When the thyroid gland is not healthy, it can lead to various complications such as weight gain, depression, and even miscarriage in pregnant women. Thyroid symptoms are usually mild and might go unnoticed, but a simple blood test can help to determine the general condition of the thyroid.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland found in your neck. It is responsible for producing hormones needed for various brain activities and the body’s metabolism. The thyroid also regulates heart rate and body temperature. When the thyroid is not healthy, it can affect other body functions especially if it is not treated.
It is a general term for a medical condition that keeps your thyroid from making the right amount of hormones.
Thyroid disease can affect anyone. The following factors may predispose an individual into developing the disease:
• Age above 60 years
• Female gender
• Family history of thyroid disease
• Family history of autoimmune disease
• High intake of Iodine through food or medication
• Past treatment for thyroid condition or cancer
Thyroid disease can be divided into two groups: Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism happens when the thyroid gland makes too many thyroid hormones. While Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid can make insufficient amount of thyroid hormones.
It can be diagnosed through blood tests (ex: TSH, FT3, FT4), imaging test (Thyroid ultrasound) and physical examination.
Listed below are the signs and symptoms observed in Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism:
|Enlargement of the thyroid glands
|Excessive sweating or sensitivity to high temperatures
|Dry skin and hair
|Frequent, heavy menstrual period
|Missed or light menstruation periods
|Moodiness or irritability
|Often feels tired and fatigued
|Sensitivity to cold temperature
|Sudden weight loss
|Slow heart rate
|Tachycardia (fast heart rate)
|Tremors of the hand
Health tips for better Thyroid health
Our diet has a profound impact on the thyroid gland. Here are some food and nutrients that one can incorporate in the diet to help maintain good thyroid health:
• Iodine-rich foods – lack of this may cause Hypothyroidism. The recommendation is 150 micrograms of iodine daily for anyone above 14 years old. Iodine is naturally found in seaweed, salt-water fish and seafoods. Dairy products also contain some iodine.
• Vitamin D – low levels of the vitamin have been linked to Hashimoto’s disease, an auto-immune disorder, that leads to Hypothyroidism. It is found in fatty fish, milk, dairy products, eggs, and mushrooms. Sunlight exposure also contributes to the production of Vitamin D.
• Selenium – a mineral that boosts the immune system, cognitive function, and fertility. It can be found in sunflower seeds, tuna, crab and lobster.• Vitamin B12 – this is found in sardines, salmon, organ meats like liver, muscle meat, dairy products, and fortified cereals. The vitamin protects the thyroid gland from oxidative stress.
• Antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables like bell peppers and tomatoes. These helps protect the thyroid from oxidative stress.• Moderate amount of high-fiber foods
• Omega-3 rich foods – it helps to decrease inflammation. It can be found in baked salmon, sea bass, and cod.
When it comes to your diet, it’s usually a good idea to keep things in moderation. While there are some foods, drinks, and supplements that should be avoided when taking thyroid medication, there is usually no need to fully exclude any food. Here are some food, habit and drinks to limit or avoid:
• Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, and cauliflower. Unless they are cooked, they have a negative effect on the thyroid gland. They are known to be “Goitrogens” which means they can suppress the function of the thyroid gland by blocking the uptake of Iodine.
• Gluten – evidence shows that autoimmune thyroid disorders are linked with gluten intolerance.
• High-fiber foods – too much fiber can interfere with the absorption of thyroid medicines
• Iodine – eating too much can suppress the thyroid gland activity
• Soy – it acts as a “goitrogen” also that blocks the absorption of iodine.
Doctors may prescribe anti-thyroid medicine for patients with an overactive thyroid to reduce hormone production. The most common remedy in those with hyperthyroidism is radioactive iodine ablation. Meanwhile, there are thyroid hormone pills for patients with underactive thyroid to reach normal hormone levels.
Do not second guess and rely on what you search on the internet. Consult our specialist doctors to give you peace of mind and provide you with the care you deserve. Medgate is open 24/7, even on holidays.