Did you know that one in ten Americans have a thyroid condition? And of those with a thyroid condition, the vast majority have hypothyroidism. If you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from hypothyroidism, it’s important to be aware of the things that can aggravate your condition. Read on to know the five things that can make your hypothyroidism worse.
What is Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. There are a few key things to know about this condition. First, it’s important to understand what the thyroid is and what it does. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck. It produces hormones regulating many important bodily functions, including metabolism.
Hypothyroidism can develop at any age, but it’s most common in middle-aged and older women. It’s also more likely to occur in people with certain medical conditions, such as an autoimmune disease, diabetes, or a history of thyroid surgery.
There are a few different types of hypothyroidism, each with its cause. The most common type is called primary hypothyroidism. This occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone on its own.
On the other hand, secondary hypothyroidism happens when the pituitary gland (located at the base of your brain) doesn’t produce enough of a hormone that signals the thyroid to produce its hormone. Finally, central hypothyroidism is a combination of both primary and secondary hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
There are a few symptoms of hypothyroidism, and they can range from mild to severe. Here are some common symptoms of the condition:
This is one of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism. People with hypothyroidism often feel really exhausted, even if they’ve had a full night’s sleep.
Many people with hypothyroidism find that they start to gain weight, even if their diet and exercise habits haven’t changed.
This is another common symptom of hypothyroidism. When your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, it can slow down your digestive system, leading to constipation.
People with hypothyroidism often have dry, flaky skin.
This is another symptom that an underactive thyroid can cause. When your thyroid isn’t working properly, it can cause your hair to fall out.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor so they can test for hypothyroidism. If you have hypothyroidism, some treatments can help you feel better. So don’t wait to get help if you think you might have a problem!
How Hypothyroidism is Diagnosed
There are a few different ways that doctors can diagnose hypothyroidism. The most common way is to do a physical exam. Your doctor will look for signs of hypothyroidism, such as a goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland) or dry skin.
If your doctor suspects you have the condition, they may also order a TSH test. This test measures the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level in your blood. The pituitary gland produces TSH. It helps to control the thyroid gland. If the level of TSH is high, the thyroid gland is not working properly.
If you have any of the signs or symptoms of hypothyroidism, be sure to see your doctor so they can diagnose and treat the condition.
Things To Avoid If You Have Hypothyroidism
If you’re one of the millions of Americans suffering from hypothyroidism, there are some things you should avoid. Here are five things to steer clear of:
Refined sugars and processed carbs
One of the worst things you can eat if you have hypothyroidism is refined sugar and processed carbs. These foods can cause spikes in blood sugar, leading to increased insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, and when it’s out of balance, it can cause problems for people with hypothyroidism. Processed carbs can also interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormones, so it’s best to avoid them if you have this condition.
Moreover, refined sugars and processed carbs can also cause inflammation, exacerbating hypothyroidism symptoms. So, if you want to keep your thyroid healthy, it’s best to avoid these kinds of food. Instead, focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods rich in nutrients. These nutrient-rich foods will help keep your blood sugar levels stable and provide your body with the thyroid hormone replacement needed to function properly.
Soy is one of those “healthy” foods that actually isn’t all that great for you, especially if you have hypothyroidism. Soy contains compounds called goitrogens, which can interfere with the proper functioning of your thyroid gland. So if you’re looking to keep your thyroid healthy, it’s best to avoid soy.
Other foods that contain goitrogens include cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. So if you can’t live without your greens, just make sure to cook them thoroughly before eating to limit the goitrogen content.
Alcohol and hypothyroidism don’t mix. Alcohol can interfere with thyroid hormone production, which can worsen hypothyroidism. It can also increase the risk of developing other autoimmune diseases.
Moreover, drinking alcohol can cause or worsen many symptoms of hypothyroidism, including fatigue, weight gain, depression, and brain fog. So if you’re struggling with hypothyroidism, it’s best to avoid alcohol altogether.
Poor Weight Management
If you’re struggling with hypothyroidism, one of the worst things you can do is neglect your weight. Not only will being overweight put extra strain on your already taxed thyroid gland, but it can also lead to other health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure. So if you’re carrying around a few extra pounds, now is the time to start working on shedding them.
There are a few different ways to lose weight, but one of the best is simply eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting some regular exercise. This may sound like common sense, but it’s often easier said than done. Remember, every little bit helps, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. With a little patience and perseverance, you’ll be feeling better in no time.
Missing Your Medication
Taking your thyroid medication regularly is crucial to managing your condition. If you miss a dose, it can throw off your entire system and make it difficult to regulate your thyroid hormone levels.
If you miss your thyroid medication, there’s a good chance you’ll start to feel some symptoms of hypothyroidism. These can include fatigue, weight gain, constipation, depression, and feeling cold all the time.
If you’re on levothyroxine, the most common type of thyroid medication, it’s important to take it first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, and at least 30 minutes before eating. If you miss a dose, try to take it as soon as you remember. But if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue on your regular schedule. Don’t take two doses at once.
Missing thyroid medication can also cause your thyroid hormone levels to drop too low, which can lead to a condition called myxedema coma. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.
If you’re forgetful, it might help to set a reminder on your phone or put your medication in a place where you’ll see it every day. You could also ask a friend or family member to remind you to take your medication.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans suffering from hypothyroidism, it’s important to be aware of the things that can worsen your symptoms. By avoiding these five things, you may be able to feel better and reduce some of your symptoms.
If you want to make changes in your life and feel better, we’re here to help. Our team of experts can create a treatment plan tailored specifically for you to help get your thyroid back on track. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.