Symptoms of possible thyroid problems

60869888_MYou’ve probably never given it much thought or even realized it was there, but the thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck. This little gland is a powerful force in your body as it produces vital hormones, especially for women. The pituitary gland regulates it, and it is susceptible to your iodine intake. The hormones secreted by the thyroid affect nearly every part of the body, and when these levels vary from the norm, your health may suffer. More women are likely to suffer from thyroid issues, with nearly one in eight women developing a problem in her lifetime, especially after pregnancy or menopause.

Thyroid disorders have different symptoms that gradually grow in intensity. It may take several months of side effects before you begin to realize that there may be an issue. Watch out for:

  • Increased anxiety or nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Lowered ability to concentrate
  • Irregular periods or reduced flow
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sensitivity to heat or consistently cold
  • Bowel movement changes
  • Dry, itchy, or thin skin
  • Brittle hair or hair loss
  • Change in appetite
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue

These symptoms could be a sign of a thyroid issue. Several disorders can stem from problems with this gland, and most will have these symptoms in common. These are some of the most common ailments to get tested for if you are experiencing these issues:

  • Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid is not producing enough hormones. It is also known as Hashimoto’s disease. Many of the previous symptoms apply to this condition, but you may notice an enlarged thyroid gland called a goiter, eye and face swelling, and a deeper voice.
  • Hyperthyroidism is a condition when the gland becomes inflamed and begins producing too many hormones. Tumors may cause this condition, and it can develop into Graves’ disease or thyroiditis.
  • Thyroid cancer can develop from nodules or tumors in the throat. In most cases, a lump in the throat is usually benign, but occasionally it is cancerous. Often, there is a history of hypothyroidism first.

Thyroid symptoms are very deceptive, and it often takes months of consistent struggle before patients seek treatment. Carefully monitoring your thyroid health throughout your life is an excellent way to stay healthy, especially for women. Pregnancy and menopause affect your thyroid health and have many of the same symptoms. If you are ready to conceive or entering your menopause years, monitoring this gland is essential.

A comprehensive guide to disease and general wellness impairments

Scientist exam test tube on white backgroundIs your loved one currently suffering from an illness? Health issues on an obvious and comprehensive scale can be frustrating and exceedingly stressful. These stressors seemingly compound overnight with the ever-transcending mainstream illness-related jargon pumped through the pipelines on a near daily basis. It’s almost impossible not to worry.

You have a family and children to take care of – staying proactive and health conscious is a full-time job, in addition to your other full-time job. It’s imperative to validate resources in order to fully understand wellness and critical components that may affect long-term health. Let’s discuss a few here today.

Mold-related illness. What is it?

There are noticeable debates running rampant within the scientific community in regards to whether or not any adverse reactions are actually being caused by indoor mold. However, we can all agree on the fact that there are various mold classifications, and for the sake of argument here, we’ll focus that.

Mold-related illnesses are derivative of mold spores that are found in the air. These spores can cause a myriad of health problems including allergies, asthma, eye, throat and nose irritations, respiratory issues and sinus congestion. In the case an asthma reaction flares up, the mold spores will not typically be the cause of the issue, but can unquestionably worsen the individual’s current asthmatic condition.

Normal aging vs. Alzheimer’s vs. Cognitive impairment

Normal aging comes with its apparent disadvantages, oftentimes including a series of less than desirable ‘side effects.’ Aside from the lack of skin elasticity, vision degeneration, auditory diminishment and overall change in appearance, other affects can negatively impact your overall health that aren’t often a part of the progression.

A decline or negative alteration in the cardiovascular system can result in heart failure. Bones, muscles and joints may also weaken. In respect to the digestive system, constipation may result from normal aging. The urinary tract and the bladder can become damaged.

In regard to cognitive capacity, there may be some memory loss that is representative and to be expected in the majority of aging individuals.

On that note, let’s briefly discuss Alzheimer’s as it relates to generalized cognitive impairment, a disease long studied and one that continues to elude medical scholars in countless ways and on varying degrees.

There is a difference between the two. It’s important to note that cognitive impairment on its own accord can cause Alzheimer’s disease. Almost 20% of people aged 65 or older have mild cognitive impairment. The cause of Alzheimer’s disease, however, is the death of brain cells. This is considered to be a neurodegenerative disease, meaning that there is a gradual cell expiry over a certain period of time.

Some symptoms of cognitive impairment include misperception, impaired judgement, identity confusion, short-term and long-term memory loss, and poor motor coordination. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are similar to those of cognitive impairment. These include memory loss greatly affecting daily life, heightened complexity when solving general problems, comprehensive confusion where none previously existed, problems writing or speaking, and personality or mood fluctuations.

Roughly 2-3% of the world’s population may possess a genetic predisposition, increasing their chances of developing Alzheimer’s by up to 60%. This statistic is in direct comparison to the other 10-15% of the population who will also develop the disease.

Diabetes – a brief synopsis

Diabetes is a chronic condition that involves surges in glucose levels, or blood sugar. Glucose is primarily used for energy and directly sourced from the foods you consume every day. Typically, the glucose is shuttled into your cells by way of insulin (a hormone naturally produced in the body). In an individual with diabetes, insulin is lacking, thus resulting in the previously mentioned spike in blood sugar levels.

Diabetes can lead to health complications affecting numerous parts of the body. In the brain, strokes and cognitive impairment can occur. In regard to the heart, diabetes can result in heart attacks and/or heart failure.

A person can also be affected with peripheral neuropathy, resulting in nerve damage. As in many other illnesses, preventive measures can be implemented and these initiatives often include, exercise and a conscious change in the individual’s diet.

The two different types

Type 1 diabetes can be treated with insulin and is typically early onset. Type 2 diabetes can be treated with certain medications including thiazolidinediones, biguanides and meglitinides, and is generally delayed on-set.

The solution: How do you choose to live? Healthy vs. Non-healthy living

Healthy living and non-healthy living can be categorized by breaking down how efficiently an individual performs on the following two predominant factors: exercise and diet.

You know the saying, ‘if you don’t move it, you lose it.’

A sedentary lifestyle should be avoided at all costs. Physical activity is vital to the general well-being of a person’s most basic forms of functionality. Start off slow. Attempt to implement a workout regime just three times each week for at least thirty minutes. You will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your overall mood increases.

While conscious eating and an active lifestyle can’t be the cure-all, they can certainly help manage and even negate some forms of illness and other negative health-related issues. Taking control of your lifestyle by putting forth the effort to be proactive could mean the difference between enjoying the rest of your life, or surviving the rest of your life.

4 tips for naturally reducing inflammation

Inflammation can be highly uncomfortable, and sometimes downright painful, but the presence of inflammation isn’t always a bad one. Inflammation is a part of the body’s healing system and so occurs when there is injury or illness to combat.43229893_M

However, inflammation can also occur without these triggers and, in these cases, is typically a result of one’s lifestyle, including diet, stress level, and being sedentary. Even if your inflammation has become chronic, there are natural ways to reduce it so you can improve and feel better in no time.

To start with, consume anti-inflammatory foods, which include green leafy vegetables, broccoli, nuts, fatty fish and berries. In the same vein, keep away from foods known to contribute to inflammation, such as sugar, high fructose corn syrup, refined carbohydrates, alcohol and processed meats.

You’ll also do yourself a great favor by being sure to start an exercise routine. New research suggests that just 20 minutes of exercise can have an impact by activating important cellular responses. We know that there are days when it can be difficult to spare even 20 minutes, but know that doing so will have a significant impact on your health.

Another goal of yours should be to manage your stress. Everyone manages stress differently so find what works best for you. Natural stress reducers include: lavender, chamomile, baths and meditation. Some also find solace in practicing yoga.

Lastly, general lifestyle factors can make the biggest difference. Improve your lifestyle and improve your life. So, don’t smoke and make sure you’re getting adequate sleep.

Chronic inflammation doesn’t have to continue to impact your life. Take the steps now using these tips and experience a pain-free, healthy existence. You are entirely capable of leading your life down the path you want to go down. If you’ve followed this advice and continue to experience harmful inflammation, make an appointment with your functional medicine doctor to get to the root cause.

Eating for your best health

Black family eating healthy food togetherWhat’s the single most important lifestyle change you can make to benefit your health? It’s your diet. Your diet is probably the most crucial part of your overall health and wellness. By “diet,” we don’t mean a short-term reduction in the amount of food or kind of food you eat to lose weight or achieve a particular body goal, but your habitual eating patterns every day, over your whole life.

What to eat

At Proactive Wellness Centers, we always advise choosing fresh, “whole” foods as much as possible — foods that have as little processing as possible. While that generally means foods in their most natural state, it’s also important to beware of additives in many foods in grocery stores that you would not expect, such as added sugars and salt. You also need to be aware that most vegetables and fruits can contain traces of pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals that our bodies did not evolve to handle.

We often recommend the Mediterranean diet or the paleo diet as those that are the healthiest diets for most people.

The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional eating habits of people from countries around the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Italy and Spain. It emphasizes fresh, seasonal and local foods: lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and cereals and olive oil, as well as moderate amounts of fish and poultry, smaller portions of dairy such as yogurt and cheese, red and processed meats, and sweets. One aspect that many enjoy is regular consumption of moderate amounts of wine with meals. Another surprising aspect is the focus on social eating — eating meals with others, particularly family, resting after eating and exercising regularly.

The paleo diet is based on the theoretical food intake of prehistoric people of the Paleolithic Era, from about 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. It includes lean meats, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds — foods that could have been obtained through hunting and gathering.

As a result, the paleo diet restricts or limits foods that only became available after humans started farming about 10,000 years ago, such as dairy products, grains and legumes.

Food sensitivities

We’re all a little different, which means that some of us are sensitive or intolerant to certain foods. A good example is those who are allergic to peanuts, which can cause a response as serious as an anaphylactic reaction, which is swelling that can close the airways.

Other people are lactose intolerant, meaning their digestive systems cannot fully digest lactase, the sugar found in milk. As a result, they can experience discomfort and pain after eating any dairy product, including cheese.

Many people go through their lives without understanding their food sensitivities and intolerances. They may have symptoms that look like chronic diseases or health conditions. Others experience unhealthy weight gain, or find it impossible to lose weight. However, once they eliminate these foods, their symptoms clear up, they establish a healthy weight and enjoy profound improvements in their overall health and wellness.

Another important step is to identify the foods that the individual can handle through food sensitivity testing. Once we identify the foods that you’re sensitive to, those you’re intolerant of, and those that benefit you most, we can together develop an individualized eating plan.

Intermittent fasting

One trend that is showing very promising results in controlling weight is intermittent fasting. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Intermittent fasting is not about what you eat, it’s about when you eat. It means fasting for 16 hours a day, and eating only during a set, 8-hour period in the day — for instance, between noon and 8:00 p.m.

It has a number of benefits, and while many in the medical community were skeptical five or six years ago, the opinion is changing. A recent study published by the Harvard Medical School found that it can be more effective than other diet plans for weight loss and prevention of diabetes.

Intermittent fasting works at the chemical and cellular level. The food we eat is broken down by enzymes in our gut into protein, fat and carbohydrates, which are sugars and starches, in our bloodstream.

Our cells use sugar for energy, with any leftovers stored in cells as fat. To convert sugar into either energy or fat, we need insulin. It’s insulin that brings sugar into fat cells and stores it there.

Our bodies produce insulin when we eat, so as long as we’re not eating, the insulin level in our bloodstream goes down and fat cells release stored sugar to be used as energy. When insulin levels go down, we lose weight. Intermittent fasting allows insulin levels to go down long enough for us to burn off fat.

Intermittent fasting is not for everyone. Those who experience strong food cravings, disruption of sleep patterns or who are under extreme stress from other factors in life are not good candidates for intermittent fasting.

Get your best eating plan

Take charge of your best health today. Talk to Proactive Wellness Centers to help work out the personalized eating plan for your optimal health.