A little gland called the thyroid is positioned near the base of your neck, directly below the voice box. The medical term for thyroid is Glandula Thyreoidea.
The thyroid gland is butterfly-shaped, and its two side lobes are joined at the front by a thin strip of tissue. These lobes rest against the windpipe and surround it.
This gland is a component of the endocrine system, controlling how the body’s numerous processes coordinate. It typically weighs between 20 and 60 grams. The thyroid gland’s tissue comprises several tiny, separate lobules that resemble droplets and get enclosed in thin layers of connective tissue.
Thyroid hormones situate in these lobules’ numerous small follicles, also known as vesicles or cysts. An essential function of the thyroid is to release and manage thyroid hormones that control metabolism, which is the process by which food in your body gets converted to energy.
The pituitary gland regulates the thyroid gland’s appropriate function. In other words, the pituitary gland regulates the levels of the thyroid-stimulating hormone when it detects a deficiency of thyroid hormone in your bloodstream (TSH). To return the body to normal, the TSH instructs the thyroid on what to do.
Symptoms of Thyroid
- Unexpected weight gain or weight loss
- Irritability or mood swings
- Changes in the pulse rate
- Swelling in the neck
- Feeling too hot or too cold
- Hair loss
Common Thyroid Disorders
According to research, around 42 million individuals suffer from various thyroid diseases. One individual can simultaneously be diagnosed with one or several of these conditions, each with distinct symptoms.
You will develop hyperthyroidism if the levels of the thyroid hormone in your body rise too high.
Anxiety, weight loss, heat sensitivity, and occasionally stinging and gritty eyes are all side effects of hyperthyroidism.
When the thyroid gland doesn’t create enough thyroid hormone, hypothyroidism results, and the thyroid hormone controls the body’s metabolism.
Therefore, insufficient production can result in various issues, such as restless sleep, weight gain, mood disorders, and joint and muscular pain.
Iodine shortage or thyroid gland inflammation can cause a goitre, a non-cancerous swelling of the thyroid gland. Coughing, pressure in the throat, or breathing issues are symptoms.
Ways to Control Thyroid Issues
1. Boost Your Vitamin A Intake
Thyroid health depends on vitamin A. Since vitamin A regulates the metabolism of thyroid hormones, a vitamin A deficit (VAD) can result in thyroid dysfunction. A study also shows that vitamin A might lower premenopausal women’s risk of hypothyroidism.
Include foods rich in vitamin A in your diet. Consume yellow and green vegetables, eggs, fatty fish like salmon, and carrots to ensure you get enough of the vitamin. Although vitamin A pills are an option, receiving your nutrition through natural food is preferable.
2. Cook Your Greens
It is vital to cook green vegetables like spinach, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower if you have thyroid gland problems. It is because raw green vegetables contain “goitrogens” that impede the thyroid gland from making thyroid hormones, they hinder the thyroid gland’s capacity to function to its full potential.
Yoghurt, apple cider vinegar, kefir, kombucha, and tempeh should all be included in your diet, as probiotics help the thyroid gland attain stability. As a result, it will lessen thyroid-related symptoms and improve gastrointestinal health.
4. Thyroid Stimulating Exercise
Regular exercise is advantageous for those with thyroid issues since it can lessen symptoms, including weight gain, irritability, and trouble sleeping.
Exercise, however, cannot fix the fundamental problem. People with thyroid issues must adhere to their doctor’s prescribed medication schedule and exercise regularly.
If you have thyroid issues, begin with easy exercises like pilates or yoga to ease into a new exercise routine. Then, you can gradually lengthen your workouts and incorporate weight training. It will assist in reducing thyroid condition symptoms without exerting you too much.
An underactive thyroid gets typically managed with hormone replacement therapy pills. The thyroxine hormone, which your thyroid gland cannot produce enough, is substituted with these medications.
While some people feel better immediately after starting their drugs, others might not experience an improvement in their symptoms for several months. Take these medications, however, only as directed by your doctor.
The HealthifyMe Note
It is essential for our health that our endocrine system is working correctly. As for the thyroid, just enough T3 and T4 should be produced and secreted. Excessive and lesser production may cause health disorders. Therefore, if you experience hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, it’s critical to seek treatment immediately. Additionally, if you have other medical risk factors or are planning pregnancy, it’s crucial to manage your thyroid.
Research shows that the best approach to managing thyroid problems is to reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, and hormone management. To do this, one must consume anti-inflammatory foods and avoid those that cause inflammation. Additionally, one must include foods that contain nutrients known to regulate the thyroid hormone in one’s diet.
Read more: Home Remedies For Thyroid Problem: A DIY Guide
How Long Does it Take to Cure the Thyroid?
It usually takes three to four weeks for levels to recover to normal after the start of medical therapy. One way to treat this lifestyle disorder is to surgically remove the thyroid gland partially so that it produces fewer hormones.
However, if your thyroid has been removed or is somehow compromised you will always need to take thyroid hormone replacement therapy. Most of the time, hypothyroidism symptoms worsen two weeks after starting thyroid replacement therapy. People with more severe symptoms, particularly muscle discomfort and weakness, may require treatment for several months before full recovery.
What Happens if the Thyroid is Left Untreated?
Your thyroid can swell to the point where you have a bulge in your neck when it overworks itself to generate enough hormones. It is known as a goitre.
2. Heart Problems
Even the mildest kinds of hypothyroidism can impact your heart’s health. Because it raises “bad” cholesterol levels, hypothyroidism increases your risk of heart disease.
Atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries, is a condition that can raise your risk of heart attacks and strokes if you have too much bad cholesterol.
Low thyroid hormone levels can interfere with ovulation and reduce women’s chances of getting pregnant. There is no assurance that the woman will be fertile even with appropriate treatment for hypothyroidism, such as thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
4. Birth Defects
Your child may be more likely to develop birth abnormalities if you are pregnant and have an untreated thyroid condition than children born to mothers in good health.
In addition, because thyroid hormones are essential for brain development, babies born to mothers with untreated thyroid diseases may experience grave problems with their physical and mental development.
5. Mental Health Issues
If left untreated, hypothyroidism can cause mental health issues, such as mild depression. If not addressed, the symptoms of hypothyroidism will only become more severe. Therefore, it may directly impact your mental health, and your depression may worsen. In addition, untreated hypothyroidism gets linked to a progressive decline in mental capacity.
1. Heart Problems
Some of the most severe heart-related side effects of hyperthyroidism include atrial fibrillation. Moreover, this heart rhythm abnormality raises the risk of stroke.
2. Brittle Bones
Untreated hyperthyroidism can lead to fragile, brittle bones. This condition is called osteoporosis. The amount of calcium and other minerals in bones affects their strength in part. An excess of thyroid hormone hampers calcium absorption into bones.
3. Vision Problems
Thyroid eye illness is a condition that some people with hyperthyroidism experience. It occurs more frequently in smokers. Bulging eyes, ocular strain or pain, swollen or retracted eyelids, reddish or inflamed eyes, light sensitivity, and double vision are all signs of thyroid eye disease. Furthermore, vision loss could result from untreated eye issues.
Managing Thyroid the HealthifyMe Way
A person with thyroid disorders should essentially know what to eat and what not to eat to manage their condition better. One can also connect with a professional for expert guidance.
You can start your fitness journey with HealthifyMe 2.0 by tracking your food through a full breakdown of everything you consume into proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fibre and other micro and macronutrients.
The dedicated coaches then provide you with real-time advice to tackle your condition better. They even provide a personalised diet plan and exercise regimen to help you get better holistically. It not only reverses or manages metabolic disorders, but such corrective dietary measures also help to lose weight more quickly and boost metabolism.
Furthermore, the metabolic panel coupled with HealthifyPRO examines more than 85 health markers, including a lipid profile, thyroid health, diabetic screen, and other detailed reports.
Your personal coach can offer specific guidance on any underlying medical conditions. Additionally, you can access some straightforward and healthy home recipes to keep your taste buds appeased too.
The thyroid gland is a vital organ that contributes to our daily metabolic functioning. The inability of this gland to produce the right amount of thyroid hormone can lead to medical complications.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition wherein the thyroid gland produces more than the necessary amount of thyroid hormone while hypothyroidism is the exact opposite when the thyroid gland is unable to produce the required amount of thyroid hormone. Both these conditions can have drastic side effects if left untreated.
Although thyroid issues are simple to identify and cure, it can be challenging to recognise that an unbalanced thyroid could cause your symptoms.
So let your doctor know if you frequently feel lethargic, miss your period, or gain or lose weight without warning. Follow the advice of your doctor about dietary and lifestyle changes and take your medicines regularly to manage your thyroid better.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How do thyroid problems start?
A. An autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most typical cause of hypothyroidism. Autoimmune illnesses develop when your immune system creates antibodies that target your tissues. Your thyroid gland is occasionally involved in this process. Unnecessary fatigue, weight loss, weight gain, increased or slowed heart rate, and sensitivity to heat are a few symptoms of thyroid disease.
Q. At what age do thyroid problems start?
A. Everyone, including infants, can develop hypothyroidism; however, it most frequently affects middle-aged and older people and begins with minimal indications and symptoms.
Q. What are the three symptoms of hypothyroidism?
A. The symptoms of thyroid illness are hardly noticeable. But it’s possible to have fatigue, weight gain or loss depending on the type of disorder, and constipation.
Q. Is a thyroid problem serious?
A. A thyroid problem is frequently a chronic medical ailment that requires ongoing management. Your medical professional will keep track of your treatments and make changes as needed over time. Nevertheless, you can typically lead a normal life irrespective of your condition. However, obesity, joint discomfort, fertility issues, and heart disease are a few health issues that untreated hypothyroidism can over time lead to.
Q. What food should be avoided in the thyroid?
A. Soybeans and soy products rich in phytoestrogens should be avoided by people suffering from thyroid as phytoestrogen may inhibit the thyroid hormone-producing enzyme. Moreover, calcium and iron supplements, as certain vegetables, may be detrimental to the thyroid.
Q. What happens when a woman has thyroid problems?
A. Puberty may occur abnormally early or late due to thyroid conditions. Additionally, exceedingly light or heavy periods or no periods might result from unusually high or low thyroid hormone levels. Furthermore, untreated thyroid can cause fertility problems and birth defects.
Q. What organs are affected by hypothyroidism?
A. Thyroid hormones impact almost every organ in your body and regulate several vital processes. For instance, they affect your respiration, heart rate, weight, digestion, and mood. Moreover, many of your body’s functions slow down if you don’t have enough thyroid hormones.
Q. How does the thyroid affect a woman?
A. Your energy level and mood may be noticeably affected by thyroid conditions. Women with hypothyroidism frequently experience fatigue, sluggishness, and mild depression. In addition, anxiety, trouble sleeping, restlessness, and irritability can occur due to hyperthyroidism. Menstruation may also occur abnormally early or late due to thyroid conditions.
Q. What are early warning signs of thyroid problems?
A. Symptoms including fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold, dry skin, constipation, weight gain, puffy face, etc., are a few early warning signs of the thyroid.
Q. Which fruit is best for the thyroid?
A. Apples, pears, plums, and citrus fruits are rich in pectins, which aid in the body’s detoxification of mercury, one of the most vital metals linked to thyroid issues. In addition, antioxidant-rich foods like blueberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, and others can boost general health and aid the thyroid gland.
- Thyroid disorders in India: An epidemiological perspective: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/51687778_Thyroid_disorders_in_India_An_epidemiological_perspective
- The effect of vitamin A supplementation on thyroid function in premenopausal women: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23378454/
- Thyroid Hormones, Oxidative Stress, and Inflammation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4802023/
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