Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid gland cannot synthesise enough of the thyroid hormone. If you have hypothyroid, your thyroid hormone level is too low. Thyroid hormones are essential for almost every vital activity of the body. It may be regulation of heartbeat, body weight, bone growth, brain function and likewise. Deficiency in thyroid hormone affects the functioning of your organs predominantly. The significant causes of hypothyroidism are thyroid surgery and genetic reasons etc.
People with hypothyroidism experience a slower metabolism. Metabolism is a collective term for various functions or activities in your body’s cells. These activities transform the food you eat into energy. In addition, this energy is vital for different tasks like movements, thinking, growth, etc. Certain hormones in your body regulate these metabolic activities. The thyroid hormone is one of the most important among them.
Therefore, low thyroid hormone means your metabolism is slow. During low metabolism, the energy released is more petite. Therefore, low energy makes you weak and exhausted. Moreover, when the food does not burn off calories, it gains weight. Likewise, it affects every activity of your body Let’s learn about this disease and some of the hypothyroidism symptoms.
How to Know if I Have Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid secretes significantly less hormone. As a result, it inhibits your metabolic activities and slows down energy release, leading to numerous disorders.
So let us know the symptoms and how they develop.
1. Weight Gain
The weight gain in hypothyroidism is due to fat and fluid accumulation. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid levels are too low. As you know, this reduces your metabolic activities. It prevents burning calories in your food, resulting in weight gain.
Study shows that low thyroid hormones impair kidney function. The kidney is associated with eliminating water and salts from your body. Therefore, with thyroid hormones malfunctioning, the kidney function is interrupted, leading to water and toxins retention. Ultimately, this results in swelling, which contributes to weight gain.
The thyroid hormones regulate your metabolic activities. When your thyroid synthesises, hormone metabolism reduces substantially. Therefore, this results in a minor release of energy, making you weak and lethargic.
3. Sensitivity to Cold Temperatures
Thyroid hormones are one of the primary regulators of your body temperature. Unfortunately, people with hypothyroidism do not synthesise enough thyroid hormone. Therefore, this inhibits your body from converting and storing energy. Therefore, there is less energy to maintain body temperature effectively. As a result, it makes you sensitive to cold.
Study shows that those with hypothyroidism are more prone to depression. It is due to serotonin and dopamine. They are the prime hormones associated with regulating mood swings. However, low thyroid hormones may reduce the synthesis of these hormones in the brain. Consequently, these imbalances the emotions of happiness, relaxation and pleasure. Therefore hypothyroid individuals may develop depression.
5. Dry Skin
Studies show that hypothyroidism can cause coarse, rough, dry, and dull skin—the dryness results from low secretion of sweat, and sebaceous glands. Skin covers most of the body and contains both glands throughout your body. Sweat glands secrete sweat. In addition, they help in removing all the dirt from the skin. It also prevents dry skin. Additionally, sebaceous glands synthesise sebum. It is an oily secretion that moisturises your skin.
The deficiency of thyroid hormone impacts the secretion of both glands. It results in dryness leading to itchiness all over the body. It can be legs, hands, scalp. In addition, your feet have numerous sweat glands comparatively. Therefore the skin irritation and itching might be higher in your feet comparatively.
Thyroid hormones regulate many bodily processes. Low thyroid levels also slow down the sleep process. In hypothyroidism, the cortisol or stress hormones increase. As a result, it inhibits serotonin secretion. The serotonin hormone regulates your emotions to a large extent. Study shows its deficiency induce depression, loss of focus and sleeplessness.
7. Bone Disorders
Hypothyroidism affects body metabolism. It slows down the elimination of excess minerals from your body. It, in turn, causes the accumulation of minerals in the bone and muscle tissues. As a result, there is pain and swelling in the joints, ultimately restricting your body movements.
Study shows pain and swelling in joints also result in gout and hyperuricemia. Hyperuricemia is a condition that means there are excess uric acid levels in the blood. Accumulation of uric acid crystals in bones results in gout. Gout causes inflammation and painful joints, including your feet joints. Thus, causing painful and limited movements.
Hypothyroidism suppresses your respiratory muscles and affects lung function. It also affects the absorption of oxygen. Moreover, low thyroid levels affect the heart rate. It prevents the heart from pumping oxygenated blood to the body. Thus, resulting in oxygen deficiency. Symptoms include fatigue, breathlessness, shortness of breath during workout or exertion exercise.
Headache is one of the symptoms of hypothyroidism. The study shows it is unclear about the exact cause of headaches in an underactive thyroid condition. However, the thyroid hormone replacement drug- levothyroxine relieves the headaches.
10. Kidney Dysfunction
Study shows that hypothyroidism affects kidney function. The kidney is associated with eliminating excess salts and water via urination. However, low thyroid levels slow down renal function. It results in the accumulation of sodium and other salts and water, leading to urinary retention.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
There can be various reasons for the reduced synthesis of thyroid hormone. Here let us know a few of the major causes.
- Autoimmune disease: Autoimmune disorder occurs when your immune system mistakes the thyroid cells for foreign bodies. As a result, they attack the thyroid cell, affecting thyroid hormone synthesis. An example is Hashimotos Thyroiditis.
- Thyroidectomy is the surgical removal of the thyroid gland. In this case, it may be either a part of the thyroid or the entire thyroid gland that gets removed. Thyroidectomy becomes necessary in certain diseases like thyroid cancer, thyroid nodules, etc. In addition, some people with thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer, or Graves disease need to have part or all of their thyroid removed. When the entire thyroid removal occurs, you are likely to become hypothyroid.
- Radiation treatment: Radiation helps destroy cancer cells. Cancer to head and neck, chest, lymphoma treatment happens with radiation. The radiation can affect the thyroid cells negatively. Thus, resulting in hypothyroidism.
- Congenital Hypothyroidism: In some cases, babies are born without a thyroid or underdeveloped thyroid. It results in reduced levels of thyroid hormone.
- Medicines or supplements. Some medicines have the potential to prevent the synthesis of thyroid hormones. It includes amiodarone, interferon etc. But unfortunately, they trigger hypothyroidism.
- Iodine Deficiency: Iodine is a vital element needed for synthesising thyroid hormones. Therefore, to keep a balance in hormone synthesis, you need iodine. Its deficiency results in hypothyroidism. In that case, you need to include Iodine rich food as the source of iodine.
- Pituitary gland Diseases: The pituitary gland regulates thyroid secretion. So any injury or disorder to the pituitary gland results in hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism: How Severe Can it Get?
If hypothyroidism diagnosis happens in its initial stage, the treatment can be effective. Nonetheless, if hypothyroidism symptoms are ignored or untreated, it may result in various disorders. It can be an irregular heartbeat, which can also be fatal. It includes weight gain or obesity, high cholesterol, heart disease, depression and likewise.
There may not be an immediate cure for hypothyroidism. However, proper treatment along with diet control and lifestyle modification helps essentially. It may regulate the hormone levels and minimise the symptoms. The complications of hypothyroidism include:
Thyroid hormones help to process the fat in the blood by the liver. However, the low hormone levels slow down the liver processes, resulting in the accumulation of unhealthy fats or cholesterol in your blood. Moreover, abnormal fat deposits along the blood vessels disrupt the smooth blood flow. Thus, resulting in high blood pressure. High cholesterol and blood pressure are the primary reasons for heart disorders.
Stroke is a cardiovascular disorder. It occurs when the blood circulation to the brain is interrupted. It may be due to blockage in blood vessels. On the other hand, it may be due to high cholesterol, narrowing the blood vessels. Therefore, it results in abnormal blood pressure.
Impacts Brain Function
Study shows that the thyroid hormone is essential for brain function. Low levels of thyroid hormones inhibit the synthesis of neurotransmitters or hormones. It includes serotonin, dopamine etc. These hormones help regulate your mood swings. The deficiency of these hormones causes either depression or sleeplessness. Hypothyroidism is often associated with memory impairment. Conversely, hypothyroidism also leads to dementia, confusion, disoriented speech etc. However, most of these disorders are reversible with normal thyroid hormone levels.
As you know, hypothyroidism slows down the metabolism. As a result, it inhibits the synthesis of reproductive hormones and results in an imbalance in the ovulation or egg release from the ovary. Thus, leading to infertility in females.
Study shows that in males, hypothyroidism may affect the reproductive system. Testosterone synthesis gets impacted. It is the male reproductive hormone that regulates sperm synthesis. It also affects sperm motility, count and viability.
During the initial stage of pregnancy, the fetus depends on you for thyroid hormones. Suppose thyroid hormone is deficient; it may cause adverse effects on your baby. Thyroid hormones are vital for brain growth. Studies found that kids born to mothers with low thyroid levels during pregnancy can have brain disorders. It includes lower IQ and retards mental and physical development and likewise. However, if the levels are normalised and treated, a hypothyroid woman can have healthy babies.
Preventive Measures to Regulate Hypothyroidism Symptoms
Preventive measures include a healthy, nutritious, and well-balanced diet and routine workout and medications. A good combination of the above three may help regulate the hyperthyroid symptoms.
Nutritionists recommend A high fibre diet to regulate your body weight. Dietary fibres make you feel fuller, which prevents you from overeating. Thus controls your body weight. In addition, you should include iodine-rich foods. It is vital for the healthy function of your thyroid as it induces thyroid hormone synthesis. Iodine deficiency is a major cause of thyroid disorder. Like tuna, sardine and shrimps, seafood is rich in iodine: beans, dairy products, eggs, iodised salt, and other iodine-rich sources.
Foods rich in antioxidants have multiple benefits in hypothyroidism. Antioxidants are compounds that prevent oxidative stress on cells. Oxidative stress induces radical cell injury, which results in various diseases. Study shows it enhances the severity of hypothyroidism too.
Moreover, antioxidants also have anti-inflammatory properties. It prevents swelling and inflammation in the body. For example, ginger is rich in potassium and magnesium and helps fight inflammation. Likewise, Curcumin in turmeric comes with anti-inflammatory properties. Most fruits vegetables have antioxidants. It includes tomatoes, turmeric, ginger, leafy green vegetables, seafood, and lean meat.
However, certain foods may disrupt the synthesis of the hormone, and they may also prevent the absorption of thyroid drugs. It includes caffeine, alcohol, refined food products, cruciferous vegetables, etc. Cruciferous vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, kale etc. Discuss your dietary habits with your doctor. They would help you choose and avoid the food from your diet and help to regulate the thyroid levels effectively.
Regular Exercise or Workout
Regular exercise or workouts may be effective. Along with a healthy diet, it helps to reduce various hypothyroid symptoms. Exercise burns calories to lose weight. It also stimulates endorphin secretion. They are hormones with antidepressant properties. It also controls your mood swings and prevents anxiety and depression. Check with your doctor before you begin any workout regimen.
Walking, swimming, and water aerobics help. Study shows brisk walking helps burn your calories. Exercise also prevents stress. Another study shows stress disrupts thyroid function. When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol or stress hormones, which prevents the secretion of thyroid hormones. Brisk walking meditation and breathing exercises can reduce your stress. Thus, it helps to reverse your hypothyroidism symptoms.
Irregular and uninterrupted sleep cycles induce stress and release cortisol. As a result, it prevents the thyrotropin hormone release that stimulates the synthesis of thyroid hormones.
A mid evening brisk walk will sufficiently tire the body and help it get that much needed sound sleep. Study shows that eight hours of interrupted sleep also manage your stress effectively.
Medications and Other Guidelines by Your Doctor
Strict adherence to your prescribed medications is equally essential. The prescribed drugs with lifestyle changes can reverse your condition to a large extent. In alternative medicines, ashwagandha is popular in treating hypothyroidism. Ayurvedic medicine recommends the usage of it for ages. Study shows that it may normalise the thyroid hormone levels in hypothyroidism. However, it can interact with your thyroid medications. Therefore, check with your doctor before taking any supplements. That may help prevent any adverse effects.
Hypothyroidism is a disorder with reduced or too low levels of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones regulate and influence almost every activity of your body. Therefore, a low level can result in multiple organ disorders. However, effective dietary and Lifestyle modifications will certainly help to normalise hormone levels certainly helps to normalise the hormone levels. HealthifyMe is an app trusted by millions of users worldwide. You can seek guidance from their professional and expert panel of nutritionists and coaches to combat such disorders. They will guide you for effective hypothyroidism management.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Is headache a symptom of hypothyroidism?
A: Yes, a headache is a common symptom of hypothyroidism. In addition, the frequency of headaches may be higher in underactive thyroid people. Levothyroxine, the thyroid hormone replacement drug, helps relieve hypothyroidism headaches.
Q: Does thyroid affect urination?
A: Low thyroid hormone levels may slow down renal function. It leads to the accumulation of sodium and other salts along with water. Thus, it results in urinary retention and is one of the main symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Q: Is hypothyroidism curable?
A: Hypothyroidism is a curable condition. You can cure it with regular medicines and lifestyle modifications. It includes a healthy, nutritious and well-balanced diet and regular workouts.
Q: Can hypothyroidism cause weight loss?
A: No, it does not cause weight loss instead results in weight gain. The weight gain in hypothyroidism is due to fat and fluid accumulation. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid levels are too low. As you know, this reduces your metabolic activities. It prevents the burning of calories and results in weight gain.
Q: Can a hypothyroid patient take ashwagandha?
A: Yes, Ashwagandha is effective in hypothyroidism. It is a celebrated ayurvedic medicine. However, it may interact with your medications. Therefore, consult your doctor before consuming it.
Q: Does thyroid disease cause itchy feet?
A: Yes, itchy feet are a symptom of thyroid disease. Low hormone levels in hypothyroidism may cause rough, dry, and dull skin. The dryness is due to the insufficient secretion of the sweat gland and sebaceous glands. It imparts dryness to the skin, including the feet.
Q: Does hypothyroidism cause dull skin?
A: Yes, Hypothyroidism causes rough, dry and dull skin. It may be due to the underactive sweat and sebaceous glands. Both the glands help to hydrate and moisturise the skin.
Q: Is headache a symptom of hypothyroidism?
A: Yes, headache is a common symptom of hypothyroidism. The exact reason is not apparent. However, the thyroid hormone replacement drug reduces the frequency of headaches.
Q: Can hypothyroidism cause shortness of breath?
A: Yes, Hypothyroidism causes shortness of breath. The deficiency of thyroid hormones suppresses the respiratory muscles. As a result, it affects the smooth functioning of the lungs. Thus, resulting in shortness of breath.