Once you are diagnosed with thyroid problems, the next immediate question is - what is the solution? How can I control my thyroid disease?
Before we jump to the answer, it is important to understand why this control is necessary. The thyroid gland in the front of the neck produces two very important hormones - T3 and T4. These play many roles in the body and affect your metabolism and mood.
These hormones are controlled by a substance released by the brain called TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone). In hypothyroidism, T3 and T4 are low, and TSH may be higher than normal. Here's what that causes:
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Hair fall
- Feeling cold
- Irregular menstrual cycle
These are the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism. However, if left uncontrolled, there can be much more severe consequences. These range from distressing to potentially fatal conditions.
What can happen in untreated thyroid disease?
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Peripheral neuropathy
Goiter is a swelling of the thyroid gland. When TSH levels are consistently high, they stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more hormones. This leads to enlargement of the thyroid gland.
If the size of the gland increases a lot, it can cause difficulty in breathing or swallowing food. Such cases may require surgical management.
You might wonder, what does the thyroid have to do with the kidneys? Research has shown that hypothyroidism increases the chances of developing chronic kidney disease in the long run.
It is no secret that thyroid disease can cause weight gain. A part of this weight gain is water retention. When your thyroid hormone levels are low, your body is more likely to retain salt and water and cause swelling. This means that your heart has to work harder to ensure blood flow to the entire body.
Hypothyroidism also affects lipid levels. This could mean an increased chance of blockages that affect the blood supply to the heart and can even cause a heart attack.
A lot of women with hypothyroidism have trouble conceiving. Some people even believe that you cannot get pregnant if you have thyroid disease.
While that may not be true, thyroid hormones affect the menstrual cycle and ovulation. Ovulation is the process by which a woman's body releases an egg every month. Thyroid disease also affects the ability of the sperm to fuse with the egg.
This means that thyroid hormones can make it difficult to get pregnant in multiple ways. Hence, it is important to take treatment at the correct time.
Peripheral neuropathy refers to a condition that affects the nerves in the body. It can cause tingling or loss of sensation, especially in the tips of the fingers and the toes. Many chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypothyroidism can affect the nerves and cause these problems.
Myxedema is one of the most dangerous complications of hypothyroidism. It is a life-threatening condition that affects the brain and can cause loss of consciousness, slow heart rate, reduced breathing rate, loss of ability to control body temperature, etc.
This is a severe condition seen when the thyroid is left untreated for long. It is precipitated by any other medical condition such as stroke, infections, or trauma in most cases.
What can I do to control my thyroid disease?
If you read the above content and got worried, take a deep breath. Thyroid disease is easy to control, and appropriate treatment can avoid these complications in most cases. Here are some tips to keep in mind to stay in good health:
Make it a habit to take your thyroid tablet first thing in the morning. While occasionally skipping a dose is understandable, doing so frequently can be dangerous. If your thyroid hormone levels keep going up and down, it becomes more difficult to set the correct dose of your medication. It will be more difficult to control hormone levels over time.
Consult a thyroid doctor
All over the Internet, you will find a lot of experts with a lot of advice. Someone will suggest a magical drink; another might give a set of exercises.
However, your health is precious. Do not compromise on it. It is beneficial to consult qualified doctors who can give you evidence-based treatment. This will ensure that you are getting better each day.
Take care of your whole body, not just your thyroid
You may wonder why you need to follow a strict diet or exercise routine when the problem is just in your thyroid. However, as we have seen, your thyroid gland affects the functioning of almost every other organ in the body.
From heart health to mental health, thyroid hormones are vital for many systems. Hence, when treating thyroid disease, focus on building overall health. Having a healthy lifestyle can help control the symptoms of thyroid disease and ensure comfort in daily life. It can also reduce the requirement for external hormonal supplements.
Get a hypothyroidism diet plan
When you have thyroid disease, just taking medicines is not enough. There are a lot of factors that can trigger autoimmune thyroid disease. One of the most common of these is an improper diet.
Two of the most common components of a regular diet better avoided are gluten and dairy products. Often it isn't easy to understand what to eat and what to avoid. Nutritionists who are trained in treating thyroid disease can do that for you.
Eating anti-inflammatory foods may sound complicated, but it is not. With the right guidance, you can be on track in no time.
Actions speak louder than words
You may read a lot about how to control thyroid disease. But none of it will be helpful until you take the first step actively. Whether that means replacing your wheat chapati with a jowar bhakri or sipping on green tea instead of milk tea, you can decide.
When you start making these small changes, you will automatically experience a change in your energy levels and mood. That will keep you motivated to carry on!
It is very important to control thyroid disease at the right time. If thyroid hormone levels are left unchecked, they can cause many complications. Are you still confused about where to start or what exactly to do?