individuals develop a combination of two or more symptoms, which develop gradually over a period of time.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Hyperthyroidism

A physician usually evaluates the symptoms and medical history of the patient, along with carrying out physical examinations and blood tests, if hyperthyroidism is suspected. Physicians often look for the presence of symptoms like tremors in the fingers, and examine the thyroid gland and the eyes of the patient. However, a confirmed diagnosis requires blood tests to measure the levels of thyroxine (T4) and TSH. A high level of T4, but low level of TSH indicates hyperthyroidism.

If the blood tests show positive results, then two other tests are carried out to determine the underlying causes. These two tests are known as thyroid scan and radioactive iodine uptake test. In radioactive iodine uptake test, a small amount of radioactive iodine is administered. This test measures how much iodine is taken up by the thyroid gland to manufacture thyroid hormones.

After a period of time (usually 2/6/24 hours), the amount of iodine used by the gland is measured. A high uptake indicates hyperthyroidism caused by Graves’ disease or thyroid nodules. But if the thyroid levels are high, and the uptake of radioactive iodine is low, then it is likely to be caused by thyroiditis.

In thyroid scan, a radioactive isotope is injected into the vein present in the hand or inside the elbow. The patient is then asked to lie down with the head stretched backward. A special camera is used in the procedure, which produces images of the thyroid gland.

Hyperthyroidism and its symptoms are treated with radioactive iodine and antithyroid medications like methimazole and propylthiouracil. Beta blockers are usually given for controlling high blood pressure and the heart rate. Radioactive iodine helps shrink the gland, and alleviate the symptoms produced by an overactive thyroid gland.

The antithyroid medications prevent the gland from making excess hormones, and they are usually prescribed for a year or longer. Sometimes, these medications can solve the problem permanently, but at other times, relapses may occur.

Sometimes, surgery is also carried out to remove a large section of the thyroid gland, which however, can give rise to complications, like damage to the vocal cord and parathyroid gland. Therefore, surgery is usually considered only when a patient cannot tolerate antithyroid medications, and cannot have radioactive iodine therapy as well.

High thyroid levels or hyperthyroidism is a bit difficult to diagnose in the early stage. However, most people respond to treatment. If left untreated, this condition can increase the risk of developing heart problems, osteoporosis, and pregnancy complications. Therefore, a physician needs to be consulted, if you experience any of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism persistently for a considerable length of time. This can ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment of the condition, which in turn would help prevent the complications associated with it.

Thyroid Level Chart

It is a fact that hormone imbalance is the basic cause of various diseases and disorders. Thyroid gland, situated in the neck, releases the hormone triiodothyronine (called T3) and thyroxine hormone (called T4). The hormone released by the pituitary gland stimulates the release of thyroid hormones and hence it is known as thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). When symptoms of abnormal thyroid function are noticed, a simple blood test known as TSH blood test is performed to measure the amount of TSH in blood.

Thyroid Hormone Levels and TSH

When the thyroid gland does not release sufficient hormones, the condition is described as hypothyroidism. As TSH is required to trigger the secretion of thyroid hormones, more TSH is released by the pituitary gland to stimulate the thyroid gland. Elevated levels of TSH thus indicate thyroid dysfunction or decreased levels of thyroid hormones. The condition wherein excessive production of thyroid hormones is noticed is known as hyperthyroidism. Very high levels of the hormones released by thyroid gland are characteristic of an overactive thyroid gland. The pituitary gland therefore restricts the flow of TSH. Thus, as a result of increased flow of thyroid hormones, TSH levels drop down. Here is a chart that provides information on the normal levels of the hormones released by thyroid gland.

Normal Thyroid Level Chart

Hormones Normal Range (mIU/L) Interpretation
T3 (Serum triiodothyronine) 80 – 220 T3<80 indicates hypothyroidism.
Total T4 (Serum thyroxine) 4.5 to 12.5 T4<4.5 with elevated TSH indicates under-active thyroid. T4>12.5 indicates hyperthyroidism. T4<4.5 with low TSH suggests a pituitary problem.
TSH 0.3 to 3.0 (as of 2003, revised by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists) but many labs or doctors follow the old numbers 0.4 to 6 TSH<0.3 indicate hyperthyroidism and TSH>3.0 indicate hypothyroidism.

Along with ‘total T4’ levels, levels of ‘Free T4’ are also measured. 0.7 to 2.0 is considered as normal range for ‘Free T4’. Similarly, ‘Free T3’ levels are also measured and 2.3 to 4.2 is the normal range of ‘free T3’.

Low Thyroid Levels

Children may naturally exhibit slightly higher TSH level (or low thyroid levels) when compared to adults. Thyroid hormones determine the rate of metabolism. Low levels of these hormones may lead to low basal metabolic rate resulting in loss of appetite, increased fatigue, weakness. The person may notice increased somnolence all the time, and suffer from frequent attacks of cold. He may experience joint pain, swelling in the neck, dry skin, hair loss, hoarse voice, etc. In spite of dieting, he may not be able to control his cholesterol levels.

High Thyroid Levels

An overactive thyroid can cause hot flashes, irregular heartbeat, nervousness resulting in depression and weight loss. Women usually complain about joint pain and irregular menstrual cycles when they have elevated thyroid levels. Confusion or poor concentration is also noticed sometimes. Hyperthyroidism in men may result in impotence, rapid heart rate, increased bowel movement, heat intolerance, palpitations, arrhythmia, profuse sweating, increased irritability, decreased concentration, weight loss, tremor, insomnia and depression.

To assess the thyroid function, TSH test alone cannot provide sufficient information. Similarly measuring T3 and T4 levels, without measuring TSH levels will not be useful for diagnosing thyroid problems. It is essential to measure T3, T4 and TSH levels simultaneously to detect the cause of abnormal thyroid activities.

Prescribed medicines and specially designed thyroid diet help manage the symptoms of abnormal thyroid function. The element ‘iodine’ in your diet, plays an important role in maintaining thyroid health. Normal levels for thyroid hormones may slightly vary from person to person. I hope you found the above chart and the information, helpful. Thyroid levels keep on fluctuating, so consult your doctor for correct interpretation of the thyroid test results.

Benefits of Ginseng Tea for Health

Ginseng is a perennial plant with a fleshy root, which is used for medicinal purposes. It is believed to have originated in the mountains of Manchuria in China, and has been in use for some 5000 years. It was called ‘Ren Shen’ by the ancient Chinese people. ‘Ren Shen’ means ‘Man Root’, and refers to the human-like shape of the Ginseng root. The Chinese had tremendous faith in ginseng, and considered it a sort of rejuvenating, cure-all herb for a variety of ailments.

You can make herbal tea from the fleshy root of the ginseng plant. This tea is said to have many healing and energy-giving properties. You can use fresh or dried roots for preparing the tea. These days, ginseng tea is a popular herbal drink all over the world, and is used by people for its rejuvenating properties.

Health Benefits

Although, proponents of alternative medicine claim that ginseng can cure a lot of illnesses, till date, there is no substantial evidence to prove the effectiveness of this herb. Even so, a great many people swear by the ginseng tea, and consume it on a regular basis. As per the exponents of this herb, there are numerous benefits of this tea, which are discussed below:

  • Ginseng may help stimulate the production of antibody-like protein, which helps in fighting colds.
  • It may also aid in regulating blood sugar levels in diabetics.
  • The ginseng root contains ginsenosides, a compound that stimulates the release of ACTH, that increases alertness and concentration.
  • It is also believed to improve the quality of sleep as well as boost the overall mood.
  • Regular consumption of this herbal tea is seen to help in fighting fatigue and lack of energy. Ginseng has the potential to increase the energy levels in cancer patients.
  • Ginseng tea is believed to be a natural appetite suppressant. Therefore, it aids in weight loss and weight management.
  • Regular consumption of this herbal tea aids in digestion, and it also reduces mental stress and anxiety.
  • It is also believed to boost the immune system, improve stamina, and work as an aphrodisiac.
  • Some studies have also indicated that red ginseng can help men suffering from erectile dysfunction. However, more research and clinical trials are required in this field.
  • Benefits of ginseng tea include its power to alleviate discomfort associated with menstruation.
  • It is also believed to lower the levels of LDL cholesterol.

Types of Ginseng

There are two main species of ginseng, and they are Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) that is found in China, Japan, and Korea, and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) that grows mainly in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Georgia, Oklahoma, British Columbia, and Ontario. There is a third variety called red ginseng or Korean ginseng, which is nothing more than processed Asian ginseng. There is another variety called Siberian ginseng, which is not a true ginseng, but another plant (Eleutherococcus senticosus) with almost similar medicinal properties. It contains chemical compounds called eleutherosides, instead of ginsenosides.

You can buy ginseng roots as whole or in the powder form. You may also get sliced and dried ginseng roots or even ginseng tea bags. Sometimes, the leaves of ginseng plant are also used, however, they are not considered as effective as the root. Cultivated root is available as red and white Ginseng. In both cases, ginseng plants are grown for about 6 years before their roots are harvested. The difference lies in the way the roots are processed for use. To make white ginseng, the root is peeled and sun-dried. The dried root then, takes the yellowish-white color. To make red ginseng, the unpeeled root undergoes the steaming and drying process. The reddish-brown color of the root is obtained during the steaming process.

Side Effects

As there is no solid scientific support to back the said benefits of the herb, it is always better to consult your health care professional before using it. The herb is said to cause no side effects, if taken in prescribed doses. However, side effects may occur, if it is taken in excess. Interactions with certain drugs, like, antidepressants, blood-thinning medications, diuretics, and drugs for maintaining blood pressure and blood sugar levels, are possible. The herb should be utilized only under the strict supervision of a qualified herbal practitioner. Pregnant and lactating women, or those with endometriosis and uterine fibroids must also refrain from taking ginseng.

Ginseng tea is soothing and relaxing, and its regular intake can aid sleeping disorders. However, it is important not to have it in excess, as it might have negative effects on your health.

Health Benefits of Moringa Ideas

30-amazing-benefits-of-moringa-oleifera01Moringa, also known as the Miracle Tree, is a multipurpose plant, as the leaves, pods, fruits, flowers, roots, and even the bark of the tree can be utilized. It is also called the Drumstick Tree by Britishers, while in Philippines it is known as malunggay. The scientific name of this tree is Moringa oleifera. It is a powerhouse of minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. Therefore, it is widely promoted in poverty-stricken areas, to counter malnutrition. While conventional treatment methods take months to counter this problem, consumption of the parts of this tree may take just a few days to treat it. Its uses range from being a water purifier to protecting the skin and also, to make perfumes and sprays. The gum of this tree is a diuretic and astringent and can be helpful in treating asthma.

Health Benefits

Seeds

  • The powdered form of moringa seeds is very well-known to treat scurvy, a common skin disease caused by bacterial infections.
  • Crushed seeds are beneficial for purifying and clarifying water to make it available for domestic purposes. The seeds also minimize bacterial concentration of the water, thereby, making it drinkable.
  • They can be used as a relaxant for epilepsy.
  • The seeds consumed in roasted form, encourage urination, thereby, treating urinary problems.
  • When the seeds are roasted, pounded, and mixed with coconut oil, can treat gout, arthritis, rheumatism, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. You just have to apply the above-mentioned mixture to the problem area and see the results.
  • Along with perfumes and sprays the seeds are also useful in manufacturing aromatherapy oils.

Leaves

  • Our body needs calcium for proper growth and maintenance of bones, to prevent and treat bone-related diseases, like osteoporosis. This calcium is normally obtained from milk through daily consumption. However, it may come to you as a surprise, that the leaves of moringa tree contain four times more calcium than that is present in milk. Also, the amount of protein in these leaves is twice the amount present in milk.
  • Bananas are a rich source of potassium, however, the drumstick leaves contain seven times more potassium than bananas.
  • The leaves also contain three times more iron than spinach. Hence, adequate consumption of these leaves can be helpful in preventing anemia.
  • The leaves are extremely beneficial in stimulating metabolism. They are the nutrition boosters, which are known to promote a feeling of well-being in people.
  • They are well-known to provide non-sugar based energy, which means, you can include these leaves in your weight loss diet. On the other hand, diabetics can also keep their sugar level under control.
  • The paste of the leaves beautifies the skin and is, therefore, applied by women to their skin regularly.
  • Oranges contain a large amount of vitamin C, however, the leaves of the miracle tree contain seven times more vitamin C than oranges.
  • The leaves are also rich in beta carotene containing three to five times more beta carotene than carrots.

Flowers

  • The flowers are an effective home remedy for cough and cold. In rural areas, people boil these flowers in water and drink it in the form of tea, for instant relief.
  • They improve the quality and flow of the breast milk when breastfeeding, if consumed in the form of a juice.
  • Like other parts of the tree, the flower juice also encourages urination, which helps in treating as well as preventing several urinary problems.

Pods

  • The pods or fruits of moringa are also known as drumsticks and they taste like asparagus.
  • These drumsticks, especially the raw peas inside these sticks, are a rich source of fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamin C, which helps in treating problems related to the liver and the spleen.
  • High protein and fiber content in pods, helps in treating diarrhea.
  • These fruits are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is helpful in maintaining proper vision. Consumption of the pods helps in preventing night blindness and other eye problems in children as well as adults.

Roots

  • A mixture of pounded moringa roots and salt is made into a poultice, which is extremely beneficial for treating rheumatism, relieving arthritic pain, and minimizing lower back or kidney pain.
  • They are also helpful in treating cardiac as well as circulatory problems.

Other Benefits

  • It can be used as a source of bio-fuel.
  • Cooking oil can also be produced from this magical tree. The oil can offer several health benefits that one can get from sunflower oil and olive oil.

Moringa contains more than 90 nutrients and 46 types of antioxidants. With the endless health benefits, it can be termed as the most nutritious tree on the earth. There are no known side-effects of this magical tree, till date. However, it may interact with certain medications; for instance, if it is taken with drugs like aspirin or other blood thinners, it can increase the risk of bleeding. Hence, you can consult your health care professional, even if you have a slightest doubt about its side effects, prior to consumption. Apart from these possible side effects, it can be easily consumed by children as well as adults, as it is the most natural form of herb without any chemicals, even when consumed as a food supplement. Many people have already started using it in salads, porridge, pastas, breads, etc., to reap the everlasting health benefits of this extraordinary ‘Miracle Tree’.

Sudden Weight Loss Causes

To remain fit and healthy is every individual’s desire. In this quest, people undertake many measures like eating right, working out, playing a sport, etc. Losing weight due to regular exercise or following a healthy diet is normal, but losing weight without doing either, is a cause of concern. Sudden weight loss occurring in a short period of time can be an underlying symptom of various health issues―physical as well as mental―and should be brought to the notice of a doctor immediately.

Various health issues like Addison’s disease, cancer, celiac disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Crohn’s disease, dementia, depression, diabetes, eating disorders, HIV/AIDS, hypercalcemia, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), narcotics, Parkinson’s disease, peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis etc., may cause unexpected weight loss.

Underlying Reasons Behind Sudden Weight Loss

Addison’s Disease
This condition is also known as chronic adrenal insufficiency. This disorder occurs when hormones like aldosterone and cortisol are produced in insufficient quantities by the adrenal glands. This medical condition can be life-threatening if neglected. Sudden weight loss is one of the symptoms of Addison’s disease.

Cancer
Sudden loss of weight is a common symptom observed in individuals with cancer. This happens because the cancerous tumors present in the body increase the body’s metabolism, due of which the body is able to burn calories faster, thus leading to excess weight loss. Some people may also experience an unexplained weight loss while undergoing treatment for cancer.

Celiac Disease
In this digestive condition, the lining of the small intestine gets damaged due to an adverse reaction to gluten. This condition is characterized by an inability to absorb certain nutrients. Weight loss occurs due to malabsorption of vital nutrients, followed by other complications that affect the liver, kidneys, peripheral nervous system and brain.

Chronic Diarrhea
Diarrhea is caused when one consumes the wrong type of food or catches a viral infection called gastroenteritis. It is something that most people have experienced at some point in their life. Though such type of diarrhea can be treated with antibiotics, people who suffer from diarrhea for more than four weeks are said to have chronic diarrhea. When an individual has diarrhea for more than four weeks, weight loss is most likely to occur.

COPD
A group of lung diseases that block the airflow, leading to breathing difficult, are known as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). This condition comprises emphysema (air sacks at the smallest air passages in the lungs are destroyed) and chronic bronchitis (the lining of the bronchial tubes are inflamed). In later stages of COPD, unintended weight loss is observed.

Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease is a rare disease that affects different areas of the digestive tract, causing inflammation of the tract lining. It leads to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, and in some cases malnutrition. It is a painful and debilitating disease that may be life-threatening, if not diagnosed and treated on time.

Dementia
Dementia is not really a disease, but is a group of symptoms relating to certain diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease. It involves the loss of brain function, causing loss of memory, feeling confused, slurred speech, etc. Weight loss due to dementia is rare, but not unheard of. It persists in severe cases, when the patient has no memory if he/she has eaten food or not.

Depression
A mental condition that is characterized by the persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest is known as depression. Among the various symptoms of depression, the most primary one is the weight loss due to lack of appetite, or even excessive weight gain due to overeating.

Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease characterized by elevated blood sugar level. Usually, if the sugar level goes higher than normal, the most common symptoms are excessive thirst, and unexplained weight loss. This is because, the excess sugar does not get absorbed by the kidneys, and as a result of which, it is passed in the urine. Every time sugar is passed in the urine, the diabetic feels thirsty, and tries to quench it with water, sodas, coffee, etc. This, in turn, makes the sugar levels rise and thus, the cycle goes on. This cycle is what causes the sudden weight loss in diabetics.

Eating Disorders
An eating disorder due to which people obsess about what they eat and how much they weigh, is called anorexia nervosa. Usually, people with anorexia nervosa, starve themselves, or indulge in excessive exercising. On the other hand, bulimia nervosa is when an individual restricts the intake of food, by vomiting after eating, consuming large amounts of laxatives or diuretics, and exercising excessively to lose weight.

Both these eating disorders should be treated quickly as these can turn life-threatening, especially anorexia, which is very common among teenage girls. People usually do this so that they can cope with emotional problems, as anorexia and bulimia are more mental conditions rather than physical ones.

HIV/AIDS
A chronic and life-threatening condition caused due to HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is known as AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). HIV interferes with the body’s resistance towards diseases and infections by damaging the immune system. There are many other diseases which cause sudden loss of weight that accompany HIV or AIDS (as the immune system is already depleted, the body is like an open playground for various diseases), like tuberculosis (TB), salmonellosis, cytomegalovirus (CMV), candidiasis, toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidiosis, cancer, wasting syndrome, and kidney disease.

Hypercalcemia
High calcium levels in the blood is known as hypercalcemia. Calcium is required for the maintaining bone density, contracting muscles, ensuring proper functioning of the brain and nerves, and also releasing hormones. When the parathyroid glands (glands that regulate blood calcium level) are overactive, it leads to hypercalcemia. This condition can go undetected, for years, if it is not in a very advanced stage, as the signs and symptoms are not severe. Although, in later stages, loss of appetite, excessive thirst, constipation, are some of the symptoms. Sudden loss of weight occurs in those who have hypercalcemia, due to the loss of appetite.

Hyperthyroidism
The excessive production of the hormone thyroxine, by the thyroid gland, is known as hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid. Sudden weight loss, sweating, nervousness, irritability, and rapid or irregular heartbeat, are caused due to the acceleration of the body’s metabolism because of hyperthyroidism.

Narcotics
Consuming narcotics like cocaine, heroine, amphetamines, etc., suppresses the appetite, causing weight loss. Stimulant and drug abusers often go on binges to soothe their cravings for drugs, wherein they avoid eating or sleeping for days at a time. This unhealthy lifestyle choice leads to various health problems and even possible death.

Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a condition that affects the nervous system of the body, caused due to the dopamine-generating cells in the substantia nigra, a region of the midbrain. It is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system, for which a cure has still not been found. Some of the symptoms of this medical condition are, stiffness in limbs, restriction in movement, slurred and soft speech, decreased ability to perform involuntary movements like blinking, smiling, swing the arms while walking, etc.; uncontrolled body movements like tremors and shaking of limbs, slowed movements, changes in handwriting, impaired posture and also balance problems. Sudden weight loss due to the uncontrolled tremors and loss of appetite is common with people who have Parkinson’s disease.

Peptic Ulcer
Open sores that develop on the inner lining of the esophagus, stomach and upper portion of the small intestine are called peptic ulcers. They are caused due to prolonged consumption of certain medication or bacterial infection. The most common symptoms of peptic ulcers are vomiting blood (red- or black-colored), unexpected weight loss, appetite changes, and dark blood in stools.

Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition that causes long-lasting inflammation in certain areas of the digestive tract. It is an inflammatory bowel disease which usually affects the innermost lining of the large intestine and rectum. The symptoms of this condition include, rectal bleeding, rectal pain, bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps and pain, and an inability to move the bowels, in spite of the urge to do so, and unintended weight loss.

It is also fairly normal to experience weight loss after you recover from an illness, or stress of bereavement, changing jobs, or a divorce. However, if the unexpected weight loss was not due to any of these causes, then it should not be overlooked and should be reported to your medical healthcare professional immediately.

Birth Control Pills and Thyroid Disease

One of the most common and uncomplicated measures of birth control are the birth control pills. A birth control pill or combined oral contraceptive pill is a combination of progestin and estrogen, both of which are female sex hormones. Regular intake of birth control pills inhibit fertility of women. Apart from the combination pills, these pills are also available with only progestin; which are called mini pills. Similar to many other medications, that are prescribed for several health conditions and diseases, birth control pills also have higher chances of drug interactions. One of the common problems which is inquired about by women is about the effects of birth control pills on the thyroid glands.

How Does the Birth Control Pill Affect Your Thyroid Glands

The Pills
Before we move ahead, one needs to learn about female reproductive system and the functioning of birth control pills. When female gamete starts to mature, the cells around it start to produce estrogen, which is an important female sex hormone. These increasing levels of estrogen work as an indication for pituitary glands, that then release high level of luteinising hormone. This hormone alerts the ovaries to release the egg, which then starts its journey towards fertilization and pregnancy. The reason to bring forward this process of reproduction, is to clearly state the working mechanism of pills. The job of the birth control pills is to slow down or stop the process of ovulation, which is the root cause of pregnancy. In other words, formulation of pills avert chances of production of female gametes which cause fertilization.

Do They Affect
As I explained in the introduction, there are two types of birth control pills. One type of pills are combination pills and the second type of pills are the mini pills that contain only progestin. These pills not only avoid maturation of eggs, but they also act as a thick barrier for sperms. There are two things that might help us to explain the exact connection between birth control pills and thyroid disease. First of all, birth control pills change and control hormones of a female body and hence, the entire body system needs to adapt to such change. Secondly, pills are taken on a daily basis and hence, there is an increased possibility of side effects of the pills. There are quite a few theories which try to claim and deny the connection between birth control pills and thyroid problem.

Thyroid Efficiency
According to one claim, the experts suggest that the thyroid hormone is extremely sensitive when it comes to increased levels of other hormones, except thyroid stimulating hormones. Many times, it is also observed that mini pills or estrogen in birth control pills causes reduction in the efficiency of thyroid hormones and thyroid glands. As a result, a woman’s body starts to secrete more thyroid hormone. It is also the reason why women thyroid levels are higher than those of men. This is also a possible reason behind several thyroid diseases like hyperthyroidism and less active or inactive thyroid glands. As a solution to this problem, women who are on pills are also prescribed with thyroid supplements that balance out estrogen and thyroid levels.

Thyroid Replacement
One can also trace connection between thyroid glands and birth control pills, in case of the women who are prescribed thyroid replacement supplements. Hence, women who are popping the replacement pills should also consume dietary supplements that are prescribed for increasing thyroid levels. This becomes necessary if those women are popping pills. This will not only manage the thyroid levels but also the higher levels of estrogen. As a result, the possibility of thyroid diseases can be negated, if any. Similar to pills, human growth hormone or HGH supplements also partially block thyroid hormones. However, HGH also helps thyroid glands in the process of growth and development.

After Stopping The Pill
Yet another thing that confuses women is the fact that many women are diagnosed with thyroid disease after they stop taking pills. Hence, they want to know whether they will also fall for similar diagnoses. It is important to understand here that the chances of such things are equal and hence, it is pretty hard to judge. Some women return to normal life after stopping the pills, some women take time to adapt the pill-free lifestyle. While quite a few of them suffer with such diseases and health conditions. Hence, when in doubt, one needs to clear them away with the help of proper tests and consultation with the health care provider.

The Conclusion
Last and most important point to remember is that pills do affect the thyroid glands to a certain extent. Whether they cause any kind of thyroid diseases is not yet proven, but they do affect test results of thyroid hormone. This happens when a woman is popping both birth control and thyroid pills together. As a result, experts advice women to inform the doctor about such things, prior to performing any hormonal tests. Chances of such occurrences and interaction are extremely rare and mostly in case of women who have some pre-existent thyroid diseases.

However, as a parting note, all that I can say is that one should not deny the connection between birth control pills and thyroid disease and so, women should consult their health care provider prior to opting for this mode of contraception!

Symptoms of Overactive Thyroid

Overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism can be defined as the secretion of thyroid hormones in excessive quantities. One of the major causes of an overactive thyroid is the Grave’s disease. This leads to the growth of the thyroid gland by almost twice the original size. Overactive thyroid is found particularly in women belonging to the age group of around 30 – 40 years. There are some very obvious and some not so obvious symptoms than can indicate an individual is suffering from an overactive thyroid. Though, it is not necessary that the patient will exhibit all the mentioned symptoms together.

Overactive Thyroid Symptoms

There are many symptoms of an overactive thyroid, and these differ from person to person, and also across different age groups. The signs that have been discussed here are the most common symptoms of an overactive thyroid:

Symptom Description
Loss in Weight A person might continuously lose weight on account of an overactive thyroid irrespective of the amount of food consumed. Weight loss occurs as all the functions of the body speed up.
Mood Swings An individual suffering from an overactive thyroid may experience a lot of mood swings for no evident reason. He or she will also show signs on nervousness and getting irritated at the smallest possible reason.
Frequent Washroom Visits Another change one can experience is an increased number of visits to the washroom, either for stools or/and passing urine. The frequency increase is easily noticeable as compared to normal circumstances.

Less Interest in Sex Another obvious symptom of hyperthyroidism is the loss of interest in sex.
Appetite Increase An increase in one’s appetite also takes place due to an overactive thyroid, and becomes too obvious to go unnoticed. This can hold true even for a person who originally didn’t have an above average appetite.
Sweating in Excess A person tends to sweat more than the usual rate as a result of increase in the speed of metabolic activities.

Breathing Problems Oversecretion of thyroid hormones may lead to difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath. These symptoms are observed mostly while performing heavy physical activities such as workouts.
Feeling Tired One of the many symptoms of thyroid gland problems is fatigue or feeling tired. The reason behind this might be the excessive sweating and loss of energy.
Osteoporosis Overactive thyroid, if left untreated for a long time, might lead to a disease called osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a bone disease, wherein the bones tend to weaken and become more prone to fractures.
Nausea Individuals suffering from overactive thyroid may suffer from nausea since there is discomfort and uneasiness experienced in the stomach.
Insomnia A person might experience difficulty in getting a sound sleep at night. The reason behind this may be the increase in the rate of bodily functions. This symptom is also termed as sleep deprivation. A person who has not been able to sleep for the whole night would automatically feel tired the next day.
Hair Loss Overactive thyroid can also have adverse effects on the person’s hair. A person might suffer from hair loss. The rate of hair loss increases and the person loses more hair than usual in these cases.
Goiter Goiter is one of the results of an overactive thyroid, wherein a lump is formed in the neck. Goiter is also caused due to the deficiency of iodine in the body.
Increase in Heartbeat A person suffering from overactive thyroid is also found suffering from an increase in the rate of heartbeat. The heartbeat tends to go above 100 beats per minute in such cases.
Eye Problems In hyperthyroidism, there are peculiar eye changes which are visible as protruding eyes. There is less movement of the muscles around the eyeball and the eyelids are retracted. Risk of infection of the eyes and visibility problems are increased in people suffering from hyperthyroidism.

Other symptoms of thyroid gland problems exhibited by a person are warm and moist skin, irritability, increase in the bowel movements, and irregular menstrual periods. Women may find it difficult to conceive. Periodic paralysis is also found mostly in people of Asian origin.

Overactive thyroid is a serious disorder as it affects the functioning of the whole body, and thus leads to a variety of problems. These problems affect a person’s health and lifestyle. The symptoms can turn serious causing severe damage to the body. It is therefore suggested to seek consultation from a specialist or a doctor in this regard without any delay. Today, there are many treatments available that could help a person to get rid of this problem or at least alleviate some of the symptoms. Beta Blockers and Thyrostatics are the short-term remedies, while undergoing surgery or a radioisotope therapy could permanently cure the problem of an overactive thyroid.
Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/symptoms-of-overactive-thyroid.html

Underactive Thyroid Diet

An underactive thyroid in medical terms is called hypothyroidism. It means an abnormally low production of thyroid hormone. About 3 to 5% of the population is affected with this condition. When a person has an underactive thyroid, he has a lower metabolic rate, which leads to weight gain. The other symptoms noticed include tiredness, heavy and irregular periods, depression, constipation, dry skin and hair, etc. In addition to under-performing thyroid glands, the adrenals too do not perform at par. When the body notices that there is a lack of adrenalin, it sends a message urging the glands to start producing more adrenalin. Then it so happens that all the glands start producing, rather over-producing the hormone, and this leads to an imbalance in the body. This imbalance leads to weight gain and other problems.

A lot of people resort to a number of ‘fad’ diets available in the market to treat this condition. However, this is not the right method of battling the problem. It is important to choose correct foods, which will help in treating the symptoms of low thyroid. An underactive thyroid diet is the one, that boosts thyroid function, which in turn helps in balancing the hormones. At the same time, there are certain foods, which can slow down thyroid function, therefore should be avoided.

Constituents of the Diet

The diet for an underactive thyroid, if followed well, will help in keeping your weight gain in check. A certain amount of effort is required, but I am sure that you will take the pains if you want to stay in good shape or lose weight, more importantly, maintain your health.

Whole Food Diet
If you have hypothyroidism, it is recommended that you consume whole grains, seeds, unpolished brown rice, legumes and millet. Make vegetables and fruits your staple diet and have other food just to compliment the vegetables and fruits in your diet. If you are able to lay your hands on organically grown vegetables, it will be better.

Increase Iodine Consumption
In hypothyroidism people often suffer from low levels of iodine, therefore, it is recommended that you increase the consumption of iodine. Iodine rich foods include sea salt, iodized salt, eggs, dairy products and seafood. Other than these foods the vegan sources of iodine include onions, radishes and watercress.

Consume Vitamin E
Studies have shown that vitamin E consumed with iodine, increases absorption of iodine in the body. The results are remarkable and are observed immediately.

Consume Vitamin D
Along with vitamin E, it is important that your diet is also rich in vitamin D. There are a number of vitamin D rich foods, which can be a part of your diet. Along with these foods, you can also get your quota of vitamin D from the sun everyday.

Zinc
Studies have shown that zinc helps in improving thyroid gland functioning. Many patients suffering from an underactive thyroid, normally have low levels of zinc, after zinc supplements were given to them, there was remarkable improvement in the functioning of thyroid gland.

Avoid Caffeine
Caffeine leads to an upset glandular system, causing further damage to the system. Hence, it is advised that you avoid caffeine intake. Remember a number of soft drinks also contain caffeine, therefore along with tea and coffee, consumption of soft drinks should be controlled too.

Avoid Alcohol
Like caffeine alcohol is also to be avoided in diet for hypothyroidism. As alcohol creates havoc with the functioning of the glandular system, therefore, alcohol should not be consumed to arrest further damage to the system.

Avoid Low Nutrient and High Calorie Food Products
Processed food, sugar, fried foods, meat, saturated fats, alcohol, caffeine, etc. are foods which might give you a temporary high, but it will give you a permanent weight high too. Hence, these low on nutrient value and high on calories foods are best avoided.

Avoid Fluoride and Chlorine
Fluoride and chlorine block the absorption of iodine in the body. Reduced iodine results in a reduced hormone production, which is said to be the main cause of hypothyroidism. Hence, a person suffering from hypothyroidism is advised to keep away from fluoride and chlorine.

Avoid Goitrogens
These foods are known to hamper functioning of the thyroid gland, as they stop iodine from reaching the thyroid gland, therefore should be avoided. The foods that come under this category include cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, turnips, Brussels sprouts, peanuts, kale and soy flour.

Use Natural Thyroid Supplement
Using natural thyroid supplements is recommended, as they well support thyroid functioning and at the same time nourish your body. There are herbs available in the market, which are naturally rich in iodine. Iodine is required to bring balance to the thyroid glands. If you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak with your health care professional, before you increase your iodine intake.

Points to Remember about Hypothyroidism and Weight Loss

Along with the diet rules, there are certain rules, which will prove to be of help in the weight loss process. For most people weight loss has to be instantaneous. However, it cannot be. It is best to aim for a slower weight loss process, than to be dejected and give up. At the same time a crash diet does more harm than good to the system. It often results in loss of muscle mass, which further aggravates the problem. Having the right portion sizes is important. The ideal portion size of fruits and vegetables in a day is 5 portions and that of protein rich food is 2 servings. Often it is seen, that a lot of people change their medication in order to lose weight. However, it is not recommended. As is following a diet important, having an exercise program in place is equally important, if not more important.

It is important to follow the underactive thyroid diet to keep hypothyroidism under check. It is not difficult to follow the diet. The diet will not only help you improve the functioning of the thyroid glands, but it will also help you keeping your weight under control, weight issues are commonly seen in patients suffering from both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

Dealing with Migraine Headaches

The word ‘migraine’ is derived from a Greek word hemicrania, which means ‘half of the skull’. This is because, it mostly causes throbbing pain on one side of the head due to abnormal dilation or contraction of the blood vessels in the head. This pain is described differently by every individual. Some call it a headache behind the eyes, while others might feel the pain at the center of the temple. The exact cause is not clearly known, but there are some factors that tend to trigger such headaches. Anxiety, stress, excessive physical exertion, jet lag, change in sleeping pattern, fasting, skipping meals, change in weather, exposure to bright lights, loud sound, or unusual smell are some of the most common triggers. It is often linked to the consumption of certain foods and drinks like chocolate, cheese, alcohol, caffeine, etc. The hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy, menopause, and menstruation often lead to such headaches in many women.

Tips for Dealing with Headaches

People affected by this condition often take painkillers that are available over-the-counter for instant pain relief. However, these medicines should not be taken on a regular basis as they have potential side effects. Here are some tips that might help the affected person cope with such headaches:

Tip #1: When you have a migraine, you do not feel like doing anything. So, suspend all activities and simply take good amount of rest to relax yourself. Lie down for some time (20 – 30 minutes) in a dark, quiet room. This will make you feel better.

Tip #2: A gentle massage can give a lot of relief from the annoying headache. So, rub your fingers over the temple and the artery near the ear with a gentle pressure. Massage the neck and shoulders as well. This will improve the blood flow in these areas and ease off the tension from the muscles.

Tip #3: Wrap up an ice pack in a small towel and move it slowly over the painful spots of the scalp and around the neck area for at least 15 minutes. At the same time, soak your feet in a tub of warm water. This will improve blood circulation in the entire body, which in turn will bring down the pain.

Tip #4: There are a number of food items that you should avoid when you are trying to manage the annoying headaches. They are: chocolate, cheese, nuts, seeds, soy beans, caffeine, alcohol, etc. Refrain from consuming these foods at least for a month. Thereafter, re-introduce them one-at-a-time to check, if any of them are responsible for the headache or not. If you find any such food item, stop having it completely.

Tip #5: You need a sound sleep of at least 6 – 8 hours every night. Make sure that you maintain a regular sleeping time, and your bedtime and waking time should be the same every day.

Tip #6: Try to avoid going to places where you are exposed to loud music or any other sound and bright lights. Such stimulants aggravate the problem further.

Tip #7: Try to identify the triggers responsible for the headache. Maintain a diary where you note down the possible triggers, every time you are attacked by migraine. Once it is identified, you can prevent future headaches rather easily.

If you are getting such headaches quite frequently or for several days together, then you should consult a doctor for treatment. Along with the regular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), triptans might also be prescribed for pain relief. This class of medicines not only reduces the pain, but also provides relief from nausea, sensitivity towards light, and other such symptoms. In case, the pain is unbearable, the doctor may also prescribe opiates for a short term. They may also prescribe some medicines to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks. However, it is not advisable to use these medicines for a long time.

Tips for Mangosteen and Weight Loss

mangosteenWeight loss has always been a concern for many people. This leads them to take up weight reduction programs, eat less, exercise more, and so on. Many natural products are known to promote weight loss in human beings. Mangosteen is one such fruit which has lately become very popular to promote weight loss. Native to Southeast Asia, it is a delicious purple-colored fruit that is round in shape, and is in no way related to mangoes. This juicy fruit is enriched with several essential vitamins and minerals. It has less fat content, less calorific value, and is a rich source of antioxidants. One fruit contains around 5 gm of fiber and 60 calories. Since the fruit is cholesterol-free, it is good for people suffering from medical conditions related to high cholesterol levels in the body. Health benefits of mangosteen are plenty, however, these days this sour and sweet tasting fruit is mostly used as a tool for losing weight.

How Does Mangosteen Help in Weight Loss?

Mangosteen promotes weight loss through a number of ways. Firstly, it makes losing weight easy because of its natural appetite suppressant property. It promotes synthesis of glycogen in the body. When adequate levels of glycogen are produced and stored in the body, the brain receives a signal, which in turn suppresses the appetite. Secondly, this juicy fruit is known to increase metabolism in the body and enhance lipid breakdown as stated by the American Chemical Society. A study has established the fact that mangosteen speeds up fat-burning in the body. However, for it to be effective, its consumption in any of the available forms must be maintained regularly.

The fruit is also enriched with niacin, folate, thiamine, manganese, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin C. High content of xanthones, which have antioxidant properties protects the body against harmful effects of free radicals, supports the immune system, and improves digestion. A strong immune system improves the overall health of a person. High fiber content of mangosteen speeds up the metabolic rate and makes digestion more effective, thereby enhancing absorption of nutrients. With the absorption of adequate nutrients, the body feels that energy boost making people come out of their laziness and start exercising. Exercising when the body is full of energy makes weight loss easy.

To summarize, following a mangosteen diet helps in losing weight by increasing fat metabolism, suppressing the appetite naturally, and providing the extra boost of energy, which does not make the person feel starved even after working out.

How Can Mangosteen be Used to Reduce Weight?

Mangosteen is available in the form of tablets and capsules. People can also include its juice in their diet to reduce weight. Given below are a few pointers on when and how the juice must be taken to facilitate weight loss.

  • One serving of mangosteen juice is 8 oz. Maintain portions of juice consumed all through the day because juices contain natural or artificial sugars. To restrict the intake of calories in the form of sugar, try sticking to one serving at a time. If more than one serving is consumed at a time, it is better to reduce the juice intake for the rest of the day.
  • When feeling hungry, drink a glass of mangosteen juice. As the juice has natural appetite suppressant properties, you will not feel hungry, and at the same time get enough nutrients to support the body.
    You can either have a glass of juice before a meal or along with the meal. This will make you feel fuller and help you eat less.
  • Relying entirely on mangosteen for weight loss is not the right thing to do. You should combine its juice with the right amount of other fruits, vegetables, grains, lean meat, and dairy products with less amount of fat. The most important inclusion must be a lot of fiber in the diet, which will keep you full, restrict your diet and provide optimum amounts of carbohydrates, to keep you energized so that you can work out and burn your calories.
  • Along with mangosteen, you must not fail to maintain a regular workout plan of at least 30 minutes every day, to get rid of unwanted body fat.

Including mangosteen in the diet is a good way of weight reduction. However, it is advisable to consult a dietitian or a physician before beginning with the new diet. With regular intake of this fruit along with a regular exercising routine, a person can lose weight in a safe and effective way.