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Precautions For Thyroid Patients – Do’s & Dont’s

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

Did you know- fifteen in every 1000 women suffer from thyroid. Similarly, one in 1000 men has thyroid. While diet monitoring is very important for thyroid patients, they also need to pay attention to many other factors as discussed below.

Precautions for thyroid patients

In thyroid, the thyroid gland is responsible for the metabolic function of the body. Therefore, when thyroid poses a problem, the entire body suffers. A thyroid patient may experience depression, weight gain, fatigue, low body temperature, hair fall, poor light sensitivity and lack of stamina. It is important to know how to approach the treatment of thyroid as well as the important dos and don’ts.

Did you know?

  • The prevalence of hypothyroidism in the United States is estimated to be around 9.6% of the population. source: J Endocr Soc
  • Between 2012 and 2019, the prevalence of hypothyroidism in the United States increased from 9.5% to 11.7%. source: J Endocr Soc
  • The most common treatment for hypothyroidism in the United States is levothyroxine (T4) monotherapy, with over 78% of patients receiving this treatment. source: J Endocr Soc
  • From 2012 to 2019, the percentage of hypothyroid-diagnosed patients not receiving treatment increased from 11.8% to 14.4%. source: J Endocr Soc
  • The prevalence of hypothyroidism in the United States is higher in women compared to men. source: J Endocr Soc

How to tell if I have Thyroid problems?

Before we dive into  thyroid dos and don’ts, you need to be aware of the signs of thyroid problems. First, understand that there are two broad types of thyroid issues, when the thyroid is overactive it is called hyperthyroidism and an underactive thyroid gland will cause hypothyroidism.  

How to tell if I have Hyperthyroid issues

  • Sudden loss of weight despite maintaining the same or similar diet
  • Feeling hungry more often
  • Faster or irregular heart rate (as well as palpitations of the heart)
  • Trembling of the hands, inability to keep them steady
  • Being more susceptible to heat as well as sweating more easily
  • Changes to periods, bowel movement, sleep cycle
  • Fatigue 
  • Changes to skin, hair and nails (thinning, becoming more brittle)
  • The base of the neck swelling 

How to tell if I have Hypothyroid issues

  • Feeling colder than usual
  • Fatigue and slowness accompanied by muscle weakness
  • Mental health issues like depression, feeling down
  • Skin turns dry easily, hair thinning 
  • Weight gain along with a possible increase in cholesterol levels
  • Constipation 
  • Hoarse voice
  • Difficulty remembering things

If you notice any of these symptoms or multiple symptoms, you should speak with a doctor immediately and request a blood test. Apart from confirming a diagnosis, your doctor will guide you with a thyroid diet dos and don’ts list (some of which we’ve listed below). Note that, while food precautions for thyroid patients are important, it’s even more important to take any medications your doctor has prescribed, in the right dosage.

Thyroid hormones control the Basal metabolic rate in the body hence the weight loss or gain in thyroid diseases. Regular thyroid profile testing and adjustment of dose by an endocrinologist is of paramount importance.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Click here to know more about thyroid disorders from an endocrinologist

Also Read: Genmaicha Tea: Discovering Its Benefits and Unique Flavor

The Dos

1. Check thyroid regularly

It is important to check thyroid levels regularly- whether you do it at home or via a lab test, it is up to you. At times, a doctor may completely depend upon the blood test for diagnosis and overlook thyroid dysfunction. This may leave many people undiagnosed. Therefore, it is important to have a frank discussion with your doctor and seek clarity.

If you want to test your thyroid levels at home, you will need a glass basal thermometer. You can check your temperature daily for 10 minutes. Take precautions as per your temperature.

2. Drink a lot of water

Thyroid patients must always drink distilled water. This is because chlorine, fluoride and bromine levels are very low and it is iodine-free which helps the thyroid to function properly. Distilled water also ensures cleaning the liver and kidneys of toxins.

3. Eat selenium, tyrosine, and antioxidants rich food

Thyroid patients must have foods with Vitamin B such as crab, shellfish, brazil nuts, kidney and liver. These foods contain Selenium- an enzyme that converts T4 to T3. Tyrosine-based food includes almonds, sesame seeds, oats, etc. Antioxidants rich food includes all fresh vegetables and fruits. These kinds of food will reduce inflammation and help enhance health.

Read More: 8 Best Foods for Thyroid Patients to Include in their Diet

The Don’ts

1. Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol

Thyroid patients, if they smoke or drink alcohol, should put a stop to these immediately. This is because alcohol is a depressant and it suppresses the thyroid gland functions. Tobacco or smoking is equally harmful as it blocks the iodide ration and synthesis of hormones.

Read More: 7 Health Hazards of Smoking

2. Say no to macronutrients

Fats, protein and carbohydrates are the big macronutrients. They play a significant role in thyroid regulation in the body. However, following a low-carb diet can adversely affect the thyroid. Even diets that are non-fat or trans-fat pose problems for thyroid patients.

3. Stay away from sugar and caffeine

Caffeine tends to stress the body and so does sugar. Consuming caffeine in smaller quantities is good as it helps to manage inflammation, as it helps to open up the blood vessels. However, consuming more than the recommended amount of caffeine can alter the TSH levels produced by the pituitary glands.

4. No self-medication

Most often thyroid patients struggle to understand what’s happening to their body and therefore they turn to the internet for reference. The internet with its wide range of sources tells different stories and patients get carried away and start to relate everything happening in their body to be a thyroid problem.

It is recommended that one should be familiar with the symptoms and conditions that are thyroid-related but talk with a licensed doctor and get a proper prescription before you decide your own treatment.

Read More: 11 Ways To Treat Thyroid At Home

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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