To keep thyroid problems away, you should make 5 simple changes in your lifestyle

The thyroid gland, a delicate butterfly-shaped organ located in the front of the neck, plays an important role in regulating various bodily functions. Its proper functioning is essential to maintain overall health.

However, disruption of thyroid activity can lead to two different conditions: hypothyroidism, where the gland is under-functioning, and hyperthyroidism, where it is over-functioning. These conditions are often the result of an autoimmune phenomenon, where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, causing gradual damage and subsequent dysfunction.

One of the notable aspects of thyroid dysfunction is its genetic predisposition, making it a condition that can be passed down through families. The complex interplay between genetics and immune system response significantly contributes to the prevalence of thyroid disorders in certain familial areas. Understanding these genetic factors becomes important for effective diagnosis and management.

Contrary to popular beliefs, lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise or yogic postures have limited effect on reducing the disease process associated with thyroid dysfunction. While maintaining a healthy lifestyle is beneficial for overall well-being, these measures are not the primary interventions for managing thyroid disorders. Instead, the focus turns to specific recommendations that can help reduce the effects of thyroid dysfunction.

Dr. Johan Varghese, Honorary Consultant Endocrinologist, Holy Family Hospital, lists five lifestyle changes you can make to avoid thyroid problems.

– A primary piece of advice given to individuals struggling with thyroid disorders is to include iodized salt in their diet. Iodine is a vital component for thyroid hormone synthesis, and ensuring an adequate supply can help support thyroid function.

Additionally, with few exceptions, it is recommended to include fresh fruits and vegetables. While broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are generally safe when part of a healthy diet, it is recommended to eat them cooked rather than raw. However, it is important to note that dietary modifications alone do not play a significant role in improving thyroid disease.

– Another key recommendation is to avoid smoking, including exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking has been linked to various health problems, and in the context of thyroid disorders, it can increase symptoms and complications associated with both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

– Eliminating or reducing exposure to cigarette smoke is considered an essential step in the overall management of thyroid dysfunction.

When it comes to treatment, thyroid medications remain the cornerstone. These medications, prescribed based on the specific thyroid disorder and individual patient’s needs, are the only proven way to effectively address thyroid disease. Individuals need to consult their treating doctor before starting or stopping thyroid medications, as improper management may lead to further complications.

Understanding the complex nature of thyroid dysfunction, its genetic components, and the limited impact of lifestyle modifications underscores the importance of targeted interventions. Since thyroid medications are the primary method of treatment, a collaborative approach between patients and health care professionals is essential to effectively manage these conditions.

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