Resources: Advocacy, Glossary, Acronyms and Friends of Thyroid Nation that have helped me along the way.
Glossary and Acronyms (send more here)
Antibodies: Substances produced by the immune system that attack substances the immune system recognizes as foreign, and not part of the self. Antibodies attach to the foreign substance and alert the immune system to destroy it.
Antidepressants: Drugs used to treat clinical depression. They can affect T3 metabolism in the brain.
Autoimmune disease: Disease that occurs when the body’s immune system accidentally recognizes a natural substance produced by the body as foreign, for unknown reasons, and attacks that substance. Some autoimmune diseases are insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, lupus, thyroid disease, and vitiligo (loss of skin color).
Cholesterol: A waxy substance that the body uses to synthesize steroid hormones (sex hormones, coristol, etc.). When present in excessive quantities in the blood, it increases the risk of heart disease. Cholesterol can be reduced through exercise and careful diet if thyroid hormone levels are normal.
Cretinism: Mental retardation and physical problems caused by hypothyroidism from birth which was not treated soon enough with thyroid hormone replacements. The U.S. tests all infants at birth for hypothyroidism to prevent cretinism.
Cruciferous vegetables: These vegetables are widely cultivated, with many genera, species, and cultivars being raised for food production such as cauliflower, cabbage, cress, bok choy, broccoli and similar green leaf vegetables. They are high in vitamin C and soluble fiber and contain multiple nutrients. Cruciferous vegetables can potentially be goitrogenic (inducing goiter formation). They contain enzymes that interfere with the formation of thyroid hormone in people with iodine deficiency.Cooking for 30 minutes significantly reduces the amount of goitrogens and nitriles. At high intake of crucifers, the goitrogens inhibit the incorporation of iodine into thyroid hormone and also the transfer of iodine into milk by the mammary gland.
Depressants: Drugs that depress the brain, slow reflexes, numb sensation, etc. Depressants can affect T3 metabolism by slowing breakdown of T3, which leads to prolonged levels of T3 beyond appropriate brain function. This may affect mood.
Depression: A condition characterized by lack of interest in life, numbed emotions or extremely negative feelings, problems focusing, withdrawal from people and social life, etc. Depression without apparent cause that does not resolve by itself is a sign of a serious problem.
Estrogen: Known as the female hormone, it encourages growth of female reproductive tissue. It can cancel out the effects of another female hormone, progesterone, and of thyroid hormone. The more estrogen there is in the body, the more thyroid hormone is needed for proper function. Many plants (like soy and corn) have compounds that can mimic the effects of estrogen. Eating a diet high in these substances can increase the body’s requirement for thyroid hormone.
Goiter: The term for an enlarged thyroid gland that is trying to make enough thyroid hormone to meet a hypothyroid body’s needs. Goiters can range in size from small enough to be noticeable only through touch to bigger than a human baby.
Goitrogens: Substances found primarily in plants that impair the ability of the body to use iodine to synthesize thyroid hormone. When TH synthesis is affected by goitrogens, the body may grow a goiter in an effort to make enough thyroid hormone.
Graves’ disease: Autoimmune hyperthyroidism caused by antibodies continually stimulating the thyroid to make more TH. Many therapies exist, including total destruction of the thyroid, followed by thyroid hormone replacement therapy for the remainder of the patient’s life.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: An autoimmune thyroid disease that causes goiter, hypothyroidism, and progressive destruction of the thyroid. It results in unstable thyroid hormone levels, which can be controlled by thyroid hormone replacement therapy. There is no known cause or other therapy.
Hormones: Substances released by one part of the body to influence processes in other parts of the body. They usually travel in the bloodstream. Insulin, estrogen, growth hormone, thyroid hormone, and TSH are all hormones.
Hypothyroidism (Hypo=low): The body’s condition when thyroid hormone levels are insufficent for normal body function. Symptoms include slowed metabolism, fatigue, mental problems, hypoglycemia, problems breathing, slow heartbeat, and high cholesterol.
Hyperthyroidism (Hyper=high): The body’s condition when thyroid hormone levels are excessive. Symptoms include high metabolism, rapid heart rate, fatigue, and manic-depressive behavior.
Iodine: An element (I) found in nature. It is more common in the ocean than on land, and is essential for making thyroid hormone. Iodine deficiency leads to hypothyroidism. A sudden excess in an iodine-deficient person can cause a brief bout of hyperthyroidism.
Levothyroxine (T4): The relatively inactive form of thyroid hormone, with four iodine atoms. It is converted by body tissues to T3 (triiodothyronine) when needed. It makes up 80% of the thyroid hormone released by the thyroid.
Magnesium: Magnesium is required for the conversion of T4 into T3 so this mineral should be supplemented in most thyroid disease patients. Mg deficiency can occur due to inadequate intake, impaired intestinal absorption of the mineral, or excessive loss of it. Magnesium is contained in nuts, un-milled grains, dark-green leafy vegetables, legumes such as peas and beans, and fruit.
Manic-depression (bipolar disorder): A mood disorder characterized by grandiose feelings, accelerated motions and thoughts, rapid speech, and impulsive decisions. The “manic” phase inevitably falls back to a normal or very depressive state. Hyperthyroidism can be mistaken for manic-depression.
Proteins: The building blocks of the body, which are assembled according to genes.
Serotonin: A neurotransmitter that is essential for a sense of well-being and good mood. Many anti-depressants work by lifting serotonin levels.
Stimulants: Substances that stimulate the body’s systems, including heart rate, breathing, and metabolism. They can depress thyroid hormone levels while they are in the body.
Thyroid: From the Greek word for “shield” … A butterfly shaped gland behind the larynx that produces thyroid hormone. It is larger in women than men.
Thyroid hormone (TH): A hormone containing iodine that affects the body’s metabolism. It exists in two forms, levothyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH): The hormone released by the pituitary gland that stimulates the thyroid to grow and make more TH.
Thyroid hormone receptors (TRs): Proteins that become activated when they bind to TH and are then able to bind to responsive elements in the DNA. TRs turn genes on or off when they bind to the DNA. Mutations in the two genes that code for TRs can cause symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Triiodothyronine (T3): The active form of thyroid hormone. It has three iodine atoms and is eight times more active than levothyroxine. It is the essential form used in the brain.
This list of hypothyroidism definitions and terms is based in large part from a great collection of resources http://www.csa.com/