Thyroid Gland: 10 Things You Need To Know, Today
So many people still don’t know the importance of the little butterfly-shaped gland that sits right below the Adam’s apple, and regulates so many functions in the body!
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The thyroid gland, located at the front centre of your neck, can be called the thermostat of your body. It regulates everything – from your mood, your menstrual flow, and how easily you lose weight, your metabolism. This butterfly-shaped gland releases hormones which impact every biological function. The pituitary gland, located in the brain, sends out a signal to the thyroid gland to release thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). The thyroid secretes 3 important hormones – thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), and calcitonin. All 3 are extremely important for the proper functioning of our bodies. It has been found that women are more prone to thyroid problems than men.
Types of thyroid disorders:
1. Hypothyroidism –
This happens when the thyroid gland is underactive, and does not secrete enough hormones to enable your body to function properly. This results in low energy, and a low metabolic rate. Symptoms of this condition include dry skin and hair, weight gain, sensitivity to cold, and constipation.
2. Hyperthyroidism –
The thyroid gland is overactive in this condition, and is producing an excess of hormones. Your metabolism is running on overdrive. Symptoms of hyperthyroid are unexplained weight loss, difficulty sleeping, light menstruation, and bulging eyes.
10 things you should know about the thyroid gland:
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1. It's hereditary –
This illness is hereditary. So if your family has a history of thyroid problems, you should get screened for it too. Early detection can result in a more effective treatment of the condition.
2. Fertility –
If your hormone levels are off the charts, whether due to less or excess of hormones, your menstrual cycle will be out of sync. If you are trying to conceive but are unable to, get your thyroid checked.
3. Weight loss woes –
If you have tried every possible diet, but have still not managed to shed those extra kilos, you should get your thyroid levels tested. You could be suffering from hypothyroidism. Tuning up your thyroid will help increase your metabolic rate, and will result in subsequent weight loss.
4. Iodine deficiency –
Goitre is a common condition that occurs when the thyroid gland gets enlarged, due to a lack of enough iodine in your body. This is a relatively harmless condition, and can be rectified easily. Its symptoms include swelling or lumps on your throat. The thyroid gland is unable to produce enough hormones to meet the needs of the body. To make up for this shortage, the gland grows larger, hence the swelling. You can get your daily dose of iodine from what you eat. Typically, iodine can be found in salt, and fish such as salmon.
5. Goitrogenic food –
If you are suffering from hypothyroidism, you should eat a lesser amount of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and kale. These vegetables slow down the thyroid, and make it underactive. However, if you are suffering from hyperthyroidism, a goitrogen-rich diet may actually slow down your thyroid, and benefit you.
6. Coffee, and thyroid medication –
Avoid drinking coffee till an hour after you’ve taken your medication. Coffee could affect absorption, and reduce the effectiveness of your medication.
7. Proper nourishment –
Besides iodine, your body needs zinc and selenium to function properly. Ample selenium and zinc can be found in foods like beef, dark meat, chicken, cashews, Brazil nuts, and yoghurt.
8. Mini meals –
People who are trying to lose weight are usually advised to eat smaller meals throughout the course of the day. However, for thyroid patients, this should be avoided. Fewer meals, spaced out, have been found to be more effective, as this helps manage insulin and leptin levels. Also, if the body is not fed every 2-3 hours, the body will burn its fat reserves for energy. This will help with increasing your body’s metabolism, in case you suffer from hypothyroidism.
9. Drinking water –
One of the most important reasons to drink water is to maintain the body’s fluid balance. Drinking clean, filtered water is essential to your wellbeing. You should make sure your water is not contaminated with fluoride and bromide, as these 2 chemicals severely affect the thyroid gland by blocking iodine receptors in the body.
10. Avoid stress, and get enough rest –
Manage your stress levels, as your adrenal and thyroid glands work together to enable the body to function properly. Getting 8-10 hours of sleep also helps the body cope with the condition.
Your thyroid condition can be fixed! A proper diet, lifestyle changes, and medication can make your thyroid healthy again. Go to a doctor and get tested, so that you can get the help you need, to feel like yourself again.