By Elaine Savard

The thyroid, a butterfly shaped gland wrapped around the windpipe, is located in the neck behind and below the Adams apple. It is labelled as the "master" gland because of its many functions in the body such as producing key hormones, regulating body temperature, and managing metabolism. This gland has the only cells in the body that can absorb iodine which it combines with the amino acid tyrosine to produce the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).

Thyroid disease is one of the most common, misdiagnosed disease, and symptoms are often overlooked. Women's risks of developing a thyroid condition is seven times greater than men. A women also has a one in five chance of developing problems with this gland in her lifetime.

What are some of the causes of thyroid disease:

  • Radiation treatment that was used to treat acne, on the tonsils, adenoids, lymph nodes and on thymus gland problems
  • Radiation exposure such as the nuclear accident in Chernobyl and the fallout from atomic weapons testing done in the United States and elsewhere in the world during the 50's and 60's
  • A non-functioning gland will affect one in 4,000 newborns causing physical and mental retardation.
  • eating excessive isoflavones that are found in popular soy products and supplements
  • Eating excessive amounts of uncooked "goitrogenic foods" such as broccoli, cauliflower, millet, cabbage and kale
  • Drugs such as lithium and cordarone may be a cause of hypothyroidism
  • Having received a "nasal radium therapy" that was used for treatment of tonsillitis,colds and on military submariner and/or pilot who had trouble with drastic changes in pressure
  • Lack of iodine in diet occurring in countries where iodine is not included in the diet

What are some of the risks of developing thyroid disease:

  • Hereditary conditions such as the immune system disease Hashimoto's thyroiditis, goiter and certain precancerous polyps in the colon
  • Suffering with a pituitary, endocrine or autoimmune disease
  • Suffering with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia
  • Being a white female or a female that is menopausal or near menopause
  • Just giving birth may present a usually temporary condition, Postpartum Thyroiditis, occurring in 5 to 9 percent of women after delivery
  • Being a smoker
  • Being over the age of 60
  • Having been exposed to radiation and certain chemicals such as fluoride and perchlorate

These are some of the causes and risks of the disease affecting the thyroid gland. Although, if you are diagnosed with a thyroid disease it does not mean you will develop thyroid cancer. It is highly recommended to have your doctor keep a check of the gland. On the other hand, like myself, you may not of experienced the risks or factors and still develop thyroid cancer.

I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer after a cyst was discovered during an annual physical examination. More about my story, thyroid cancer, along with nutritional tips can be found at http://www.fucoidanforhealth.com. Take advantage of the offer for a free 6 day mini healthy eating course.

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