Our thyroid is a small butterfly shaped gland located at the base of the neck below the Adam’s apple. It is part of our endocrine system which coordinates our body activities. The main function of thyroid remains to regulate the regular body metabolism. Several disorders can arise when the thyroid production is more or less than required. Most common disorders include Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s diseases, Grave’s diseases, Goiter and Thyroid nodules. Surveys claims that women are more likely to get affected with thyroid abnormalities than men especially right after pregnancy and menopause.
Thyroxine commonly known as T4 is the primary hormone released by thyroid. The T4 when released to the blood stream is later converted to triiodothyronine T3 which is the most active hormone. When the thyroid is less the brain produces a hormone known as thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH) than in turn causes the releases thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which helps the thyroid gland to release more T4. Estimated levels of TSH in adults are –
|18–30 years||0.5–4.1 mU/L||< 0.5 mU/L||> 4.1 mU/L|
|31–50 years||0.5–4.1 mU/L||< 0.5 mU/L||> 4.1 mU/L|
|51–70 years||0.5–4.5 mU/L||< 0.5 mU/L||> 4.5 mU/L|
|71–90 years||0.4–5.2 mU/L||< 0.4 mU/L||> 5.2 mU/L|
What is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid glands are overactive. The thyroid gland secretes too much hormone than required. The disease is less common in man.
Grave’s disease is considered to be the most common cause for hyperthyroidism. The nodules present in the thyroid which is a condition called toxic nodular goiter or multinodular goiter also leads to excess hormone secretions from the thyroid gland.
The other Hyperthyroidism causes includes excess intake of thyroid hormones, abnormal secretions of TSH, excess consumption of salty food, thyroiditis (inflammation to the thyroid gland)
Excessive release of thyroid hormone leads to –
Restlessness in the body
Increased rate of heart beat
Shaking or tremors in the body
Brittle skin, hair and nails
Bulging in the eyes (in grave’s disease)
Hyperthyroidism in Pregnancy –
Maternal hyperthyroidism if left untreated risks both mother and baby’s life. Pregnant women with uncontrolled hyperthyroidism is likely to develop high blood pressure. The risk of miscarriage, premature birth or low birthweight remains high in women diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism in Pregnancy
Hyperthyroidism diagnosis and treatment
Hyperthyroidism can be diagnosed with blood tests which measures the level of thyroid hormones. High level of thyroxine (T4) and low TSH level indicate the thyroid gland is overactive.
Doctors also perform radioactive iodine through the mouth or as an injection and measure how much does the thyroid gland takes up. Taking more iodine is a sign of overactive thyroid gland. The treatment suggested includes blocking the excess consumption of thyroid gland secretions.
In this condition the thyroid glands are underactive and cannot produce enough hormones as required.
The underactive thyroid may be due to Hashimoto’s disease, thyroid removal by surgery, or due to any damage caused during the radiation treatment. Most of the times the symptoms are mild.
Very less production of thyroid hormone leads to symptoms like –
Increased sensitivity to cold
Depressed or confused state of mind
Decreased heart rate
Rounded and puffy face, puffiness around the eyes
Hari thinning in the scalp as well as eyelashes.
Fungal infection in the nails
The blood test helps to confirm the levels of TSH and thyroid hormones. When the level of TSH is high and low level thyroxine means the individual is suffering from hypothyroidism. Main treatment for hypothyroidism is to take medicine that reach the optimum level as required by the body.
Ayurveda relates the thyroid functions to the activities of Agni (metabolism). Based on this the treatment and medications are adapted. Medicines which possess the properties of Deepana, Pachana, Ushna, Tikshna, Sukshma and Lekhana are preferred. Treatments like dry powder massage, classical virechna followed by vasti helps to control the variation in the thyroid secretions. The main herbs used for treating thyroid problems are Guggulu, Kanchanara, Punarnava etc.
• Increase intake of food rich in Iodine like seafood, milk and dairy products and sea plants.
• Include consumption of nutrients like copper, selenium and zinc are essential for normal thyroid hormone production and metabolism. Hence food items such as eggs, nuts and seeds, beans, legumes, almonds, broccoli, cereals and dried fruits should be eaten regularly.
• Selenium rich food include grains, garlic, wheat germ, shellfish, and poultry
• Optimum intake of zinc can be obtained from seafood (especially oysters), spinach and nuts.
• Omega-3 fatty acids play a great role in normal thyroid function and thyroid hormone activity. Make sure to include flaxseeds, walnuts, beans and fish in the diet.
• Don’t forget to include milk and milk products, eggs meat, fish, nuts and oilseeds, pulses and cereals in your diet