What Is Hypothyroidism?
The thyroid gland is positioned at the front lower part of the neck. The hormones released by the particular gland pass through the bloodstream and affect almost every part of our body from our muscles to skin, and heart to the brain.
Hypothyroidism is referred to as the underactive thyroid disease. It is considered as a common disorder. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland does not make sufficient thyroid hormone.
The thyroid gland controls the energy (gained from food) consumption strategy of the cells and this particular process is called metabolism. Metabolism affects our body temperature, heartbeat, and calorie burning strategy. If our body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, then these above specified essential processes may slow down and as a result, our body will make insufficient energy and the metabolism will become sluggish.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism?
The signs and symptoms associated with hypothyroidism may vary from person to person based on the severity of thyroid hormones deficiency. But, an individual may develop the symptoms slowly even about in a number of years. Firstly, you can notice some common symptoms such as weight gain or fatigue and slowly, your metabolism will be continued to slow down. You will also develop more common symptoms. Some of the hypothyroidism signs and symptoms are as follows:
- Feeling tired: You can be associated with fatigue syndrome such as feeling tired, lethargy, inability to exercise, feeling cold, and weakness.
- Excessive sleeping: You can experience excess sleepiness, snoring and daytime sleepiness.
- Menstrual disorder:Women can experience abnormal menstruation, heavy menstruation, absence of menstruation, and irregular menstruation.
- Developmental issue: It is associated with slow growth or delayed puberty.
- Muscular cramps:You can experience flaccid or cramping muscles.
- Mood swings: You may experience sadness or mood swings.
- Hair problems: Your hair may become dry or you can face hair loss.
If hypothyroidism is left untreated, then the signs and symptoms associated with it can become more complicated and severe. Constant stimulation of the thyroid gland may result in an enlarged thyroid that is known as goitre, along with that the thought process may become slower.
Advanced hypothyroidism is referred to as myxedema. It is rare, but if it occurs, then it can be a life-threatening issue. Its signs and symptoms include decreased breathing, low blood pressure, decreased body temperature, and even coma.
Though hypothyroidism mostly affects the older-women and middle-aged group people, yet any age group including infants can develop Hypothyroidism. The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism that are associated with infants are as follows:
- Yellowing of the skin and white parts of the eyes.
- A large and protruding tongue.
- Frequent choking.
- A puffy appearance of the face.
- Poor muscle tone.
- Excessive sleepiness.
- If the infants are not treated properly, then a severe mental and physical retardation can happen.
What Are The Causes Of Hypothyroidism?
Whenever the thyroid gland doesn’t produce sufficient hormones, the balance of the overall chemical reactions can be disturbed. Hypothyroidism is associated with a number of causes such as autoimmune disease, radiation therapy, treatment for hyperthyroidism, thyroid surgery, and other medications. The major causes of Hypothyroidism are as follows:
- Autoimmune disease: People who are suffering from Hashimoto's thyroiditis (an inflammatory disorder) are mostly involved with Hypothyroidism. The autoimmune disorders can occur when our own immune system produces antibodies against our own tissues. Sometimes, this particular process attacks our thyroid gland. Although, scientists are not sure about the reason behind the autoimmune disease. Some think it as a triggering response of bacterium or virus while others think it is a genetic flaw. But, whatever it may be, these self-destructing antibodies affect the thyroid and prevent them in hormone production.
- Treatment for hyperthyroidism: People, who are suffering from hyperthyroidism, are often treated with anti-thyroid medications or radioactive iodine in order to reduce and normalise the thyroid function. But, in some cases, the treatments of hyperthyroidism may result in permanent Hypothyroidism.
- Thyroid surgery: If a patient is treated with removing of the whole or a large portion of the thyroid gland, then the hormone production can be diminished or stopped. In that case, that patient should take the external thyroid hormone for life.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation used in the treatment of cancers associated with neck and head can affect the thyroid gland and may result in hypothyroidism.
- Medications: A large number of medications can result in Hypothyroidism such as Lithium can develop hypothyroidism. So, before taking any medication, ask your doctor about its effect on your thyroid gland.
- Congenital disease: Some babies can be born with no thyroid gland or a defective thyroid gland. In this case, the thyroid gland can’t develop normally for some unknown reasons and in some cases, it can be associated with some genetic disorder. The babies born with congenital hypothyroidism can appear normal during their birth, so thyroid screening of the newborn is very important.
- Pituitary disorder: A rare cause of hypothyroidism may be the result of the failure of the pituitary gland in producing sufficient TSH (Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone). It can happen as a result of a benign tumour associated with the pituitary gland.
- Pregnancy: Some women can develop hypothyroidism during or after the pregnancy. If it is left untreated, then it can be an unwanted cause of miscarriage, preeclampsia (rise of blood pressure during the pregnancy’s last three months), or premature delivery. It can also affect the development process of the foetus.
- Iodine deficiency: The iodine mineral is crucial for thyroid hormone production. Iodine can be found in seafood, iodized salt, seaweed etc. So, iodine deficiency should be removed at any cost. But, keep in mind that too much iodine consumption can result in hyperthyroidism.
- Anyone can develop hypothyroidism, but a woman older than 60 years, a person associated with autoimmune disease or a past family history of hypothyroidism, treated with anti-thyroid medications or radioactive iodine can develop Hypothyroidism more than the others.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Hypothyroidism?
Maintain the following steps along with your medication:
- Increase the metabolic rate: Do mild to moderate exercises to enhance your metabolic rate and mood.
- Yoga Therapy: Yoga and meditation therapy help to increase tissue sensitivity associated with thyroid hormone.
- Monitoring: One should keep a track of thyroid level hence one should consider going for regular check-ups.
- Positive attitude: Always keep up a positive attitude; it will be helpful in your Hypothyroidism treatment.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Hypothyroidism?
Try to avoid the following:
- Do not smoke: Try to avoid or quit smoking as the chemicals associated with smoking can harm the functionalities of the thyroid gland.
- Do not take stress: Stress is responsible for Cortisol hormone imbalance and that is one of the main reasons of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia (Blood sugar imbalance). It can cause many symptoms of hypothyroidism. So, don’t take too much stress.
What Are The Best Foods For Hypothyroidism?
The following foods are beneficial for hypothyroidism patients:
- Fish: The fish that rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as wild salmon, tuna, trout, or sardines) is very good for thyroid function. Fish is also a rich source of selenium that helps to reduce inflammation.
- Nuts: Nuts are a great source of selenium, but take care of the quantity as they are high in fat.
- Whole grains: Constipation is one of the common symptoms of Hypothyroidism and whole grains like bread, cereal, rice, and pasta are associated with high amount of fibre. The fibre is very helpful in maintaining the bowel regularity.
- Fresh vegetables and fruits: Weight gain is a common initial symptom of Hypothyroidism. So, in this case, you should take low-calorie and high nutrient foods. Blueberries, sweet potatoes, cherries, and green peppers are rich in antioxidants, so you can add these foods to your diet.
- Seaweed: Seaweed is associated with high amount of iodine that is a crucial nutrient for proper thyroid function. But, consult your Doctor before increasing your iodine intake.
- Beans: Beans are a good source of sustained energy, so it is very beneficial in Hypothyroidism.
What Are The Worst Foods For Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism patients should avoid the following foods:
- Soy: Patients who are suffering from hypothyroidism should moderate their soy consumption.
- Cruciferous Vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli and cabbage) can interfere with the thyroid hormone production, especially people who are suffering from an iodine deficiency.
- Gluten: Hypothyroidism patients should minimise their Gluten (wheat, rye, barley, and other grains) intake.
- Fatty foods: Fats may reduce the body’s ability in order to absorb thyroid hormone. So, the consumption of mayonnaise, butter, margarine etc should be avoided in hypothyroidism.
- Sugary foods: a result of hypothyroidism, the metabolism rate can slow down. So, it’s best to reduce or completely eliminate the sugar from your diet.
- Processed foods: People suffering from hypothyroidism should avoid processed foods.
- Excess fibre: Fibre is essential for health, but too much fibre consumption can make your Hypothyroidism treatment more complicated.
- Coffee: Caffeine can
What Are The Medicines For Hypothyroidism?
What Are The Tips To Manage Hypothyroidism?
Thyroid and Vitamin-D level should be checked on a regular basis. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important.