Hypothyroidism

Under-functioning of the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone is not adequately produced resulting in various symptoms consistent with an underactive thyroid. Thyroid hormone is important for most metabolic activities.

Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, depression, mild weight gain, cold intolerance, sleepiness, and constipation. Other symptoms can include dry and coarse hair, dry skin, and muscle cramps. Blood cholesterol levels may be elevated. Patients with hypothyroidism may also report aches and pains, swelling in the legs, and difficulty concentrating. Menstrual dysfunction, hair loss, decreased sweating, decreased appetite, mood changes.

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Causes

It is typically caused by an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. There are other less common causes as well including radiation therapy to the area, pituitary abnormalities etc.

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Prevention

There are no specific preventive measures. If there is family history of autoimmune disease, a lifestyle that supports your immune system, and a detox focused diet to minimize endocrine disruptors are all helpful. It is also important to make sure that adequate micronutrients for the formation and function of thyroid hormone are available such as B vitamins, Iodine and selenium.

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Management

Replacement therapy : If there is reduced production of the thyroid hormone then replacement therapy is the right approach. This can be done by your doctor. Commonly Synthroid (brand) or levothyroxine has been used. There are alternatives like Armour thyroid and Nature-throid.

Nutrition : Always important to eat a well-balanced plant focused diet with antioxidants and proteins, complex carbohydrates and good fats. In addition, important to eat variety of foods rich in b-complex vitamins and minerals like iodine and selenium which play an important role in the production and function of the thyroid hormone. There is some association with gluten intolerance and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis so this may be considered as well. There are endocrine disruptors that we are exposed to in our environment. The variety of foods will help support our liver in its detoxification function.

Exercise : Regular exercise is important for overall health. A combination of aerobic, strength and flexibility are helpful for management of your good health.

Stress : Very important to manage your stress. The persistent elevated cortisol due to constant stress leads to thyroid dysfunction even though the numbers may be “normal”.

Sleep : Appropriate sleep support and hygiene is also very important in all areas of health.

Supplements : There are supplements that are supportive to the thyroid and this can be discussed with your doctor.

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