Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. Patients diagnosed with thyroid disease have one primary concern - will I ever be completely cured of hypothyroidism?
There are two aspects to the treatment of hypothyroidism. The first is to control thyroid hormone levels. These include TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) released by the brain and T3 and T4 secreted by the thyroid gland. These hormone levels are regularly monitored in patients with thyroid disease.
The second part of understanding how to permanently cure thyroid disease is improving the quality of life. Low thyroid hormone levels result in body ache, fatigue, disturbed sleep, dry skin, low mood, etc. More than the thyroid hormones, these changes affect daily life immensely.
So a permanent cure for thyroid disease requires regulating hormone levels and ensuring that you are comfortable and happy in your daily life as well.
This question can be answered only after taking a detailed history and performing some investigations. However, there is one most common factor. And that is inflammation. Practices directed toward reducing inflammation in the body prevent continued damage to the thyroid gland.
Here are 6 simple changes you can make in your daily routine.
The relationship between sleep and thyroid hormone levels has been researched worldwide. One fact is clear - lack of sleep can significantly affect your thyroid health.
People who slept too less have higher levels of serum TSH. Their free T4 levels also fluctuated more.
Experts recommend practising good sleep hygiene to ensure a restful night. This includes limiting blue light exposure for at least one hour before bedtime, setting fixed times to sleep and wake up, and following calming routines such as meditation.
A thyroid diet is slightly different from regular diets focused on weight loss. Wheat and oats are two commonly consumed grains. However, these contain gluten. Gluten is a substance widely linked to autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto's disease.
You may think - I have eaten these all my life, how can they suddenly cause my health problems? However, the change is not sudden. Gluten sensitivity does not have any prominent symptoms in several cases, so you might miss it.
Here is what you have to do. Shift to a gluten-free diet and experience the change for yourself. Use alternative flours such as jowar or bajra (millet) flour, eat rice-based products, and even ensure that any foods you buy from outside are gluten-free.
Another essential part of diet control is eating overall nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables and nuts. Avoiding processed foods and deep-fried foods is also beneficial.
While lifestyle changes are a must, the other part of thyroid treatment, i.e. medication, is also equally important. It is vital to ensure that you are taking thyroid medication correctly.
People who start thyroid treatment take the same dose for several months or years. Others increase their dose every couple of months. Consulting a thyroid specialist can ensure that you take your medication in the correct dose. After that, make sure to maintain regular follow-ups so that your dose can be modified as needed.
Following the correct lifestyle changes will ensure that your thyroid gland can produce thyroid hormones by itself instead of being dependent on increasing doses of medications. They will also control inflammation that results in continued damage to the gland.
Treating hypothyroidism is not just about consuming thyroid hormones externally. If you want to stimulate your thyroid gland to release hormones on its own, you need to provide the nutrients it needs.
This involves eating food rich in selenium, iodine, vitamins, and omega 3 fatty acids or taking supplements as per your current health condition. You should only take supplements as per a doctor's advice.
Exercise has been well established to improve thyroid function and ensure the better release of T3 and T4 from the thyroid gland. Incorporating regular exercise into your routine helps with both aspects of thyroid treatment. It directly benefits thyroid hormone levels and also helps with symptoms of tiredness, low mood, body aches, etc.
Regular walking, yoga, playing, or any form of physical activity that you enjoy will help you feel energetic. If you are a beginner, start with 20 minutes of exercise a day, and do not push yourself too hard.
You may know that sunlight is the source of vitamin D that makes our bones strong. Vitamin D deficiency is known to worsen thyroid disease. However, sunlight has many other roles too in boosting your thyroid health.
Sunlight also helps regulate other hormones such as melatonin and cortisol. Melatonin plays a vital role in sleep regulation. Hence, adequate sunlight exposure enables you to sleep better. Cortisol regulates adrenal gland function. Just as the thyroid gland releases T3 and T4, the adrenal is another gland located near the kidneys that release hormones such as adrenaline. The adrenal gland and the thyroid gland are closely linked in their functioning.
Sunlight also helps in mood improvement. But how can you reap all these benefits safely? The best time to be out in the sun is for one hour after sunrise. Taking a slow walk in the sun for 20 to 30 minutes at this time is ideal. It is even better if you can walk barefoot.
Is there a permanent cure for thyroid disease? The answer would lie in exploring your case in-depth and identifying the triggers for your condition. If you want a permanent solution, you cannot just treat symptoms. You have to find out what is causing the symptoms and treat that problem. The six steps shared above have been proven to be beneficial in treating the root cause of thyroid disease.