How to Manage Hypothyroidism Symptoms
Thyroid glands (found in the front of your neck, below your larynx) are endocrine glands producing chemicals called hormones. Hormones are responsible for many important functions in your body, such as metabolism, growth, and mood regulation.
The hormones produced by the thyroid gland include TS3 and TS4, which are specifically responsible for regulating the metabolic processes, that is, how your body uses energy. Hypothyroidism is a condition of thyroid glands not producing enough TS3 and TS4 hormones to meet your body's energy requirements. Hyperthyroidism sees an excess production of TS3 and TS4.
Thyroid hormones affect multiple organ systems. The symptoms of hypothyroidism are quite diverse. However, the symptoms can be managed well if the disorder is diagnosed and treated early.
Prominent Problems Caused by Hypothyroidism
In this section, we'll talk about the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism and what causes them. Understanding the rationale behind the symptoms can help you take appropriate measures. Consequently, this will make living with hypothyroidism less stressful.
People living with hypothyroidism often complain about being exhausted and low on energy. Your body lacks enough thyroid hormones for normal day-to-day functioning, thus making you feel weak and fatigue.
We recommend avoiding too much caffeine intake to combat the fatigue as caffeine is an additional stressor on your system. Instead, focus on clean eating, working out, and getting a good night's sleep.
2. Weight gain
Another common symptom of hypothyroidism is weight gain. Thyroid hormones play an important role in helping your body break down fat. Also, they aid the liver and pancreas in metabolizing the stored fats for energy. Thyroid hormones affect how your muscles gain traction from the metabolized energy and perform certain tasks. However, these functions can be disrupted if the production of TS3 and TS4 decreases. As a result, your body will get into a rest phase. This means being low on energy due to the decreased metabolic functions. Besides, your body will start to hold on to more calories and store them as fat, thereby initiating weight gain.
You can combat this by being vigilant about your activity levels. That is, avoid being sedentary even if you are low on energy. Try to set achievable weight loss goals to burn off the excess fat.
3. Trouble sleeping
Take some medication prescribed by the doctor to combat hypothyroidism. However, this medicine can make it difficult for your mind and body to get a restful sleep at night. Moreover, sleeping trouble can become aggravated if you end up sleeping for long during the day. Also consuming a lot of caffeine to compensate for your low energy levels doesn't do any good.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, an overdose of thyroid medication can cause sleeping trouble. Frequently unable to get restful sleep? Consult your endocrinologist immediately.
4. Decrease in sweating
You must be wondering what's the relationship between hypothyroidism and sweating? Hypothyroidism sweating is essentially a decrease in normal levels of sweating due to decreased metabolic action. Since your body is low on energy and tends to become sluggish as a result of hypothyroidism, the number of activities you perform on a normal day decreases. You may not respond quickly to temperature changes or you may develop "heat intolerance” with which you can't stand a hot room or temperature.
Relief in such situations means taking some decent dose of low electrolytes, more than what's in coconut water.
5. Hair loss
Human hair doesn't grow and shed simultaneously (unlike dogs). In fact, every hair follicle on your head goes through a process of growth and then a resting phase (called telogen phase) when it is shed. When you are healthy, this process happens in quick succession. However, decreased thyroid hormone production hampers the growth of new hair, leading to rapid hair loss and thinning hair. This happens due to your body's lack of energy to concentrate on regrowth processes.
Don't worry though, hair loss due to hypothyroidism isn't permanent. Your hair will be full and shiny again if you continue your treatment diligently.
Tips to Alleviate the Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Living with hypothyroidism doesn't mean you have to constantly compromise on your quality of life. Here are some tips to alleviate the symptoms and lead an optimal and healthy life.
- Take your medicines at regular intervals
The timing of your thyroid medicines can make a huge difference in managing your symptoms. Physicians recommend taking your medicines at regular intervals at the same time every day to help your body regulate itself.
- Take a couple of power naps
Since fatigue is a common symptom of hypothyroidism, take 20-30 min power naps to make sure your body has enough energy to perform day-to-day tasks. Schedule your naps during mid-afternoon. Avoid falling into a deep sleep as this may cause sleeplessness.
- Manage your weight
Since hypothyroidism slows down your metabolism, it can lead to rapid weight gain. Eating a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and fiber can help you keep excess weight at bay. You should consult your doctor for proper medication as this is a huge factor in managing your weight as well.
- Get checked for micronutrient deficiency
Deficiency of certain vitamins (B12 and D) as well as micronutrients (prominently iodine and selenium) can aggravate hypothyroidism symptoms. Talk to your doctor and schedule diagnostic tests to ensure nothing is amiss.