One of the biggest endocrine glands, the thyroid gland affects almost every cell in the human body. It is responsible for the regulation of the metabolism and weight by controlling the fat-burning process. Apart from this, thyroid hormones are also required for the growth and development of children and in nearly every physiological process in the body. Weighing somewhere between 20 and 60 grams, the thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland found inside the neck, right under the larynx or voice box.
The most prevalent cause of thyroid disease worldwide is iodine deficiency, which causes goitre and hypothyroidism in some. However, autoimmune thyroid disease is the most common form of thyroid dysfunction in the developed world.
Nutritional factors that harmonise thyroid function:
Let’s first take a detailed look at the many nutritional factors that play a role in harmonizing thyroid function. However, both nutrient deficiencies and excesses can increase symptoms. Working in collaboration with a doctor is ideal to determine nutritional status for optimal thyroid health.
- Iodine is an essential nutrient in the body and critical for thyroid function. Both iodine deficiency and excess have significant risks. Therefore, supplementation should be approached with caution.
- The highest concentration of a mineral called selenium is found in the thyroid gland, and it’s been proven to be a necessary component of enzymes critical to thyroid function. Selenium is an essential trace mineral and has been shown to have a major effect on the immune system, cognitive function, fertility in both men and women, and mortality rate.
- Studies have shown that people with thyroid health condition experience vitamin B12 deficiency.
When it comes to consuming thyroid medications, it’s important to know the medications can interact with common dietary supplements. For instance, calcium & iron supplements have the potential to interfere with proper absorption of thyroid medications. So, patients must check the timing when taking both.
Different types of thyroids:
Apart from nutritional related conditions, there are two kinds of thyroid conditions – hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism- and they are diagnosed by testing the levels of thyroid hormones in the blood. Physicians measure hormones secreted by the thyroid itself (thyroxine), as well as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that triggers hormone production in the thyroid.
In case of hypothyroidism, higher quantities of TSH are secreted in your blood as your body attempts to increase production of thyroid hormones. The opposite is true with hyperthyroidism, in which TSH levels are below normal and circulating thyroid-hormone levels are high. The most common thyroid health condition is hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism:
- Lethargy/Frequent tiredness
- Excessive Sleep
- Weight gain
- Rough and scaly skin
- Dry, coarse, and tangled hair
- Hair loss
- Extra sensitivity to cold
- Low basal temperature: (BBT) – body temperature at wake up time
Any of these symptoms can be indicative of an underactive thyroid. The more of these symptoms you have, the higher the chances that you have hypothyroidism. Furthermore, if you have family history with any of these conditions, your risks of thyroid problems become higher.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism:
- Feeling restless, nervous, emotional or irritable
- Difficulty concentrating
- Frequent bowel movements
- Irregular menstrual periods in women
- Weight loss (or weight gain, in rare cases)
- Rapid, forceful, or irregular heartbeat
- Lack of menstrual periods in women
- Protruding eyes or exophthalmos
If you have any of the above symptoms, visit a quality health screening facility for thyroid screening and then consult an endocrinologist for the correct diagnosis.
Here are some effective measures that can improve your thyroid health:
- Consume iodized salt in your food
- If you have hypothyroidism, avoid eating cabbage, spinach & broccoli
- Limit intake of processed foods like white bread, pasta, cookies, etc.
- Avoid alcohol & tobacco products
- Include exercises like walking and cycling in your daily routine
- Minimise your stress levels
- Get thyroid function tests regularly
For best thyroid diagnosis and treatment, come to Regency Healthcare. Connect today https://regencyhealthcare.in/?s=endocrinologist