Hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid gland produce lower than normal level of thyroid hormone.
Thyroid hormone is required by the body for regulating the body’s metabolism. When the thyroid hormone is low, metabolic rate slows down. You will feel fatigue, sluggish and unexplained gain weight.
What cause hypothyroidism?
The main causes of hypothyroidism are :
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis – an autoimmune disease whereby the body own immune cells classify the thyroid cells as invaders and attack them.
- Over treatment of hypothyroidism – over prescription of iodine.
In our modern-day lifestyle, it is common that stress of coping with hectic work schedule and family requirements can lead to hypothyroidism.
Here is how stress can cause havoc to the thyroid gland and affect the level of thyroid hormone produced:
1) Disruption of Hypothalamus, Pituitary and Adrenal gland functions
Chronic stress depresses the function of hypothalamus, pituitary gland functions, which affect the ability to produce thyroid hormone.
2) Disrupt the conversion of T4 into T3
93% of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland is T4, but it is inactive. T4 has to be converted to T3, the active hormone that is useful to the body functions.
3) Promotes autoimmune system
The digestive system, lungs and blood brain barriers control the influx of toxins to the body. Stress weakens these barriers and allow large proteins to pass through. This triggers autoimmune response and attack the thyroid gland.
4) Thyroid hormone resistance
Stress produces stress hormone, which in turn triggers the production of inflammatory molecule called cytokine. Cytokine suppresses the cell’s ability to receive thyroid hormones, thereby, causing insensitivity.
5) Hormonal imbalance
Chronic stress cause a prolong increase level of stress hormone, cortisol, in the body. This affects the liver’s ability to clear estrogen hormone and that can inactivate the thyroid gland.
How can you manage hypothyroidism?
Proper testing to diagnosis the actual conditions need to happen first before medical practitioners can prescribe relevant treatment.
Management of stress is also needed to reduce the trigger points on the thyroid gland.
1) Stress management
There are many aspect of stress management. Firstly, you need to keep a positive attitude and learn that accept things that you cannot control. Learn to apply relaxation techniques throughout the day.
Exercise regularly and have proper nutrition help you to cope with stress. Proper time management and engaging in hobbies and social activities are necessary part of stress management.
2) Stabilize blood sugar
Prevent blood sugar surge and insulin level by reducing intake of refined carbohydrates ( white rice, pasta, potato, cakes, biscuits ) and increase the intake of complex carbohydrates ( whole grains, fruits and vegetables ).
High blood sugar increases stress and triggers an autoimmune response. So, minimize intake of sugary drinks, which are normally sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup or all variants of sugar.
3) Avoid dietary inflammation
People who are sensitive to certain digestive conditions such as lactose and gluten intolerance, should take care to avoid certain foods that trigger these condition.
Avoid trans fat, processed food, alcohol, dairy products and meat protein as much as possible as they trigger inflammation in the body.
Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) are anti-inflammatory agents and also helps to strengthen the blood-brain barrier.
As you can see that all these are part of a healthy lifestyle. If you take on these actions, you can minimize the risk of hypothyroidism.
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