Holistic Wellness

All About Hypothyroidism

What Is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is underactive. This results in a deficiency of the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). 

It can be readily diagnosed and managed but can turn potentially fatal in severe cases if untreated. Without enough thyroid hormone, many of the body’s functions slow down.

Types Of Hypothyroidism

Based on the underlying mechanism, hypothyroidism can be classified into the following types

  • Primary hypothyroidism – It is also called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It is an outcome of an autoimmune phenomenon where the thyroid cells are attacked by the WBCs leading to a reduction in the synthesis of thyroid hormones.
  • Secondary hypothyroidism – This type of hypothyroidism arises due to inadequate stimulation from either the hypothalamus or pituitary thus causing reduced levels of thyroid hormones in the blood.
  • Iodine deficiency Goiter – Iodine is one of the substrates required for the production of thyroid hormones. Thus, thyroid hormone production drops when the dietary intake of iodine is less.

Subclinical Hypothyroidism

This type of hypothyroidism is an outcome of obesity. It is characterized by normal T3 & T4 levels but high TSH levels. If not intervened, it may progress to clinical type where the thyroid levels drop.

Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism

The thyroid not just dictates metabolism, but has an action on almost all the systems of the body. Hence, when thyroid levels are altered, symptoms related to different systems are produced. A few of the most important symptoms include

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Cold intolerance
  • Constipation
  • Fertility issues, and menstrual disturbances
  • Dry skin, hair loss

How To Diagnose Hypothyroidism?

A simple way to rule out hypothyroidism is to check for blood levels of thyroid hormones also called the complete thyroid profile.

Normal Thyroid levels 

  • TSH – 0.4 to 4 mlU/L (Milli-International Units per Litre)
  • Free T4 or Free Thyroxine – 0.8 to 1.8 ng/dL
  • Total T3 – 80 to 220 ng/dL

Lifestyle Interventions For Hypothyroidism

  • In the case of subclinical hypothyroidism, weight loss is the solution. Setting a calorie-deficit diet & increasing physical activity levels can help in achieving a normal BMI.
  • Goitrogens (foods that are known to disturb thyroid functions) should be consumed in moderation & only after cooking. E.g. cruciferous vegetables and soy products.
  • They can be safely consumed if the daily iodine intake is adequate. 
  • Adequate iron is essential for thyroid function; hence it is recommended to have a diet that will include iron-rich food sources.
  • Low-impact exercises along with low-intensity resistance training are recommended to aid fat loss.

Along with the above-mentioned interventions, it is very essential to have regular blood checkups to analyze the prognosis. If already on medication, these need to be taken consistently in the morning on an empty stomach to avoid any food interference.

Author: Dr. Poonam Vichare (INFS Faculty)

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