According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), at the end of 2010 an approximate number of twenty-six million Americans suffer from a thyroid disorder. That means 8.5% of the entire U.S.A population. Moreover, statistics emitted by the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) reveal the concerning fact that one in 4,000 babies born with a congenital thyroid disorder.
Hypothyroidism: What is it?
The most common thyroid disorder is Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by a deficiency of thyroid hormones. The thyroid is an endocrine gland, shaped like a butterfly, which weighs less than 30 grams and is located in the neck. It secretes triiodothyronine and thyroxine which regulates the metabolism, control the body temperature, and affect the heart rate and calcitonin, a hormone that regulates the amount of calcium in the organism.
Hypothyroidism (thyroid disease characterized by reduced functioning of the gland) is a condition where the thyroid gland fails to produce and release the adequate amounts of thyroxine.
This condition slows the body’s metabolic activities. Since thyroid hormones have a significant effect on growth, development and daily functions, the deficit may lead to a variety of health problems. Children with this condition may have developmental difficulties. Adults can suffer a slowing of the physical and mental functions, and even heart diseases. Additionally thyroid hypofunction may increase cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Asthenia and slowing, low heart rate, increased sensitivity to cold, unexplained weight gain, constipation, dry skin and hair, heavy menstrual cycles, depression, hoarse voice, infiltrated with a high cholesterol level.
Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism vary widely depending on the severity of the hormone deficiency. In adults, this condition occurs gradually over several months or years. As metabolism continues to slow down, symptoms become increasingly obvious. Often the first symptoms are a constant fatigue, muscle cramps and the feeling of cold when the temperature is low or moderate. You may show signs of constipation and skin can become dry and lose lustre. Your voice may become hoarse. Some gain weight, usually between 5 and 10 kilograms (11-22lbs.).
In children, the hormones secreted by the thyroid gland are very important for growth, because if the gland is in hypofunction, the child cannot develop physically and mentally normal.
Advanced hypothyroidism is called myxedema. This can occur if the hypothyroid condition is not identified for many years. Symptoms may include dizziness, intense cold intolerance and low body temperature, followed by profound lethargy and, eventually, unconsciousness.
Causes of Hypothyroidism
Edematous-mix coma can be triggered by infection, sedation, surgery or other situations that put the body in a state of stress. Hypothyroidism can occur both sexes and at any age, usually affecting middle-aged women and older adults often go undiagnosed. The disease can have various causes. The thyroid gland may be destroyed by an autoimmune disease where your own immune system attacks the gland. Hypothyroidism can also occur as a result of inflammation of the gland or due to pituitary insufficiency, when the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is not produced anymore. The hormone transmits to the thyroid gland the message to produce thyroxine.
Because hypothyroidism is more common in older women, some doctors recommend all women older than 60 years to be investigated in search of this condition during a routine clinical investigation. Some doctors test pregnant women in search of hypothyroidism. Your doctor may do tests to detect a thyroid that functions inefficiently, if you ever feel tired or slower, if you have dry skin, you’re constipated or voice thickening or if you have had thyroid problems. The most effective way to diagnose hypothyroidism is through blood tests that measure levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine. Low levels of thyroxine and high TSH levels suggest the diagnosis of hypothyroidism.
Treatment of hypothyroidism with poor thyroid functioning is taking synthetic thyroid hormone, levothyroxine, administered on a daily basis. The oral medication restores the adequate quantities of hormones. After treatment, symptoms such as fatigue should begin to yield, although it may be months until all symptoms withdraw. Gradually, the drugs can lower the cholesterol level and decrease the weight caused by the illness. Treatment with levothyroxine is usually lifetime and may be followed by regular blood tests because the body need for thyroid hormones may change very slightly over time.
Alimentation and Diet
Since the condition is often affiliated with obesity, it is important to know that there are ways to deal with the weight gain caused by Hypothyroidism. Elaborate food plans are not necessary, but it is important to carefully choose food based on how it is cooked. Your diet should be based on fruits, vegetables and enough protein and saturated fats, which you find in olive oil, fish, lean meat, egg and so on.
It is important to reduce as much as possible the use of meat, alcohol, coffee, preservatives and food dyes. It is also important to reduce smoking, if it’s the case.
Hypothyroidism in itself does not lead to weight gain. This occurs as a result of metabolic functions slow down, causing the body to store a larger amount of fat. Thus, in the diet for hypothyroidism should not eliminate certain foods in particular, but rather consist in introducing the recommendations of specialists in your diet products beneficial to your metabolism. These foods are:
Yogurt contains a high number of bacteria beneficial for the human organism. Thus it is recommended to search for those yogurt brands rich in pro-biotic bacteria.
Foods rich in iodine
Hypothyroidism occurs due to the insufficient amount of iodine in the body. Supplementing this substance through food rich in iodine will be able to stimulate thyroid hormone production. Foods most recommended in this regard are saltwater fish, seaweed and sushi.
Foods rich in tyrosine
Tyrosine is another amino acid needed to stimulate production of thyroid hormones. Foods rich in tyrosine are: fish, lean meat, lentils and low-fat milk.
Foods rich in selenium
Like iodine or tyrosine, selenium plays an important role in thyroid hormone secretion. Therefore include in your daily alimentation tuna, salmon and brown rice.
Green tea plays an important role in increasing the body’s functionality, at the same time stimulating the fat burns. Therefore, if you drink a cup of tea every day, you have a good chance to lose weight.
Coconut oil hastens the process of thyroid hormone secretion, increases the body’s level of functioning and provides extra energy.
The following foods should be avoided if you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism: cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels cabbage, spinach, peaches, pears, strawberries, radishes and millet.