Ma'am, is your thyroid doing fine? Pardon me gentlemen, I'm asking this only to my female readers, because, due to some unidentified reason thyroid disorders are three to four times commoner in women than in men. Although thyroid problems are most common in women of reproductive age group, it may begin right from the womb, infancy, childhood, adolescence and in any period of adult life, affecting a girl's growth, puberty, later menstrual cycles and tweaking with her reproductive functions. Lady, this is for your knowledge- thyroid disease is the second most common cause of hormonal problems in women of childbearing age, especially so in developing countries like ours (India) where there is upright lack of knowledge and neglecting tendency towards health issues. Over last two decades, incidence of thyroid disease has gained its momentum considerably, more shockingly, embracing more and more minors! Although you might be hearing of much hyped diabetes everyday, it is actually the thyroid disease which is most common and most prevalent among all hormonal diseases in India, troubling almost twice as many victims as of diabetes. So, how about knowing little more about your thyroid? Back to square one, how to know if your thyroid is doing fine? I think this is the right time to get acquainted with your thyroid, its functions, possible problems and preventable measures. Mademoiselle would you please pause your housekeeping, mothering or office works for fifteen minutes to improve your knowledge on thyroid health?
What is thyroid? It's a butterfly shaped gland, weighing around 20 grams, situated at the front and side of your neck. This structure produces a hormone called Thyroxine that regulates metabolism in your body by processing carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins (to keep our talk simple). So, it is obvious that a malfunctioning thyroid would produce either less or more thyroxine, letting you gain or lose “excess weight”. When this hormone called thyroxine is high in your body the condition is called Hyperthyroidism and its low level in your body leads to the condition called Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is more common in women than hyperthyroidism. Even during pregnancy chances of getting hypothyroidism is much more than its hyper-counterpart. Bright side is, with a brief knowledge on your thyroid health you can assess whether your thyroid is functioning properly. If you experience warning signs of thyroid disorder do not worry... your doctor can easily diagnose and treat your naughty thyroid.
Most common Warning Signs from your improperly functioning thyroid are:
* Intolerance to cold
* Fatigue and lethargy
* Hoarseness of voice
* Excess weight gain
* Puffiness around your face/ Swelling of limbs
* Muscle stiffness, pain and night time cramps
* Dry coarse skin
* Chest pain
* Deceased ability of hearing
Less common Warning Signs of thyroid disorder can be:
* Loose stool
* Palpitation and restlessness
* Weight loss
* Excessive feeling hot and profusely sweating
* Hair loss
* Swelling in front of your neck
* Protruding eyes
Problems which can really freak you out are:
* Light or infrequent menstrual periods
* Heavy bleeding during menstrual periods
* Mental retardation and congenital abnormalities in your baby
* Chronic ill health
Pretty scary right? Moreover, thyroid problems increase your risk of different chronic diseases like heart problems, arthritis, frequent infections and cancer. But as I said before, thyroid disease is easily diagnosable as well as treatable. So, whenever you experience any of these warning signs, awaken the detective inside you and catch up with your cute doctor. Let him examine your condition and guide you accordingly. Don't just get carried away by manipulative ads or biased health articles and go for a dozen of expensive laboratory tests, because in most cases a simple investigation can judge your thyroid status.
Tips for a healthy Thyroid:
* Consume a balanced diet for your body type. Seek help from a nutritionist in planning your balanced diet. There is nothing really that can replace a balanced diet.
* Include sufficient protein as well as fibers in your diet.
* Restrict diets rich in sugar and refined foods.
* Rest well but be careful not to turn sedentary.
* If you encounter any of those warning signs listed above get your thyroid medically checked.
* If you turn out to be a hypothyroid individual it's preferable to avoid some foods called goitrogens- cauliflower, turnips, pears, spinach, strawberries, cabbage, soybean, soy products, peanuts, pine nuts, brussel sprouts, millet etc.
* Ask your doctor if you need to take a multivitamin supplement.
Hopefully I could make you more comfortable with your thyroid health. Now you know few essential basics like what is thyroid, how it is helpful, what are its functions, problems and preventable measures. I'm sure you would love to share this slice of knowledge with other women around you and encourage them to do the same. Let us join hands and do our bits in improving the thyroid health of India.