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Hypothyroidism means your body’s energy generator, the thyroid, is working less efficiently. As a result, you feel low, depressed, lethargic, and sometimes flu-like illness. The condition chooses women more than men, causing the ladies to suffer from irregular menstrual cycles. Weight gain is a common finding in both the sexes, which lowers a person’s confidence, making them more depressed.
The treatment for this disorder is fuelling your generator with artificial thyroid hormones. In a simple sense, taking levothyroxine pills (dose depends on the severity of the condition) regularly.
Taking the thyroxine pills improves your health report card; your T4, T3, and TSH level improve, but your quality of life is still not up to the mark. It makes you think about whether I should continue the pills or look for other alternatives.
Your friend or relative gives you a lot of free suggestions: do this, do that, eat this, don’t eat that. You try everything; stop taking your pills. As a result, your symptoms come back, and your condition deteriorates; the test reports back to the previous state, sometimes worse.
Lifestyle changes can improve your hypothyroidism, but they cannot reverse it.
Continue to take your pills and follow ‘THYROID’ to cope with hypothyroidism.
Read one more time
T H Y R O I D.
What’s in it?
T- Take small breaks.
Stress aggravates the symptoms of hypothyroidism by interfering with the conversion of T4 to T3, hampering the normal thyroid function.
Exercise daily, but don’t overdo it.
Enjoy your weekend. Take leave once in a while. Spend some time with your family and friends. It is the best stress buster.
Try to maintain your physical and mental stress to a lower level.
H- Healthy weight
Overweight is one of the most promising symptoms of hypothyroidism. But doing nothing to reduce it will do more harm. Obesity further gives rise to diabetes and other disorders.
A combination of walking, running, and light exercise keeps the weight in check.
Decrease your sugar intake to maintain insulin balance in the body. Avoid eating chocolates, sugar syrups, cold drinks, and pastries.
I know its a bad news for those with a sweet tooth, but I am sure you can do it.
Yoga and meditation can calm your body. Reduces the level of stress, increases immunity, and maintains well-being.
Mood fluctuation is a common finding in hypothyroidism, and yoga can help you cope with it. It’s a proven fact. If you don’t believe it, give it a try.
R- Reschedule your coffee.
If you are a coffee lover and can’t wake up without a cup of coffee, then it is bad news for you. You need to reschedule your coffee hours.
Caffeine blocks the absorption of the thyroid hormone pills that you are taking daily. So it is advisable to keep a gap of half an hour between your tablets and coffee. Take your medicines with plain water.
Also, avoid afternoon and especially late-night coffee because it can interfere with your sleep cycle.
O- Over-the-counter supplements
Don’t fall into the trap of those supplements that claim to boost thyroid function. Always ask your physician before consuming any type of medicine or supplements.
Some supplements boast of having a high content of minerals like iodine for improving hypothyroid condition. If you are running low on thyroid hormones, it doesn’t always mean you are low in iodine. Excess iodine can even worsen the hypothyroid state. So try not to consume them without a prescription.
I- Improve sleep cycle
Sleeping is like charging the body. You don’t require an expert opinion to know the benefits of sleep.
Especially people with hypothyroidism should take 6-8 hours of sound sleep. It reduces the stress level, which in turn maintains the thyroid hormone levels in the body.
Avoid late-day tea and coffee, and stop using a laptop, mobile phone, or watching television 1-2 hours before sleeping.
Maintain the routine, and try to hit the bed daily at the same time.
D- Dietary habits
Clean and balanced diet is the need for every healthy body.
But people with a thyroid condition should be more cautious because some foods can worsen, and some can improve your situation.
Vegetables like cabbage, turnips, and cauliflower though fibrous but interferes with thyroid production and processing in the body. So it is better to restrict them if they are not avoidable completely.
The finger-licking fried foods, those tempting chocolates, pastries, cakes, burgers, and pizzas are all a big no-no as they interfere with thyroid hormone absorption.
Daily meals and snacks should include dairy products, fresh eggs, fish, seaweed, and salted nuts. It will improve your thyroid function.
Every individual body is different. The same set of rules and restrictions does not apply to everyone. Some may feel better with certain lifestyle changes, and some may not. Always try to listen to the small signals your body tries to give you and follow accordingly.
If your body doesn’t respond to any treatment methods, talk to your physician without delay.
Dr. Mayuri Ganguly
Assistant Editor, Genomeden
BDS, MSc Forensic Odontology