The 5 Most Common Thyroid Disorders

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

A person is holding their throat. Thyroid disorders affect about of 20 million Americans and 80% of incidences affect women.

Thyroid disorders affect upwards of 20 million Americans and 80% of incidences affect women. In fact, 1 in 8 women will experience some type of thyroid disorder in their lives. [1] Regardless, thyroid health is an issue of importance for both men and women. Your thyroid is part of your endocrine system and if it’s out of whack, it’s almost certain that your hormones will be as well. A healthy thyroid gland encourages positive well-being, metabolism, and energy levels. If your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, problems can result. Let’s take a look at the five most common.

1. Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid is overactive and produces an overabundance of T3/T4 hormones. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include goiter, heart palpitations, anxiety, excess sweating, diarrhea, weight loss, and muscle weakness. Its causes are as diverse as its symptoms. Grave’s Disease, thyroid nodules, and goiter all lead to inhibition of necessary hormone feedback loop and contribute to over production of thyroid hormones.

Conventional approaches to hyperthyroidism include beta­ blockers and anti­-thyroid medications, radioactive iodine­, and surgery. Natural approaches are numerous and often boil down to one thing: diet. Eliminating goitrogenic foods and avoiding fluoride, bromine, and chlorine are important. Reducing gluten and dairy casein may help protect the thyroid gland in some individuals. Nascent iodine, lithium orotate, probiotics, vitamin D3, omega­-3 fats, L­-dopa (mucuna pruriens), and L-tyrosine are supplements that can help support thyroid health. Getting enough sleep, deep breathing meditation, and general relaxation may also be helpful for reducing thyroid stress. [2] [3]

2. Hypothyroidism

On the opposite end of the spectrum, an under active thyroid which produces inadequate amounts of T3/T4 thyroid hormones is defined as hypothyroidism. Symptoms include tiredness, weight gain, cold intolerance, baldness, depression, dry skin/hair/nails, and irritability. Common causes include a thyroid deficiency from birth, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, nutritional iodine deficiency, pituitary gland abnormality, metal toxicity, and imbalance of good vs. bad bacteria.

The conventional approach is a synthetic hormone called Levothyroxine. With the exception of increasing exercise, the natural steps ­to reduce risk for hypothyroidism are exactly the same for hyperthyroidism. [4] Exercise may help boost thyroid hormones, providing support for a sluggish, under active gland.

3. Hashimoto’s Disease

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder whereby the thyroid gland is attacked by the immune system in response to antibodies produced by exposure to an allergen. This reacts with the cells and tissues of the thyroid, causing inflammation and destruction of the gland, ultimately leading to hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism. Fatigue, cold intolerance, constipation, goiter, weight gain, paleness/puffiness in face, sleepiness, joint/muscle pain, dry/brittle hair, and depression are common symptoms. [5]

Medical experts believe that viruses, bacteria, and other foreign substances initiate the process of Hashimoto’s disease autoimmunity. Iodine deficiency in conjunction with fluoride/chlorine/bromine exposure may also be a contributing factor. A gluten allergy may be another hidden culprit behind Hashimoto’s disease. Vitamin D deficiency and flora imbalances are also common concerning factors. The approaches are similar to that of hypothyroidism. Additionally, current research explores selenium supplementation as a possible approach to thyroid health and reducing the effects of Hashimoto’s disease.[6]

4. Grave’s Disease

Similar to Hashimoto’s disease, Grave’s disease is an autoimmune disorder where the thyroid gland is attacked by the immune system. This confuses the cells of the thyroid, causing inflammation and the overproduction of T3/T4 thyroid hormones, eventually leading to an overactive thyroid.[7]

Symptoms include anxiety, heart palpitations, goiter, hand tremors, weight loss, insomnia, irritability, muscle weakness, diarrhea, heat intolerance, and eye problems. The causes are very similar to Hashimoto’s disease and the approaches are generally the same as hyperthyroidism.

5. Thyroiditis

Thyroiditis is swelling or inflammation of the thyroid gland and there are a few types:

  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Postpartum thyroiditis potentially caused by autoimmune response, often in two phases:
    • The first phase occurs months 1 through 4 postpartum, resulting in hyperthyroidism.
    • The second phase generally lasts from months 4 through 8 postpartum and often results in a hypothyroid condition due to the exhaustion of thyroid hormones in the earlier phase. Recovery usually happens naturally 12-­18 months postpartum.
  • Silent/painless thyroiditis, similar to postpartum but not related to birth.
  • Sub acute thyroiditis, similar to the others but causes pain in jaw/neck/ear, possibly from autoimmunity or infection.

Iodine deficiency in conjunction with fluoride/chlorine/bromine displacement may be a contributing factor for thyroiditis. Gluten allergy, vitamin D deficiency, and dysbiosis may also be factors associated with the condition. Depending on the type of thyroiditis, medications usually vary depending on whether it presents initially with hyper­- or hypothyroidism. [8]

Is Your Thyroid Healthy?

Thyroid disorders affect millions of Americans yearly, and the numbers grow with each passing year. Research suggests that much of the causation is likely due to lifestyle factors such as constant exposure to a toxic environment, the consumption of chemically laden food and water, as well as a deficiency of certain nutrients. Have you experienced any issues with your thyroid? How did you deal with it? Please leave a comment below and share your experience with us.

References (8)
  1. American Thyroid Association. Thyroid Disease. Fact Sheet.
  2. Delitala G, Masala A, et al. Plasma prolactin response to L­dopa TRH and metaclopramide in thyrotoxicosis. Biomedicine. 1976 Jul;25(5):173­6.
  3. NIH/NEMDS. Hyperthyroidism. National Institute of Health. Fact Sheet.
  4. JNIG/NEMDS. Hypothyroidism. Fact Sheet.
  5. NIH/NEMDS. Hashimoto's Disease. Fact Sheet.
  6. Zagrodzki, P, and J Kryczyk. “[The Importance of Selenium in Hashimoto’s Disease.]” Postȩpy higieny i medycyny doświadczalnej (Online). 68. (18 Sept. 2014): 1129–37. 26 July 2016.
  7. NIH/NEMDS. Grave's Disease. Fact Sheet.
  8. Office of Women's Health/U.S. HHS. Thyroid disease. Fact Sheet.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • Patriotgirl

    I was first diagnosed with Graves’ disease 11 years and immediately my physician said you need radioactive iodine. Beta blockers have too many side effects and most likely your disease will return. My eyes began bulging, tearing up, and ached badly during the “hot” phase as its called which lasted about a year…my eyes settled back down some but not to my pre-hyperthyroid state, but better. How I wish I was more savvy on nutrition and its role in getting my condition under control. I would have rather got to the root cause and try a nutrion also route than having my thyroid permanently damaged. My doc had me on synthriod for years and would not let me try a natural product like armour, I finally found a doc who put me on armour thyroid and what a difference from being on synthetic brands. I work out 3-4 days a week, cut out sugar and eat mostly non-GMO foods and take quality “whole food” supplements and feel and look great….bottom line is change your eating habits, eat organic food as much possible, cut the sugar out and exercise…

  • Jimmy Mach

    I was among six in the nation back in the early 50s to be born without a thyroid gland. It is still considered hypothyroidism. By the time the physician discovered my problem, I was already 2 years old, very stocky in physique and heavier in weight than my peers. I was put on .2 mg of Synthroid daily (200 mcg if you use the metric system). But throughout my youth, I was quite skinny and underweight topping out at about 100 lbs by the time I was 19.

    While in my 30s, I started having problems with weight gain again. I was married back then and my wife was a good cook, so needless to say, I ate more than I should. It is also at the age that most individuals tend to gain weight because due to a natural slowdown in metabolism in that age group.

    However, there are other factors to take into consideration. It was the early 1980s and soy products (mostly in our processed foods) decreases the effectiveness of thyroid medication. It was also the era of GMOs, so wheat and some other grains are not as healthy as it use to be. It definitely does a number on hormones. So does our environment that is heavy on toxins.

    So it leaves me with a question concerning my present physique. I have read that toxins give an appearance of a bloated mid section, as well as the wheat belly. It also affects hormones in the male which gives the appearance of the male boobs. Good thing I didn’t have that problem back in school. But I am now 62 years of age and I am trying to make some changes that will hopefully correct the problems.

    I no longer use a microwave and have changed to glass containers, using less plastic as much as possible. I joined a health club to work on the physique and being more conscientious about what I eat as I cut down on the processed foods. There is so much to take into consideration, but for now, I am taking small steps. I doubt that having my thyroid dosage increased would be the answer, mostly due to the reason that synthetic thyroid medication is not necessarily the solution. I would love to have a naturopathic physician, but my insurance does not cover that practice at the present time. If you have any suggestions or comments, feel free to email me at jmm51452@gmail.com.

  • 90forlife

    Why is the importance of selenium not mentioned at all?

  • dlpg9

    How can I find out if I have sub-acute thyroiditis? I have pain in my right neck,jaw and ear frequently. What is the treatment for sub-acute thyroiditis? I am currently taking 200mcg synthroid. I have. Fibromyalgia, low thyroid, low d3, pernicious anemia, arthritis and my body does not absorb OTC vitamins.

  • Ethel Rose Gica Basit

    My mother was diagnosed with toxic goiter. What is toxic goiter, is it the hypothyroidism o grave’s disease? Thank u

  • I’m not sure I follow… what’s her situation?

  • Francine LoStocco

    Isn’t it the goal, of big pharma, to keep the endocrine disrupted, to promote illness so the average person, becomes a consumer of drugs, from the cradle to the grave. The endocrine system is responsible for running the body. It is a sensitive process, if one part is off, you will have symptoms, that will require treatment. You will now die right away, but you will be sick. Long term sickness. They are laughing all the way to the bank.

  • BigD

    My 15 yr old daughter was recently diagnosed with Hashimotos. Her endocrinologist started her on synthroid about 2 months ago. Currently she doing blood tests every month or so to deterime the correct dosage. I purchased your nacent iodine for myself but wanted to know if she were to take it, would there be any necesary risks or benefits? She has changed her diet to gluten free, mainly organic and has instituted an number of the foods needed for thyroid health. We also have a nutritionist working with her. She is also very athletic and a competative club volleyball player constantly training (so in really good shape). I look forward to your response.

  • It’s not always a good idea to take supplemental iodine if you have Hashimoto’s. I’d bring up the idea to her doctor or dietician who has a little more first hand knowledge of her individual situation.

  • JoelHarman

    How this Hyperthyroidism occurs. Will it have any age frequencies?? My friend got sick with this a month ago. He’s only 23!!


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