Thyroid Health 101: What You Need to Know

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a medical condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located in the neck that plays a crucial role in regulating the body’s metabolism, which is the process by which the body converts food into energy.

Thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), regulate the body’s metabolic rate and control how quickly the body uses energy. They also play a role in maintaining proper body temperature, heart rate, and brain function. When the body does not produce enough thyroid hormones, it can lead to various symptoms and complications. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, constipation, cold intolerance, muscle weakness, and depression. In more severe cases, hypothyroidism can lead to slowed mental function and an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)

Hypothyroidism vs Hyperthyroidism:

Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are two conditions that affect the thyroid gland.

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This can lead to a number of symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, cold intolerance, constipation, and depression. Hypothyroidism is usually treated with thyroid hormone replacement therapy.

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. This can cause a number of symptoms, including weight loss, rapid heartbeat, tremors, anxiety, and irritability. Hyperthyroidism can be treated with medications, radioactive iodine therapy, or surgery.

There are several causes of hypothyroidism, including autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, radiation treatment, surgery to remove the thyroid gland, and certain medications. Hypothyroidism can also be congenital, meaning it is present at birth.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

  • Fatigue: One of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism is fatigue. This can be due to the body’s inability to convert food into energy properly.
  • Weight gain: Weight gain is another common symptom of hypothyroidism. This can occur because the body’s metabolism slows down, leading to the accumulation of excess fat.
  • Dry skin: Dry skin is a common symptom of hypothyroidism because thyroid hormones play a role in maintaining healthy skin.
  • Constipation: Constipation is a common symptom of hypothyroidism because the slowed metabolism can lead to sluggish digestion.
  • Cold intolerance: Individuals with hypothyroidism may feel cold more easily than others because thyroid hormones help to regulate body temperature.
  • Muscle weakness: Muscle weakness can be a symptom of hypothyroidism due to the body’s decreased ability to convert food into energy.
  • Depression: Hypothyroidism has been linked to depression, possibly due to the effect of low thyroid hormone levels on brain function.

What causes hypothyroidism?

  • Congenital hypothyroidism: In some cases, a person may be born with a deficiency in thyroid hormones, a condition known as congenital hypothyroidism. This can be due to a variety of factors, including an underdeveloped thyroid gland or a deficiency of the enzymes needed to produce thyroid hormones.
  • Chronic stress: Chronic stress can affect the way the body functions, including the functioning of the thyroid gland. Research has shown that chronic stress can contribute to the development of both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Chronic stress can affect the way the body functions, including the functioning of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is responsible for producing hormones that regulate metabolism, and it is sensitive to changes in the body’s stress levels. When the body is under chronic stress, it produces stress hormones, such as cortisol, which can interfere with the production of thyroid hormones. Research has shown that chronic stress can contribute to developing both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. In people with hypothyroidism, stress can cause the thyroid gland to become underactive, decreasing thyroid hormone production. In people with hyperthyroidism, stress can cause the thyroid gland to become overactive, increasing thyroid hormone production.
  • Autoimmune diseases: One of the most common causes of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In this condition, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, leading to inflammation and, eventually destruction of the gland. This can result in a deficiency of thyroid hormones.
  • Lack of iodine: Iodine is an essential nutrient that is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones. A diet that is low in iodine can increase the risk of developing a thyroid disorder.
  • Smoking: Smoking can increase the risk of developing thyroid cancer.
  • Poor sleep: Too little or too much sleep can affect thyroid function.
  • Radiation treatment: Radiation treatment for cancer, such as radiation to the neck or chest, can damage the thyroid gland and lead to hypothyroidism.
  • Surgery to remove the thyroid gland: Removing the thyroid gland, either partially or completely, can cause hypothyroidism. This may be necessary in cases where the gland is cancerous or enlarged.
  • Certain medications: Some medications, such as lithium and interferon, can interfere with the production of thyroid hormones and lead to hypothyroidism.

Effects of Hyperthyroidism:

  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • Heat intolerance
  • Sweating
  • Weight loss, even with increased appetite
  • Nervousness, anxiety, or irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Tremors or trembling in the hands or fingers
  • Changes in menstrual patterns, such as lighter periods or missed periods
  • Hair loss
  • Change in bowel movements, such as diarrhea
  • Skin changes, such as thinning or fine wrinkling
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Eye problems, such as bulging eyes (exophthalmos) or double vision (diplopia)

Effects of Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)

  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Cold intolerance, feeling cold when others are comfortable
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain, despite decreased appetite
  • Muscle weakness
  • Depression or feeling down
  • Memory problems or difficulty concentrating
  • Menstrual changes, such as heavier or irregular periods
  • Elevated cholesterol levels
  • Hoarseness or a deepening of the voice
  • Slowed heart rate (bradycardia)
  • Puffy face or hands
  • Thinning hair or hair loss
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands

How is hypothyroidism diagnosed?

Hypothyroidism is typically diagnosed through a blood test to measure thyroid hormone levels and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. TSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones.

The blood test for hypothyroidism is usually done in the morning, as this is when TSH levels are at their highest. The healthcare provider will draw a blood sample from a vein in the arm and send it to a laboratory for analysis.

Several different thyroid hormone tests can be done to diagnose hypothyroidism. These include:

Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test: This test measures the amount of TSH in the blood. In individuals with hypothyroidism, TSH levels are often elevated because the body is trying to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more hormones.

Free thyroxine (FT4) test: This test measures the amount of free thyroxine (FT4) in the blood. FT4 is the active form of thyroid hormone.

Total thyroxine (T4) test: This test measures the total amount of thyroxine (T4) in the blood, free and bound to proteins.

Thyroid antibody tests: In cases of autoimmune-related hypothyroidism, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the body may produce antibodies that attack the thyroid gland. These antibodies can be measured with a blood test.

In addition to blood tests, the healthcare provider may perform a physical examination and ask about the individual’s symptoms and medical history.

How is hypothyroidism treated?

  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help individuals with hypothyroidism manage their condition and reduce the risk of complications. Here are a few ways in which a healthy lifestyle can help:
  • Eating a balanced diet: A balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help support overall health and manage the symptoms of hypothyroidism
  • Adequate intake of iodine: The body needs iodine to produce thyroid hormones. Good sources of iodine include iodized salt, seafood, and dairy products.
  • Limiting goitrogens: Goitrogens are substances that can interfere with thyroid function and potentially lead to the development of a goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland). Some goitrogens are found in certain foods, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and soy. It is generally recommended to consume these foods in moderation, rather than avoiding them completely and it is important to note that cooking these vegetables can reduce their goitrogen content.
  • Monitoring intake of certain substances: Some substances, such as caffeine and alcohol, can interfere with thyroid function and should be consumed in moderation.
  • Certain foods can interfere with thyroid hormone production or absorption and may not be suitable for people with hypothyroidism. Some other examples of these foods include: Soy products, which can interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormone. Raw, cruciferous vegetables, which can inhibit the conversion of thyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3), the active form of thyroid hormone. Large amounts of fiber, which can reduce the absorption of thyroid hormone. High levels of calcium, which can interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormone.
  • Exercising regularly: 
  1. Regular physical activity can help boost energy levels, improve mood, and manage weight in individuals with hypothyroidism.
  2. Resistance training can be beneficial for individuals with hypothyroidism by helping to improve muscle strength and function, maintain a healthy weight, improve bone health, and improve mental health. Here is a more detailed explanation of how resistance training can help:
  3. Improved muscle strength and function: Resistance training involves using weights or other forms of resistance to strengthen and build muscle. This can help improve muscle strength and function in individuals with hypothyroidism, who may have impaired muscle strength due to the slowed metabolism associated with the condition. Stronger muscles can improve physical functioning and reduce the risk of falls and injuries.
  4. Improved bone health: Resistance training has been shown to increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. This can be especially important for individuals with hypothyroidism, as the condition has been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis.
  5. Weight management: Resistance training can help individuals with hypothyroidism maintain a healthy weight by increasing muscle mass and metabolism.
  6. Improved mental health: Resistance training has been shown to improve mood and reduce the risk of depression. This can be especially beneficial for individuals with hypothyroidism, as the condition has been linked to an increased risk of depression.
  7. Improved energy levels: Physical activity can help boost energy levels and improve overall physical functioning in individuals with hypothyroidism.
  8. Improved mood: Exercise has been shown to improve mood and reduce the risk of depression. This can be especially beneficial for individuals with hypothyroidism, as the condition has been linked to an increased risk of depression.
  9. Improved cardiovascular health: Regular physical activity can help lower the risk of heart disease, which is a potential complication of hypothyroidism.
  • Managing stress: Chronic stress can interfere with thyroid function and exacerbate the symptoms of hypothyroidism. It is important to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as through relaxation techniques, exercise, or talking to a therapist
  • Getting enough sleep: Adequate sleep is important for overall health and can help manage the symptoms of hypothyroidism. It is recommended to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
  • Avoiding triggers: Some individuals with hypothyroidism may be sensitive to certain substances or factors that can interfere with thyroid function. It may be helpful to identify and avoid these triggers, such as certain foods or medications.

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Bonatra combines the power of technology with medical & data science. Bonatra uses IoMT devices, including CGM, to analyze and understand one’s body and then prescribes the right treatment plan, including supplementation, diet, fitness, and stress relief plans. The AI-based app generates actionable insights which can be used to course correct the journey and achieve the reversal goal faster. 

Bonatra’s programs are led by a doctor, implemented with the app’s help, and supported by a health coach. As a result, Bonatra’s patrons enjoy the company of a supportive community. 

Where can I find more information?

Talk to Bonatra’s medical doctors, dietitians, and nutritionist, who understands your health issues. Bonatra can also tell you about any specialist services that can help with specific problems, such as diabetes, fatty liver, thyroid, PCOD, Hypertension, weight management or improving fitness.

Visit Bonatra or call on +91 8095023777

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