If you are here, chances are you have been diagnosed with thyroid disease and are ready to start hypothyroidism treatment. As this is a medical condition that affects various aspects of your life, it is essential to plan treatment correctly.
Your thyroid gland produces hormones that perform multiple functions. When these hormones are not released in sufficient quantities, you develop hypothyroidism. One of the most common causes of this is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a type of inflammation of the thyroid gland.
If you have been undergoing treatment for some time but are not satisfied with the results, let’s take a step back. You must review if any part of your daily routine is slowing your progress.
You may have heard many things about thyroid disease. As far as possible, avoid information found on random WhatsApp groups and unverified Google pages. Even though it could be well-meaning advice, it may not be correct.
The best option is to find a thyroid expert near you. This would be a medical professional trained in the management of hypothyroidism. Before we get into the mistakes, let’s answer the big question first -
Is there a permanent cure for hypothyroidism?
One of the most common myths about thyroid disease is that it has no treatment. Patients with hypothyroidism think they will feel tired and lethargic all the time. Others simply take thyroid medication and expect to recover completely.
However, here is where you can do things differently. It is crucial to make specific lifestyle changes to control the symptoms of hypothyroidism. If you are constantly eating junk food, sleeping at odd hours, or have a sedentary life, even taking your thyroid tablet every day may not be enough.
It would help if you focused on a holistic approach. This is even more important for autoimmune thyroid disease. A study showed that lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, smoking, and consumption of alcohol could have a significant impact on thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid antibody levels. TSH is the hormone released by the pituitary gland to stimulate thyroid function.
We are so sure that you can see drastic changes in your health because we have seen it firsthand. Functional medicine may open some treatment avenues you may not have yet explored.
Read on to discover some of the mistakes you may be making in your treatment journey. Chances are, you may not even be aware that these are slowing down your progress.
Five mistakes to avoid if you have hypothyroidism
You are not sleeping well.
Low thyroid hormone levels can result in difficulty in falling asleep and poor sleep quality. So if you find yourself tossing and turning in bed at 2 am, it may not be your fault.
One proposed theory is that symptoms of hypothyroidism make it challenging to sleep. If you suffer from muscle pain, cold intolerance, joint pain, or anxiety, you may simply not be comfortable enough to sleep.
Lack of sleep has been linked to higher TSH levels and even an imbalance of T3 and T4 in recent studies.
Do you see the problem now? If your thyroid hormones are imbalanced, you will have symptoms that may not allow you to sleep well. But your hormones will be all over the place if you are not sleeping enough.
Now that you know how closely linked your sleep and thyroid health are, don’t compromise on it. Getting into bed early, staying away from binge-watching TV at night, and avoiding afternoon naps are easy ways to improve your sleep habits.
Want to know what I do to sleep better? Journaling. Letting out your thoughts before you sleep helps clear your mind and reduces the chances of overthinking the next day. You can just keep a pen and paper at your bedside table and jot down whatever you want. It really is that simple!
You skip your follow-up sessions.
There are two scenarios in which you might skip doctor visits:
You’re just fed up with the treatment or worried about side effects and decide you want to let your thyroid problem take its course.
You have been regular with your medication, and you may wonder what the necessity for a follow-up is. This is especially true if you are comfortable or symptom-free.
However, you should not skip that trip in either of these cases.
Without treatment, hypothyroidism can even be fatal. This is especially true if you already have severe disease or fluctuating hormone levels. Taking the same dose of medication may also not be a good idea in the long term.
Your doctor can change the dose of your medication for many reasons. Over a few years, your body weight may vary. You might also be started on other drugs or have multiple associated diseases. Your body’s ability to metabolize the medication will also change. All of these are normal changes that happen in every person.
If you take the medication at a dose higher than what you need, you might experience symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Overdosage can be very risky and can be easily avoided if you are regular with check-ups.
Your diet or exercise plan is not sustainable.
If you search online for the best foods to boost an underactive thyroid, you may see foods like seaweed or seafood like oysters and shellfish, brussel sprouts, kale, grains like buckwheat, quinoa, and so on. Some of the foods may seem new and unfamiliar.
This may seem confusing if you are new to setting a diet plan. Similarly, when you start to exercise, you will see people spending hours at the gym, lifting heavy weights, or just doing high-intensity exercises.
However, if you suddenly bring about drastic changes in your lifestyle, you will not be able to stick with it. You may be tempted to just have that one cheat meal or skip one workout.
The key is to set a sustainable hypothyroidism diet plan. This means that you should not constantly be craving better food. Our good old Indian vegetables and grains are just as healthy as their foreign counterparts. Make sure to steam and cook your vegetables properly to reap their full benefit.
You ignore your mental health.
Your mindset and mood play a significant role in your daily life. In fact, your mood is linked to everything you do. Some days you can spend the whole day active; on others, even getting out of bed may feel tedious.
Hypothyroidism affects your emotions and mental health significantly. It has been linked to anxiety and depression. If you are in a low mood, are you more likely to make a green smoothie or reach out for that chocolate bar? The answer is obvious.
Your mental health affects what you eat, how much energy you have, and how you sleep. All the symptoms of thyroid disease depend on each other. If any factor is out of balance, it also affects the others.
It helps immensely to have someone to talk to and share your daily struggles with. Here is where it helps to have a community of people who are facing similar problems. Hearing their stories can help keep you motivated. And you might just be an inspiration for many too!
You ignore symptoms and focus only on blood tests.
If you take your thyroid medication correctly, your TSH levels and thyroid hormones may be normal. But what if you still feel tired or your weight does not reduce?
This is a very real scenario faced by many patients. It is also one of the reasons that functional medicine is effective. Thyroid medication may not eradicate all your symptoms. However, lifestyle changes can make a difference.
When we teach how to cure thyroid disease permanently, we aren’t just talking about test results. We mean helping you lead a happy and comfortable life. If your thyroid medication is not doing that, you may need some more changes.
The bottom line:
A good thyroid specialist is a vital part of your hypothyroidism treatment plan. When you are regular with your medication, make sure your lifestyle also aligns with your goals. Medical education is best gained through qualified experts in the field.