What is Hypothyroidism?

One of the most important glands in the human body is called the thyroid gland. Shaped like a butterfly and located right under the Adam’s apple on the neck, this gland is responsible for producing thyroid hormones. When this gland fails to produce the right amount of thyroid hormone needed by the body, a condition called hypothyroidism occurs.

What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a common disorder affecting the thyroid gland. This is a health condition where the thyroid gland produces an abnormally low amount of thyroid hormones. The thyroid hormones are essential for the normal functioning of the body. They play a vital role in many body processes, including growth and development, metabolism, mental development, and many other cellular processes. Once the required amount of thyroid hormones are not produced by the thyroid gland, a number of unpleasant consequences may take effect in the body.

What are the Possible Results or Symptoms of Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism may result to a number of abnormality in the body processes. If left untreated, it may result to a number of health problems. Some symptoms of hypothyroidism that may be noticeable in individuals having this disorder include the following:

  • loss of appetite
  • thinning hair
  • slight weight gain. Although the disorder may cause weight gain, this may not be a cause of obesity in many people.
  • difficulty in losing weight
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • depression
  • fluid retention which may lead to swelling or puffiness of the face, eyes, hands, limbs, feet, and ankles
  • worse menstrual cramps
  • goiter
  • slow heart rate
  • paresthesia
  • declining memory
  • cold intolerance
  • coarse and brittle hair
  • drier skin
  • lack of energy and/or fatigue
  • hoarse voice
  • loss of hearing
  • increased levels of cholesterol

These are only some of the many problems that may be experienced by people suffering from hypothyroidism. There are still quite a number of health conditions that may result from the disorder. These symptoms, though, may also be signs of other forms of diseases. Therefore, it is proper to seek the help of a specialist once any of these symptoms are noticed. The physician will make proper examinations and diagnosis on whether the symptoms noticed are signs of hypothyroidism or not.

What Are the Causes of Hypothyroidism?

There are a number of factors that may be responsible for the occurrence of hypothyroidism in people. The most common cause of this disease is attributable to problems occurring in the thyroid gland. Other factors that may lead to this disorder include the following:

  • problem in the brain and/or pituitary gland or hypothalamic disease
  • pituitary damage or injury
  • autoimmune diseases
  • radiation
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • subacute thyroiditis
  • surgical treatment of thyroid tumors
  • postpartum thyroiditis
  • certain types of medicines
  • not enough or too much iodine
  • disorders affecting the thyroid gland
  • lymphocytic thyroiditis
  • congenital problems concerning the placement of the thyroid in newborn babies

Who Is At Risk of Hypothyroidism?

All people are at risk of hypothyroidism. This disorder can affect people regardless of age, gender, and walk of life. It affects people from around the world. Women, though, may be more prone to having this disease than men. Asians and people from the white races also have higher risks of contracting this disorder.

Factors that may likely put people more at risk of this disorder include the following:

  • heredity: Hypothyroidism may be in the genes of some people.
  • old age. Older people have higher chances of getting this disorder.
  • automimmune disorder
  • bipolar disease
  • Turner’s syndrome or Down’s syndrome
  • pregnancy
  • menopause
  • giving birth

People who suspect they have thyroidism must consult their doctors as soon as possible before the disorder has reached to a higher level. Early detection and treatment of this disease may prevent people from suffering any of the symptoms and complications of this illness.


Become a Whale Expert: Read, Watch and Surf the Web

Amateur naturalists can become proficient in their chosen field. Here are some ways to learn more about whales.

Read About Whales

Visit libraries and borrow everything about whales. Concentrate initially on species that are likely to be seen, their identification, distribution and behaviour.

Go Whale Watching

Reading about whales is nothing compared to watching them in the wild. A poor second to this is seeing them in aquaria or the zoo – but at least this allows very close study. Exactly what opportunities there are for seeing live whales depends very much on your location, and those living near the sea have a distinct advantage. If there are no opportunities nearby consider ‘influencing’ the choice of family holiday.

Some equipment is essential for whale watching, and a few other things are very useful. Binoculars are probably the first requirement, with a good field guide coming next. Hydrophones are a luxury, but anyone seriously interested in whales who can afford it should consider this piece of equipment, along with something to allow recordings to be made. It is difficult to use binoculars and a camera at the same time – but binoculars with a built-in camera do exist. They are neither as good as binoculars on their own, nor as a camera – but they do allow whale watchers to look and photograph at the same time.

Surf the Web

Everyone reading this article has access to the web, and locating websites and blogs about whales is a good way of seeing what is going on around the world. Try searching for exactly what you want (using the exact question you would ask a human being), and if this is not productive then simplify the question until you hit something relevant. Normally there will be forward links, and surfing away will often stumble upon ‘gems’. Do not forget to bookmark interesting stuff – it is sometimes impossible to find it again later if you do not.

Amateurs and Professionals

Many great naturalists were essentially self-taught, and in a sense all researchers are finding out for themselves. Lack of any formal training in marine biology does not mean that an amateur cannot become an expert. It is true that those with formal qualifications will initially seem more credible, but self-taught individuals can end up knowing as much as, or more than, the ‘experts’. Becoming a whale expert adds whole new dimensions to the experience of watching whales in the wild.

Marine Aquarium in Venice: New Venetian Museum of Natural History

The Museum of Natural History is located in the centre of Venice, on the Grand Canal. An aquarium housing fish from the reefs is already in place.

Location of the Museum in Venice

The Fondego dei Turchi (which houses the new aquarium) is not far from the Rialto Bridge in the centre of Venice. It is well signed and easily walkable, but perhaps the most interesting way to reach it is by ‘Traghetto’. This service uses the traditional gondola to ferry tourists (and Venetians) across the Grand Canal for a fee of 50 cents (much cheaper than hiring a gondola!). The one you want is from San Marcuola to the Fóndaco dei Turchi.

Marine Aquarium

The 5,000 litre aquarium has most of the fifty or so species of fish that live on the reefs that separate the lagoon from the Adriatic. This is one of the three ways to look at fish in Venice, the other two being in the wonderful fish-market and on your plate in the superb restaurants!

Seafood in Venice

It should not come as a surprise to find that a city surrounded by the sea offers some of the best seafood in the world. Mantis Shrimps appear in most seafood starters, and then again in many ‘second plates’ with spaghetti or tagliatelle. The best ‘third plate’ for a marine biologist is, of course, grilled fish – usually at least three species, and always including sea-bass and sea-bream.

Travel in Venice

Because the city has no traffic or hills walking is a pleasure (outside the peak tourist season!), and tourist tickets for the ‘Vaporetti’ are relatively cheap (currently 30 Euros for 72 hours unlimited travel). With a combination of these two modes of transport the whole city is easily accessible, and the islands and Lido can be explored. The only tiring bit is the bridges – there are thousands of steps to be negociated. Every time you cross one of the narrow canals you will have to climb up the steep stone steps, and calves will ache after a busy day of sight-seeing.

Arriving by Boat

It is possible to fly into Marco Polo Airport on the mainland and get a boat out to Venice itself, and this must be the most romantic and interesting way to arrive. There is also a mainline railway station in Venice, and a road-bridge which allows access by bus or coach. Once there, of course, it is all boats or ‘Shanks’s pony’, and it is remarkable how quickly one forgets about traffic (this can be dangerous on return to the Italian mainland!).

Whatever other tourist activities are contemplated it is a ‘must’ for all marine biologists to visit the natural history museum and ‘mess about in boats’!

Probiotics Improve Ulcerative Colitis: Beneficial Bacteria Also Helpful in Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis, as well as those of irritable bowel syndrome, can be very painful and disruptive. Abdominal pain, flatulence, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation (and sometimes both alternating), anemia, and fatigue are common.

A review of some of the studies can help those who suffer with these disorders consider probiotics as a therapeutic option. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that offer several benefits for people who have various gastrointestinal disorders. Those benefits include reducing the number of “bad” or harmful bacteria, reducing inflammation, increasing the number of anti-inflammatory molecules in the intestinal tract, and increasing the mucus layer in the gut, which protects it against damaging microorganisms.

Probiotics and Ulcerative Colitis

The most recent study, published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, reports that four strains of probiotics (E. faecalis, L. acidophilus, C. butyricum, and B. adolescentis) are helpful in relieving symptoms of ulcerative colitis. The most effective strain, however, was E. faecalis.

A previous study, conducted at the University of Alberta, showed that 86 percent of the patients with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis who took a mixture of eight probiotics strains daily for six weeks experienced relief: 63 percent achieved remission and another 23 percent had improved symptoms and healing of the colon’s lining.

The eight strains included Lactobacillus casei, L. palntanum, L. acidophilus, L. delbrueckii sub sp. bulgaricus, Bifidobacterium longum, B. breve, B. infantis, and Streptococcus salivarius sub sp. thermophilus. None of the participants experienced any ill effects from taking the probiotics.

Probiotics and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

When investigators reviewed 19 controlled trials that included 1,628 patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in 2014, they found that probiotics were effective in relieving symptoms, but they could not determine whether one probiotic or a combination of probiotics was necessary.

In a study at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, experts found that a multi-strain probiotic significantly reduced the frequency of diarrhea in 84 patients with IBS compared with placebo. And in yet another study, this time in 59 children and teenagers, multiple strains of probiotics were significantly more effective than placebo in relieving symptoms.

Use of Probiotics

Overall, the research indicates that taking more than one strain of probiotics is most effective in relieving symptoms of ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. The addition of prebiotics, which support the growth and maintenance of probiotics in the gut, as well as provide other benefits, may also be helpful. You should consult your health-care provider before starting a probiotics program.