Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is underactive and does not produce the required amount of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland that lies in front of the neck. The hormones produced by the thyroid gland are T3 & T4 which have an impact on the metabolism as they control vital functions of the body such as temperature and heart rate.
The hormones produced by the thyroid gland are responsible for providing energy to almost every organ in the body and control functions like heartbeat, digestion, etc. Thus when the thyroid gland stops working at optimum level then functions of the body begin to slow down.
Hypothyroidism is a very common condition affecting mostly women. In fact, 1 out of 8 women develops underactive thyroid as they age.
Hypothyroidism may be caused due to a number of factors:
The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism depend on the level of deficiency of the hormones. Symptoms often take time to develop, often over a number of years.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HYPOTHYROIDISM INCLUDE:
There are two tools for determining whether you have hypothyroidism or not.
A FAMILY HISTORY OF ANY THYROID DISORDER ALSO ADDS TO THE DIAGNOSIS.
ANTI- TPO IS ALSO MANDATORY TO RULE OUT AUTOIMMUNE (HASHIMOTO'S) THYROIDITIS.
An artificial substitute of T4 is given to the patients in the conventional treatment method. Conventionally hypothyroidism is taken as a lifelong condition and levothyroxine is administered with dosage depending on the severity of the symptoms.
Hypothyroidism can become a serious condition if left untreated as symptoms become more severe with time. The mental symptoms become more severe with time along with troubled breathing. If hypothyroidism is not treated then goiter may develop as the thyroid gland increases in size because of overstimulation.
The heart functions are also compromised because of a lack of thyroid hormones and the patient is not able to maintain body temperature properly.
The situation can turn out to be fatal if myxedema develops.
There are few dietary recommendations that a patient with hypothyroidism can follow to manage his/her symptoms.
Hypothyroidism can affect pregnancy in many ways. It can cause anemia, miscarriage, low birth weight of the baby, IUGR (growth of the fetus retards), preeclampsia, stillbirths(dead born baby), and birth defects.
1. TIREDNESS: The thyroid gland controls energy balance thus tiredness is the most common sign to go for hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). The person feels always unrested and wants to sleep all the time.
2. WEIGHT GAIN: Weight gain is also a very common sign for getting your thyroid levels checked. The metabolism slows down and the body doesn't burn calories. The body starts to conserve energy rather than spending it. All this results in weight gain.
3. INTOLERANCE TO COLD: The body produces heat when it burns calories. In cases of an underactive thyroid, the metabolism is very low thus the body stops consumption of calories thus heat production in the body is not there. All this makes the person cold sensitive.
4. BODY ACHES: In hypothyroidism, the body stops the consumption of calories and metabolism slows down. As a result of this catabolism starts in the body which means the body breaks down the muscles for energy. This breakdown of muscles causes weakness and aches.
5. HAIR FALL AND HAIR LOSS: Due to low thyroid hormones the lifespan of the hair follicles gets short and the follicles stop regenerating resulting in hair loss. Furthermore, the hair becomes coarse.
6. ROUGHNESS OF SKIN: Skin is also affected by low thyroid hormones. The turnover of the skin increases rapidly leading to early shedding but the skin takes longer to regrow as the growth signals are low because of low thyroid hormones. Because of all this, the outer lawyer becomes more dry and flaky resulting in itching and dryness.
7. FEELING DEPRESSED AND MOOD SWINGS: Feeling low and depressed is also seen commonly with hypothyroidism.
8. LACK OF CONCENTRATION: Brain fag is a common symptom of hypothyroidism. Concentration is poor and the person also has difficulty memorizing things.
9. CONSTIPATION: Bowel movements are also impacted by low thyroid hormones. The person feels unsatisfactory bowel movements.
10. ISSUES WITH MENSTRUATION: Thyroid hormone interacts with other hormones in the body including the hormones that manage menstrual cycles. The periods can be heavy or irregular or any sort of abnormality can be seen.
Hypothyroidism can be managed well by doing lifestyle changes. The management includes diet, exercise, meditation, thyroid hormone supplementation, and stress management. Alternative treatments have a good scope with the management of hypothyroidism. Homeopathy can manage the issues including the symptoms very well.
Diet includes monitoring what you eat. The person should avoid soy products, should switch to whole grain food items. Iodine-rich food items should be included in the diet and fiber should be eaten wisely.
Physical activity is very important to boost the metabolism as hypothyroidism slows it down. By boosting up the metabolism the body would start burning calories thus helping to lose weight as well.
Stress management is also a great part of the management of hypothyroidism. Stress makes the condition worse so meditation and other stress busters are highly recommended.
Homeopathy is very efficient in taking care of hypothyroidism.
Weight gain is one of the major and first issues faced because of underactive thyroid. The body stops using calories and just keeps on storing them. The thyroid gland is meant for all the calorie work thus makes it difficult for the person to lose weight. The person gains weight easily as well which is tough to get rid of. Here are few tips that can help the person to manage the thyroid hormones:
1. STAY ACTIVE: Being physically active is the key to boost up the slow metabolism caused by an underactive thyroid. Regular physical exercise is a must for keeping up and consistency can help you lose weight. High-intensity interval training, cardio, and strength training can help with weight loss.
2. BALANCED DIET: By keeping your diet inclusive of everything can help you get all the nutrients and stay healthy as well. Diet should include lean proteins, whole grains, iodine-rich food items, dairy, seafood, and just required carbs would give you the required nutrition. Limit soy intake and don't take iodine in supplements.
3. MANAGE YOUR STRESS: Stress management is key to health so cut out things that trigger stress in your case and try to do more of the things that help you stay calm and happy. Do meditation and respiratory exercises.
4. HAVE A GOOD SLEEP CYCLE: Sleep plays an important role in keeping thyroid hormones under better working conditions. The sleep cycle should be an uninterrupted sleep of 7-8 hours and you should go to bed early as night watching can make you feel more lethargic the next day.