We are sure you have someone in your family or neighborhood that has thyroid problems. Or you must have come across someone with a thyroid problem. With approximately 42 million thyroid patients, India bears a huge burden of thyroid illness. Thyroid disorders affect one out of every three Indians and can cause weight gain, hair loss, and hormonal imbalances.
Therefore, having an understanding of thyroid functions and how to maintain optimal thyroid health is of utmost importance because thyroid problems can strike at any age. Men, women, newborns, teenagers, and the elderly can all be affected by thyroid disease.
Why Thyroid Health Matters?
Firstly, let us understand how the gland works. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ positioned under the voice box at the base of your neck. It is an important hormone gland that affects the human body’s metabolism functions, growth, and development.
By continuously releasing a stable amount of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream, it aids in the regulation of numerous body functions. It is the thyroid gland that generates extra hormones when the body needs more energy in particular situations, such as when it is growing cold, or pregnant. When your thyroid is functioning properly, it will produce the appropriate amount of hormones to keep your growth and metabolism running smoothly.This is why it is very important on our part to maintain good thyroid health. The thyroid gland’s function, after all, has an impact on your entire health.
The thyroid regulates the following vital physiological functions: Breathing, Body mass index, Heartbeats per minute, the nerve systems of the central and peripheral nervous systems, Muscle endurance, Cycles of menstruation, Temperature of the body, Cholesterol concentrations, etc. When your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, it can hurt your entire body.
Some Common Thyroid Disorders
The thyroid gland normally produces the precise amount of hormones required to keep your body’s metabolism functioning smoothly and in balance. Thyroid illness occurs when the thyroid gland fails to function normally, either by producing too much or too little hormone. The following are the most prevalent thyroid conditions:
Hyperthyroidism– It is when the thyroid gland is hyperactive and produces too much hormone. It causes symptoms such as insomnia, nervousness and irritability, bulging eyes, brittle hair and nails, and weight loss.
Hypothyroidism– Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce adequate hormones. It causes fatigue and weakness, hair loss, obesity, depression, and memory issues among others. Untreated hypothyroidism in pregnant women increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and developmental issues in their children.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis– When the body’s immune system mistakenly targets and destroys the thyroid gland and its ability to create hormones, the illness develops. It can strike anyone at any age, although it is most common in women in their forties and fifties. The condition can be stable for years, with symptoms that are comparable to hypothyroidism.
Graves’ Disease– Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system assaults the thyroid gland by mistake. This can cause the gland to generate too much of the hormone that controls metabolism. Family history, stress, pregnancy, and smoking are some of the risk factors. Its symptoms are similar to hyperthyroidism.
Goiter –The thyroid gland may also expand in size. Diffuse goiter is when the thyroid gland as a whole enlarges, while nodular goiter is when specific lumps (nodules) grow in the gland.Iodine deficiency in the diet is the most common cause of goiter worldwide. Hoarseness of voice, neck swelling, breathing or swallowing difficulties, and coughing or wheezing are some of its symptoms.
Thyroid Cancer– Thyroid cancer begins in the thyroid gland when cells proliferate out of control. It affects three times as many women as it does men. Thyroid cancer has no established cause, but various risk factors have been found, including a family history of goiter, radiation exposure, and certain inherited disorders. A lump around the neck, difficulty swallowing, swollen lymph nodes, and throat or neck soreness are also common symptoms.
How to Prevent Thyroid Disorders
Feeling concerned about your thyroid health? To put it honestly, you cannot prevent thyroid disease. But you can lower your risk by living a healthy lifestyle and avoid complications by seeking early treatment. Thyroid diseases can look like a variety of other illnesses, making diagnosis more complicated. If you have even the slightest suspicion that you may have a thyroid problem, see your doctor or an endocrinologist as soon as possible.
Meanwhile here are some healthy suggestions to keep your thyroid in good shape:
1. Regular Health Checkups and Optimization of Vitamin D: Vitamin D levels must be adequate to regulate the immune system and keep inflammation at bay. Have your vitamin D levels checked by your doctor regularly to ensure they are within a healthy range?
2. Regulating the consumption of iodine: The thyroid uses iodine to generate hormones. While iodine shortage is a major problem that affects millions of people worldwide, too much of it can also harm the thyroid. When your body has too much iodine, the thyroid produces more thyroid hormones than it requires.
3. Quit smoking– Cigarette smoking has been proven in numerous studies to have a variety of consequences, including an increase in thyroid hormones. Tobacco use may also contribute to thyroid autoimmunity and the development of multinodular goiter. It also diminishes the treatment’s effectiveness.
4. Anti-inflammatory diet should be the key:At least 70% of autoimmune activity occurs in the gut. To lower your risk of a malfunctioning thyroid, avoid sweets and processed foods in favor of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts, healthy fats like olive and canola oils.
5. If necessary, take a selenium supplement: Selenium aids in the “activation” of thyroid hormones, allowing them to be used by the body. Some antioxidant properties are also provided by this vital mineral. Increasing your selenium levels by eating selenium-rich foods like Brazil nuts, tuna, sardines, eggs, and legumes is a fantastic approach to do so. However, only take a selenium supplement if a healthcare practitioner recommends it. Selenium in high concentrations can be harmful.
6. Regularly exercise and eat a well-balanced diet: Regular exercise keeps the body fit and energetic while also improving stress management abilities. Eggs, meat, fish, cooked vegetables, fruits, gluten-free grains and seeds, dairy, and other non-caffeinated beverages can be consumed for a proper nutrient intake.
Your thyroid generates hormones that are involved in a variety of physiological systems of the body. Every year, significant research is conducted to better understand how to preserve and check for abnormalities in this tiny gland, which plays a critical role in your general health and well-being. The majority of thyroid illnesses are chronic conditions that can be adequately controlled with regular monitoring, lifestyle changes, and medication.
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