Thyroid Diseases Treatment and Moringa as Natural Treatment

Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, just above your collarbone. It is one of your endocrine glands, which make hormones. Thyroid hormones control the rate of many activities in your body. These include how fast you burn calories and how fast your heart beats. All of these activities are your body's metabolism.

Thyroid problems include

Goiter - enlargement of the thyroid gland
Hyperthyroidism - when your thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormones than your body needs
Hypothyroidism - when your thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormones
Thyroid cancer
Thyroid nodules - lumps in the thyroid gland
Thyroiditis - swelling of the thyroid
To diagnose thyroid diseases, doctors use a medical history, physical exam, and thyroid tests. They sometimes also use a biopsy. Treatment depends on the problem, but may include medicines, radioiodine therapy, or thyroid surgery.

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck just below the Adam's apple. It’s part of an intricate network of glands called the endocrine system. The endocrine system is responsible for coordinating many of the body's activities. The thyroid gland manufactures hormones that regulate the body's metabolism (the process of creating and using energy). There are several different disorders that can arise when the thyroid produces too much hormone (hyperthyroidism) or not enough (hypothyroidism).

Four common thyroid disorders include Hashimoto's disease, Graves' disease, goiter, and thyroid nodules.

Hashimoto’s Disease
Hashimoto's disease is also known as chronic lymphatic thyroiditis. It’s the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. It can occur at any age, but it’s most common in middle-aged
women. The disease occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and slowly destroys the thyroid gland and its ability to produce hormones.

Some people with mild cases of Hashimoto's disease may have no obvious symptoms. The disease can remain stable for years and symptoms are often subtle. They’re also not specific, which means they mimic symptoms of many other conditions. Symptoms include:

mild weight gain
dry skin
dry, thinning hair
pale, puffy face
heavy and irregular menstruation
intolerance to cold
enlarged thyroid (goiter)

Hashimoto’s Diagnosis and Treatment
Testing the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is often the first step when screening for any type of thyroid disorder. Your doctor might order a blood test to check for increased levels of TSH as well as low levels of thyroid hormone (T3 or T4) if you’re experiencing some of the above symptoms. Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder, so the blood test would also show abnormal antibodies that might be attacking the thyroid.

There is no known cure for Hashimoto's disease. Hormone-replacing medication is often used to raise thyroid hormone levels or lower TSH levels. It can also help relieve the symptoms of the disease. Surgery might be necessary to remove part or all of the thyroid gland in rare advanced cases of Hashimoto’s. The disease is usually detected at an early stage and remains stable for years because it progresses slowly.

Graves' Disease
Graves’ disease was named for the doctor who first described it more than 150 years ago. It’s the most common cause of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). It’s an autoimmune disorder and occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland. This can cause the gland to overproduce the hormone responsible for regulating metabolism. The disease is hereditary and may develop at any age in men or women, but it’s much more common in women ages 20 to 30, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Other risk factors include stress, pregnancy, and smoking.

The body's systems speed up and cause symptoms that are common to hyperthyroidism when there’s a high level of thyroid hormone in the bloodstream. Symptoms include:

hand tremors
increased or irregular heartbeat
excessive sweating
difficulty sleeping
diarrhea or frequent bowel movements
altered menstrual cycle
enlarged thyroid (goiter)
bulging eyes and vision problems

Graves’ Disease Diagnosis and Treatment
A simple physical exam can reveal an enlarged thyroid, enlarged bulging eyes, and signs of increased metabolism, including rapid pulse and high blood pressure. Your doctor will also order blood tests to check for high levels of thyroxine (T4) and low levels of TSH, both of which are signs of Graves' disease. A radioactive iodine uptake might also be administered to measure how quickly the thyroid takes up iodine, which it needs to function properly. A high uptake of iodine is consistent with Graves' disease.

There is no treatment to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid gland and causing it to overproduce hormones. However, the symptoms of Graves' disease can be controlled in several ways, often with a combination of treatments:

beta blockers to control rapid heart rate, anxiety, and sweating
anti-thyroid medications to prevent the thyroid from producing excessive amounts of hormone
radioactive iodine to destroy all or part of the thyroid
surgery to remove the thyroid gland, a permanent option for patients who cannot tolerate anti-thyroid drugs or radioactive iodine
Successful hyperthyroidism treatment usually results in hypothyroidism. You’ll have to take hormone-replacement medication from that point forward. Graves' disease can lead to heart problems and brittle bones if it’s left untreated.

Goiter is a noncancerous enlargement of the thyroid gland. The most common cause of goiter worldwide is iodine deficiency in the diet. Goiter is often caused by (and a symptom of) hyperthyroidism in the United States, where iodized salt provides plenty of iodine. Goiter can affect anyone at any age, especially in areas of the world where foods rich in iodine are in short supply. However, goiters are more common after the age of 40 and in women, who are more likely to have thyroid disorders. Other risk factors include family medical history, certain medication usage, pregnancy, and radiation exposure.

There might not be any symptoms if the goiter is not severe. The goiter may cause one or more of the following symptoms if it grows large enough, depending on the size:

swelling/tightness in the neck
breathing and/or swallowing difficulties
coughing or wheezing
hoarseness of voice

Goiter Diagnosis and Treatment
Your doctor will feel the neck area and have you swallow during a routine physical exam. Blood tests will reveal the levels of thyroid hormone, TSH, and antibodies in the bloodstream. This will diagnose thyroid disorders that are often a cause of goiter. An ultrasound of the thyroid can check for swelling or nodules.

Goiter is usually treated only when it becomes severe enough to cause symptoms. You can take small doses of iodine if goiter is the result of iodine deficiency. Radioactive iodine can shrink the thyroid gland. Surgery will remove all or part of the gland. The treatments usually overlap because goiter is often a symptom of hyperthyroidism.

Goiters are often associated with highly treatable thyroid disorders, such as Graves' disease, and aren’t usually a cause for concern. However, they can cause serious complications if they’re left untreated. These complications can include difficulty breathing and swallowing.

Thyroid Nodules
Thyroid nodules are growths that form on or in the thyroid gland. The causes are not always known but can include iodine deficiency and Hashimoto's disease. The nodules can be solid or fluid-filled. Most are benign, but they can also be cancerous in a small percentage of cases. As with other thyroid-related problems, nodules are more common in women than men and the risk in both sexes increases with age.

Most thyroid nodules do not cause any symptoms. However, if they grow large enough, they can cause swelling in the neck and lead to breathing and swallowing difficulties, pain, and goiter. Some nodules produce thyroid hormone, causing abnormally high levels in the bloodstream. When this happens, symptoms are similar to those of hyperthyroidism and can include:

high pulse rate
increased appetite
weight loss
clammy skin

On the other hand, symptoms will be similar to hypothyroidism if the nodules are associated with Hashimoto's disease. This includes:

weight gain
hair loss
dry skin
cold intolerance

Thyroid Nodules Diagnosis and Treatment
Most nodules are detected during a normal physical exam. They can also be detected during an ultrasound, CT scan, or an MRI. Once a nodule is detected, other procedures — TSH test and a thyroid scan — can check for hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. A fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy is used to take a sample of cells from the nodule and determine whether the nodule is cancerous.

Benign thyroid nodules are not life threatening and usually don't need treatment. Typically, nothing is done to remove the nodule if it doesn’t change over time. Your doctor may do another biopsy and recommend radioactive iodine to shrink the nodules if it grows.

Cancerous nodules are pretty rare — according to the National Cancer Institute, thyroid cancer affects barely 4 percent of the population. The treatment your doctor recommends will vary depending on the type of tumor. Removing the thyroid through surgery is usually the treatment of choice. Radiation therapy is sometimes used with or without surgery. Chemotherapy is often required if the cancer spreads to other parts of the body.

Make sure to discuss the diagnosis and treatment options with your doctor if you have a thyroid condition. Take any medication as prescribed. You should also report any serious side effects or symptoms.

Moringa Olefeira

Moringa seems to be having a regulatory action on the thyroid gland. For example, people with Grave’s disease or overactive thyroid find significant improvement in their symptoms on regular use of Moringa supplements. Inflammatory conditions of the thyroid such as Hashimoto’s disease could be resolved without medication if Moringa is consumed regularly.

In addition to herbal products, ground thyroid extract of animal origin was widely used for the treatment of hypothyroidism. Synthetic thyroid hormones are available as the counter (OTC) preparations. Animal thyroid gland extract contains a combination of T4 and T3 hormones which widely vary in amount from batch to batch. Sometimes they have higher T3 level than human thyroid gland directly secretes it on a daily basis. When you select a drug for hypothyroidism it should be free from any side effects or lead to any other worst condition.
Moringa leaf extract can improve your general health. It is capable of regulating the activity of the hyper functioning systems in the human body. This activity will change depending on body’s requirements. The TSH level associated inversely with T3 and T4 levels. Trials were conducted with different herbal extracts to induced hypothyroidism in animal models. One group, which received maximum moringa leaf extract dose showed maximum percentage increase in concentration of T3 and T4 hormones.

A maximum percentage decrease in TSH levels was observed when compared to the other dose levels. This clearly proves that the impact was dose effective and the moringa oleifera leaf extracts can be used in hypothyroidism condition. T3, T4 and TSH concentration for 7 days along with their dosage increase or decrease in relation to the control values in male rats was observed Thyroid hormones play important role on growth and development of the body and regulate metabolism. So, with an increase in thyroid activity, marked changes in thyroid hormone production, metabolism and action occur. This may result in an increased prevalence of sub-clinical thyroid disease that is associated with thyroid dysfunction.

Many factors can have the impact on the concentration of these hormones. Thyroid hormone imbalance can disturb general body metabolism. Thiocyanate compounds from tobacco, smoke, percholorate and drugs contain different amounts of iodine. All these can affect structure and functions of thyroid hormones.

TSH level was inversely associated with T4 levels but the levels of T3 were independent. Elevated TSH level can directly reveal impaired thyroid hormone production. The remaining T3 production is dependent on the peripheral conversion of T4 to T3 which is dependent on many factors that include, drugs, bioavailability of enzyme deiodonase disease. In all these conditions inactive T3 form is secreted instead of T3 causing hormone imbalance and functions.

Another study showed Ocimum Sanctum (holy basil) leaf extract has not brought significant changes in serum T3 level, T3/T4 ratio and in serum cholesterol level. HDL levels increased while total cholesterol and LDL levels decreased remarkably. Relationship between serum lipid parameters and thyroid hormones has been studied with various herbal extracts.

Results confirmed the presence of an inverse relationship between thyroxin serum levels and cholesterol. Other studies demonstrated the impact of iodothyronine on the catabolism of the Very Low Density Lipoprotein (VLDL). Increase in LDL and VLDL levels were observed in untreated hypothyroidism.

In some studies it is shown that total and LDL cholesterol are increased in hypothyroidism In a population-based study in older women, in women with high TSH, LDL cholesterol is found 13 % higher, HDL cholesterol 12% lower and total cholesterol, although not statistically significant, 8% higher than women with normal TSH levels.

Presence of hypercholesterolemia in clinical hypothyroidism is well established. It is also reported that total cholesterol and LDL levels are increased in patients with clinical hypothyroidism. This occurs due to the decreased LDL-receptors’ activity. This results in decreased catabolism of LDL. Moringa oleifera extracts is useful in hypothyroidism as it is increasing the T3 and T4 hormone levels and decreasing TSH. It is used in hypercholesterolemia where it decreases the total cholesterol.

More research studies are yet to be carried to identify the exact mechanism of action of thyroid hormone regulation with moringa oleifera leaf extract. Evaluation of the herbal supplement indicated that this extract is stimulant to thyroid functions. Moringa powder capsules consumption is safe for handling hypothyroidism effectively as well as in reducing total cholesterol levels.

Dept. of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health:
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