The American Society of Clinical Oncology estimates around 57,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with thyroid cancer each year. Cancer is just one possible issue that affects this very important gland in your neck. Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and Grave’s Disease are also life-changing thyroid diseases that have an impact on body weight.
Culture sets the norms for beauty, so whether thyroid disease makes you gain or lose weight, you might, unfortunately, be subject to body shaming because not everyone knows how the thyroid works. A little knowledge goes a long way, though, so understanding more about this little butterfly-shaped gland can help.
What is the Thyroid?
Located just behind your Adam’s Apple, is a small but powerful gland called the thyroid. Its job is to produce hormones that influence metabolism, the chemical process that converts food to energy. Metabolism is an essential part of maintaining a healthy weight. When something goes wrong, your body can change in a way that puts you at risk for body shaming.
Thyroid disease is an umbrella term for conditions that affect the thyroid. They can be linked to growths on the gland and most refer to over or underproduction of thyroid hormones.
Disorders that affect the thyroid include:
The first two on that list specifically involve hormone production. Hypothyroidism means the gland is under producing while hyperthyroidism means too much thyroid hormones are in the blood. These hormones regulatehowprotein, fat and carbohydratesare broken down and used. With a thyroid disease, your body can store an excessive amount of fat or fail to store any. The effect is you might be heavy no matter how much you eat or eat all the time and never gain a pound.
Thyroid and Weight
Weight and body mass index are key indicators of thyroid disease. When a person has hypothyroidism, the underproduction of hormones can cause weight gain and make it hard to take that weight off. Hyperthyroidism has the opposite effect. Too many hormones make it difficult to gain weight leaving you excessively thin with a low body mass index.
About Body Image
The basis of body shaming, despite just being mean, is that culture has established somewhat unrealistic standards for beauty, especially in women. People chase that perfect body image their whole lives and never get there because it is unrealistic for most.
Women endure body shaming not just because they are over or underweight, but because:
They don’t have big enough breasts.
They have too big breasts.
They are too tall.
They are too short.
They are too plain.
They are too sexy.
It’s these impossible standards that make body shaming a part of the American culture, explains Dr. Peggy Drexler with Huffington Post.
What Can You Do About Body Shaming?
Start by recognizing that people who body shame are the ones with a problem. You should do what you can to stay healthyeven if you don’t ever have the perfect body. In other words, eat right, get some exercise and take care of your thyroid. Consider supplementsdesigned tosupport this very important gland, too.
If you do have a thyroid disease, your weight isn’t necessarily something you can fully control. Follow the advice of your physician to manage your condition and be the best you possible despite what anyone else says.
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