Hypothyroidism: All You Need To Know
Published on: 04-Aug-2022
10 min read
Hypothyroidism: All You Need To Know
What is the most common metabolic disorder these days? Yes, you thought right! It is hypothyroidism - a metabolic disorder where your body does not produce enough thyroid hormones. But what exactly is hypothyroidism? What are the causes? What are the symptoms? In this blog, we will understand every aspect of a medical condition, hypothyroidism.
Table of Contents
1. What Is Hypothyroidism?
2. What Are The Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism?
3. What Are The Causes Of Hypothyroidism?
4. Who Is At Risk?
5. What Are The Complications?
6. Can Diet Treat Hypothyroidism?
7. Foods To Avoid In Hypothyroidism
8. The Final Say
What Is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a metabolic disorder. It involves the underproduction of thyroid hormones that plays an essential role in metabolism. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, which causes an imbalance in the body’s functioning.
The thyroid gland is butterfly-shaped in the front of your neck. It produces the thyroid hormone T4 and T3 to balance your metabolism. These hormones tell the body cells how much energy to use and control your body temperature and heart rate.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism?
Also known as “interactive thyroid,” hypothyroidism shows signs and symptoms that vary from person to person. They are sometimes challenging to identify. However, the common symptoms among them are the following-
- Weight gain
- High cholesterol levels
- Poor mental health
- Unable to tolerate the cold temperature
- Dry skin and hair fall
- Decreased sexual interest
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Brain fog
- Thinning hair
What Are The Causes Of Hypothyroidism?
Here is a list of the few common causes of hypothyroidism.
1. An Autoimmune Disease
If the autoimmune reaction is not controlled or managed, your immune system may start targeting healthy tissues, leading to severe medical conditions like hypothyroidism.
2. Heavy medications
Heavy medications may lead to hypothyroidism. Also, several medicines reduce the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones. These include those used to treat cancer, heart disease, and psychological disorders.
3. Iodine deficiency
The development of thyroid hormones depends on the trace mineral iodine. It is predominantly in seafood, seaweed, plants growing in iodine-rich soil, and iodised salt. Its deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism, and its overdose worsens pre-existing hypothyroidism.
Women can develop hypothyroidism after or during pregnancy. Untreated hypothyroidism tends to increase the risk of miscarriage, premature delivery and preeclampsia.
5. Pituitary Disorder
The inefficiency of the pituitary gland is the cause of hypothyroidism. The gland fails to produce enough thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
6. Congenital Disease
Some babies are born with a defective thyroid gland or no thyroid gland. In some cases, the gland does not develop normally for unknown reasons, but some children have an inherited form of the disorder.
7. Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy used to treat head and neck cancers can affect your thyroid gland and leads to hypothyroidism.
Who Is At Risk?
Anyone can develop hypothyroidism. However, the following factors increase the risk of falling victim to it-
- Women are more likely to develop hypothyroidism after menopause.
- People older than sixty.
- Radiation therapy to treat cancers of the head and neck can affect your thyroid gland and leads to hypothyroidism.
- Have a family history of hypothyroidism.
- Treated with radioactive iodine.
- Pregnant women or those who have delivered a baby within the past six months.
What Are The Complications?
Untreated or undiagnosed hypothyroidism can lead to several health problems, including:
- Mental health issues
- Congenital disabilities
- Peripheral neuropathy
Can Diet Treat Hypothyroidism?
There is no particular diet to reduce hypothyroidism. However, consuming the proper diet will improve the functioning of the thyroid gland and fight the underlying causes of thyroid disorders. The following nutrients found in many foods help produce enough thyroid hormones.
The thyroid gland needs iodine to work properly. It helps your thyroid gland develop the necessary hormones for growth and development. You can get iodine from seafood, fish and dairy products.
Selenium supports thyroid hormone and metabolism. It is essential for healthy thyroid functioning. Seafood, eggs, garlic, seeds, and broccoli are a few rich sources of selenium.
B complex vitamins are essential for thyroid functions and hormonal balance. However, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 are highly effective in hypothyroidism disorder.
Vitamin D deficiency is linked with hypothyroidism. It can lead to thin and brittle bones. Some major sources of vitamin D are egg yolks, certain mushrooms, and fatty fish. However, many vitamin D fortified foods are available in the market, such as milk, yoghurt, orange juice and many more.
Foods To Avoid In Hypothyroidism
A hypothyroidism diet is similar to other diets. You are allowed to eat various foods but in the proper proportions. Some foods may interfere with thyroid function and exacerbate symptoms. Here are a few foods to avoid hypothyroidism.
Soy can interfere with your thyroid functioning. It is found in tofu, soy milk, soybeans and vegan cheese meat products. However, you do not have to avoid soy altogether. But understand if you eat or drink too much soy, the medicine might not be adequately absorbed.
Some cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and brussels sprout contain natural chemicals called goitrogens. These can interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis. If you have hypothyroidism, limiting the consumption of cruciferous vegetables is wise.
How Can Hypothyroidism Be Treated?
Hypothyroidism can be managed by medication, a good diet and regular exercise. However, you will have to continuously take medications to normalise the number of hormones for the rest of your life. Although, the number of medical drugs can change over time. The level of hypothyroidism also needs to be monitored throughout your life.
Moreover, diet and physical activity are two essential parts of hypothyroidism treatment. It helps to maintain your metabolism and basal metabolic rate (BMR) of your body which helps to control your body weight and relieve hypothyroidism symptoms.
The Final Say
Hypothyroidism can be managed with the help of medications and a proper diet. The only problem is the lack of awareness among the people. Many people are unaware of the signs, symptoms and risks of hypothyroidism. Therefore, if you experience any hypothyroidism symptoms, consult your doctor immediately.
1. Is hypothyroidism curable?
Hypothyroidism can be easily managed with the help of medicines, diet and exercise.
2. Why are soy and cruciferous vegetables advised to avoid hypothyroidism?
Soy and cruciferous vegetables contain compounds that interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid people having hypothyroidism.
3. What are the foods to be taken for hypothyroidism?
Leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and zinc-rich legumes like peas, lentils, chickpeas, and beans are good for managing hypothyroidism. These foods contain amino acids like tyrosine, B-complex vitamins, minerals like selenium, and antioxidants — all of which support thyroid health.
4. What are the causes of hypothyroidism?
Common causes of hypothyroidism are autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, removal of the thyroid, and radiation treatment.
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