Thyroid disorders are conditions that affect the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck. The thyroid has important roles to regulate numerous metabolic processes throughout the body. Different types of thyroid disorders affect either its structure or function.
The thyroid gland is located below the Adam’s apple wrapped around the trachea (windpipe). A thin area of tissue in the gland’s middle, known as the isthmus, joins the two thyroid lobes on each side. The thyroid uses iodine to produce vital hormones. Thyroxine, also known as T4, is the primary hormone produced by the gland. After delivery via the bloodstream to the body’s tissues, a small portion of the T4 released from the gland is converted to triiodothyronine (T3), which is the most active hormone.
The function of the thyroid gland is regulated by a feedback mechanism involving the brain. When thyroid hormone levels are low, the hypothalamus in the brain produces a hormone known as thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) that causes the pituitary gland (located at the base of the brain) to release thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH stimulates the thyroid gland to release more T4.
Since the thyroid gland is controlled by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, disorders of these tissues can also affect thyroid function and cause thyroid problems.
Silent Signs Of A Thyroid Problem
Symptoms of a thyroid problem are often vague, but if you notice any of the following signs persisting, or have more than one, endocrinologists recommend seeing a doctor to request a simple blood test to gauge your hormone levels.
If you’ve always been a good sleeper but suddenly can’t snooze through the night, it could signal a thyroid problem. An overactive thyroid pumps out certain hormones (triiodothyronine, known as T3, and thyroxine, known as T4) in excess, which can overstimulate the central nervous system and lead to insomnia,On the flip side, if you still feel still tired after a full night’s sleep, or the need to sleep more than usual, you might have an underactive thyroid, in which your body doesn’t produce enough hormones.
Thinning hair, particularly on your eyebrows, is a common sign of thyroid disease. An underactive or overactive thyroid throws off your hair growth cycle, most of your hair grows while a small portion rests. When thyroid hormones are imbalanced, too much hair rests at one time, which means hair looks thinner, notes .
#.Clothes that fit tighter than usual
If your jeans feel snug but you swear you haven’t changed your eating or exercise habits, an underactive thyroid might be to blame. “Lack of hormones decreases metabolism and calorie burning, so you may see gradual but unexplained weight gain.
When your thyroid isn’t working right, neither is your brain. With an underactive thyroid, some people report feeling a “brain fog,” Others report experiencing subtle memory loss (such as that “it’s on the tip of my tongue!” feeling), or overall mental fatigue. An overactive thyroid can make it difficult to concentrate.
#.Craving an afternoon nap every day
Daytime tiredness or the urge to nap can be signs of an underactive thyroid. “The body needs these thyroid hormones to produce energy.
If your periods become heavier, longer, or occur closer together, your thyroid might not be producing enough hormones. But if your periods get lighter or occur further apart, an overactive thyroid might be producing too many hormones.
#.Too much energy (like you’ve guzzled 5 cups of coffee)
An overload of thyroid hormones speeds up your body processes. “People say they feel like they’ve had too much caffeine or have heart palpitations even when they’re relaxed.
#.Feeling ravenous but not gaining weight
On the other hand, if you’re suddenly able to squeeze into smaller-size clothes that haven’t fit in years—without a major change to your diet or workout regimen—you may have an overactive thyroid, which causes an increase in metabolism. “People often report that their appetite is up and they’re eating a lot, but are losing weight instead of gaining.
#.Feeling Too Cold or Hot
Thyroid disorders can disrupt the ability to regulate body temperature. People with hypothyroidism may feel cold more often than usual. Hyperthyroidism tends to have the opposite effect, causing excessive sweating and an aversion to heat.
#.Infertility or miscarriage
Women who have difficulty conceiving with no family history of infertility—or who miscarry in the early stages of pregnancy—should get a thyroid screening, says Dr. Gupta. “Low hormone levels affect ovulation and predispose you to infertility or miscarriage,. “If you have thyroid disease, hormone supplementation can be very beneficial while trying to conceive and during pregnancy.”
#.Developmental delays in children
Thyroid problems often manifest even more silently in children,because kids won’t always be able to express their symptoms. “If you notice that they are growing significantly slower than their peers, complaining about muscles soreness, or if teachers say they’re jumpy and unfocused, that could be a sign that they have low hormone levels, which can affect their development.
#.Swelling in the Neck
A swelling or enlargement in the neck is a visible clue that something may be wrong with the thyroid. A goiter may occur with either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Sometimes swelling in the neck can result from thyroid cancer or nodules, lumps that grow inside the thyroid. It can also be due to a cause unrelated to the thyroid.
#.Changes in Energy or Mood
Thyroid disorders can have a noticeable impact on your energy level and mood. Hypothyroidism tends to make people feel tired, sluggish, and depressed. Hyperthyroidism can cause anxiety, problems sleeping, restlessness, and irritability.
If you think you have symptoms of a thyroid problem, ask your doctor if you should be tested. People with symptoms or risk factors may need tests more often. Hypothyroidism more frequently affects women over age 60. Hyperthyroidism is also more common in women. A family history raises your risk of either disorder.
Consult With Your Physician:
If you are suffering from thyroid disorder, it is extremely important to consult with your physician for his suggestions regarding your treatment. Thyroid patients generally have to work harder and pay greater attention to their food intake. The results are often not as quick as expected. So you need to be fully aware of how you are supposed to obtain positive results in losing weight.
Thyroid Diet – What to Eat and What to Avoid
There are several foods that thyroid patients should eat to improve the functioning of the gland. Simply put, you need to increase the consumption of.
#.Coconut and coconut butter, or more commonly known as coconut oil, has been used as a food and medicine since the dawn of history. Unlike saturated animal fats found in meats and dairy products, coconut butter is a raw saturated fat containing fatty acids which the body can metabolize efficiently and convert to energy quickly. Research also shows it helps to regulate thyroid function.
#.Kelp and Nori Seaweed are stellar, nutrient-dense sea vegetables recommended for thyroid. Kelp is also known as Laminaria and contains a natural substance that enhances flavor and tenderizes. Kelp works as a blood purifier, and promotes adrenal, pituitary and thyroid health. Its natural iodine may help normalize thyroid-related disorders, like overweight, and lymph system congestion.
#.Turkey is one of the leanest protein foods and is low in calories, making it an excellent healthy food choice. Turkey also contains selenium which has been shown to inhibit cancer development, improve the immune system, and aid in the metabolism of our thyroid hormone.
#.Salty Seafood such as halibut, herring, sardines, mackerel, haddock, anchovies, marine shellfish, finfish, shellfish etc. contain omega-3 and iodine and are recommended for a thyroid diet.
#.Nuts such as macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts, cashews are rich in monosaturated fats.
#.Zinc rich foods like poultry, red meat, pacific oysters, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds help with thyroid.
In addition to the above, use garlic, onions and olive oil to cook your food.
Foods to Avoid for Thyroid Patients
It is also important to reduce consumption of soy products like soy milk and tofu. And if you must have soy milk, make sure you do not consume it before or after 3 hours of taking your thyroid medicine.
Simple carbohydrates such as processed white sugar, cooked carrots, ripe bananas, dried fruits, honey, maple syrup, white bread, white rice, potatoes, white pasta, sweets etc. should be avoided.
Avoid caffeine in the form of coffee, tea, chocolate, soft drinks and caffeinated energy drinks.
With an already slower metabolism adding sugary foods will lead to greater weight gain.
Hypothyroidism can result in higher blood pressure, so the added salts from processed foods will only worsen this.
#.Too much fiber
Fiber is good to keep us regular, but not in the case of those with hypothyroidism.
Alcohol can disrupt the production of thyroid hormones and reduce the body’s ability to utilize these hormones.
Generally food items like broccoli and cabbage are recommended for healthy eating, but not if you have hypothyroidism. This type of food can interfere with the production of thyroid hormones.
Although commonly avoided by those with Celiac disease, gluten should also be avoided if you have hypothyroidism.
#.Too much fiber:
Fiber is good to keep us regular, but not in the case of those with hypothyroidism.