In today’s busy world, stress has almost become inevitable. However, when it starts to affect you in a negative manner, by causing imbalances in the body or mind, it is important to have a look at your adrenal and thyroid glands.
The thyroid and adrenal glands are responsible for supplying essential hormones throughout our body, which enables us to perform and function well. Apart from their individual functions, our adrenals and thyroid glands are also connected in some ways.
Our adrenal glands can be found on top of each of our kidneys, and are responsible for producing hormones into the bloodstream. Moreover, they produce hormones cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine and they are responsible for (1) maintaining our body’s salt and water level, regulating blood pressure, (2) regulating metabolism, and accountable for stress response (fight or flight response), and (3) sex hormones that take place during puberty. In cases of an underactive or overactive adrenal glands, it may lead to Cushing’s syndrome or Addison’s disease.
Our thyroid gland can be found in the neck area, just below our larynx, or what is commonly known as the Adam’s apple. It is responsible for producing hormones that help our body regulate our metabolic rate, muscle control, development of our brain, bone maintenance, our heart and the digestive system. If the thyroid becomes overactive or underactive, it may lead to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. The latter is usually the occurrence of goiter – enlargement of the thyroid.
Now that we may have an idea of their individual functions, it is also important to note how they work hand-in-hand. Hormones produced by the adrenal gland play an important role, which concerns your thyroid health, thus its functions also depend on keeping your adrenals healthy. In other words, having an adrenal insufficiency may result to experience hypothyroid symptoms even if your thyroid glands are functioning well. Weak adrenals can be often equated to hypothyroidism.
To experience adrenal stress is quite common for everyone. These common symptoms are usually the root causes of adrenal dysfunction, which also affect your thyroid at some point:
Additionally, adrenal stress may further cause an impact to your hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, reduce the conversion of thyroxine to triiodothyronine (responsible for helping the body in using energy), which make us more prone to autoimmune diseases and hormonal imbalance.
Attempts to treat the thyroid will not be effective as the root problem lies in the adrenals. The worst case scenario is when you have adrenal insufficiency and you are also having thyroid issues, it can become a much problematic situation for your health.
Signs of dysfunction
Dysfunction of both the adrenals and thyroid glands cause similar signs and symptoms which commonly cause confusion. A few of the most common conditions are:
Statistics say that at least 12 percent of the United States population will experience trouble in their thyroid during their lifetime. The American Thyroid Association also says that about 20 million Americans are suffering from thyroid dysfunction or disease, and almost 60 percent of them are unaware of their condition. Moreover, women are eight times more likely to develop some form of thyroid problem than men, and one out of eight women will develop a disorder in the span of their lifetime.
Meanwhile, adrenal dysfunction has also become an alarming concern as the number of people suffering from it is increasing. Health experts say that almost 80 percent of our population has a form of adrenal dysfunction.
To understand the importance of how our glands work, and how they affect one another, can help us understand how to properly take good care of them. This knowledge will take you a step closer to becoming your own best doctor.