As we age, there are many issues we have to deal with as our body changes. Changes in our skin, hormonal changes, changes in our bones, muscles. We are starting to have issues younger and younger that we heard our grandparents complain about. After I had my daughter, at 31 years old, I started feeling tired, sluggish, just low. Then I started gaining a ton of weight, without really overeating.
It took me years to go to the doctor and get a physical, due to the fact that I was already dealing with my back injury and those surgeries. Finally, I had a physical and blood work, and bingo, I was diagnosed as have hypothyroidism. As the years went on of trying to reach the right dose of synthetic thyroid hormone to help fix my symptoms, I had pain in my knees and hips.
Well, now I had arthritis in my early 40s. I lost a lot of weight, so that helped some pressure on my deteriorating joints, but could I have prevented it, or slowed down the progression if I had a physical earlier to find the thyroid problem? Is there a connection? I decided to research this and share it with you, in case some of you are going through the same things. Here are some things you need to know about arthritis and thyroid disease.
Why Thyroid Is Important
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located in the front of the throat. It is responsible for producing hormones that regulate metabolic rate as well as digestion, heart function, muscle function.brain development, bone maintenance, and mood.
The thyroid controls how fast you burn calories and hormone production and secretion. If you are a woman and your menstrual cycle is off kilter, that could be a reason why. Women are more likely to have thyroid disease than men and if your thyroid makes too much or too little thyroid hormone all things mentioned above are unbalanced.
Also, dry skin and itching is another symptom of thyroid dysfunction. This could be caused by an autoimmune response, which is basically the body attacking itself, or often times hereditary.
What Is Arthritis
Arthritis is the swelling and inflammation within any of the joints in the body. The main symptom of arthritis is joint pain and stiffness. This often worsens with age. This can be hereditary or an autoimmune condition. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is due to autoimmune disease. Osteoarthritis is the most common type worldwide. Arthritis can affect any joint in the body, but the most common places are the knees, hands, hip, and back. An easy way to explain arthritis is the flexible tissue at the ends of the bone wears down causing pain and stiffness. You may feel a grinding or painful crunching in your joints.
This can happen in any of our joints. It has been shown that the weather can make the symptoms of arthritis worse, barometric pressure, or pressure of the air can affect joints but so can humidity, precipitation, and temperature. You may have pain when first waking up, due to the simple fact that your body and joints have been at rest, and with the cartilage breakdown, there will be stiffness and pain when the joints are not used.
Thyroid Disease And Arthritis
It took me awhile to figure out that a lot of my arthritis could be caused by my thyroid disease. Then it dawned on me, our thyroid is so important to EVERY system in our bodies, including our skeletal system. For some people, hypothyroidism, under active thyroid, can contribute to joint and muscle issues. Specifically, hypothyroidism may lead to:
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness, especially in hips and shoulders
- Carpel tunnel syndrome
- Swelling of the small joints in feet and hands
How To Reduce Pain
Common over the counter anti inflammatory such as Tylenol, and ibuprofen can help, but adequate thyroid replacement therapy is the primary treatment for arthritis due to thyroid disease, and can help dramatically. To help your symptoms in the mean time, also getting adequate hydration, and using ice to lessen the swelling, will help to ease the symptoms due to swelling.
Even if you have pain, it is best to try light exercises or physical therapy to also keep the joints moving, swimming is the best way to do this. Also speak to your doctor before trying anything new. I have also heard of collagen supplements, glucosamine and condroitin supplements to help lubricate the joints and help with the stiffness.
Keep in mind that people with the most common form of hypothyroidism have an increased risk in developing other autoimmune conditions, such as Rheumatoid arthritis. If stiffness and pain or swelling does not decrease after adequate thyroid treatments, it is a good idea to mention these symptoms to your doctor.
He/She may then look at other possible causes for your symptoms.If you suspect that you may have a thyroid disease or arthritis, you need to have blood work done as soon as possible. If you aren’t getting treatment for your condition, more issues can develop. Please leave any comments or questions down below. Thanks for reading.
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