How well do you know your thyroid? Even if you’ve been diagnosed with
thyroid disease, you might not know much about this important gland. During Thyroid Awareness
Month this January, consider taking a few minutes to expand your understanding
of the thyroid gland and the role it plays in your health. You might be
surprised to learn, that it is possible for bariatric surgery to help
stabilize hormone levels in patients with obesity or morbid obesity.
Know Your Thyroid
Touch your fingers to the base of your neck. This is where your thyroid
gland is located. This small gland, which is often described as being
in the shape of a butterfly, is responsible for producing, storing and
secreting hormones that influence the function of critical bodily structures,
including the heart and brain. With the help of the iodine it extracts
from the bloodstream, the thyroid gland produces thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine
(T3). The thyroid gland knows when to release these hormones thanks to
the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) that the pituitary gland sends to
Understand Thyroid Disease
The two primary types of thyroid disease are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
The former occurs when there are sufficient levels of thyroid hormone
and the latter occurs when there is too much thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism
is generally associated with the slowing down of bodily systems. For instance,
patients may develop weakness, fatigue, cognitive sluggishness and a slower
metabolism that leads to weight gain. This last problem is of particular
concern for most patients who are contemplating bariatric surgery. In
contrast, hyperthyroidism is characterized by a fast heart rate, hand
tremors and unintentional weight loss.
Explore the Effects of Bariatric Surgery
The connections between thyroid hormone levels and bariatric surgery are
not yet well understood; more research is needed in this area before forming
conclusions. However, one study published in the journal of the
American Society for Bariatric Surgery determined that there was a “statistically significant positive
association” between normal
levels of TSH and body mass index (BMI). The researchers concluded that weight loss surgery could improve
thyroid hormone levels.
At The JFK Bariatric Institute, our
weight loss surgery team in Atlantis has helped countless patients with co-existing conditions
achieve better health. Our highly-trained surgeons routinely perform gastric
band and gastric bypass surgeries. Contact our Consult-A-Nurse hotline
to learn more at 561-548-4JFK (4535).