These lifestyle tips for women with thyroid disorders will help you tame the disease
By Emily Hagan | Published on Oct 19, 2023
Thyroid disorders affect millions of people worldwide, with women being more susceptible than men. As we mark thyroid awareness month, it is crucial to delve into the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for women with thyroid disorders. By making a few simple changes, women can effectively manage their condition and minimize its impact on their lives.
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Understanding the Thyroid Gland and Its Role
The thyroid gland, situated at the base of the neck, plays a vital role in regulating our body’s metabolic rate and various bodily functions. Thyroid hormones control the heart, muscles, digestion, brain development, and bone maintenance. To produce these essential hormones, the thyroid gland requires an adequate amount of iodine.
Common Thyroid Disorders in Women
Thyroid disorders, including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules, and thyroid cancer, are prevalent among women of all ages. These conditions often result from autoimmune responses, which are more common in women. If left untreated, thyroid disorders can lead to various adverse effects on overall health and well-being.
Lifestyle Tips for Women with Thyroid Problems
To effectively manage thyroid disorders and minimize their impact, women should follow these lifestyle tips:
Medications: Stick to the Schedule
Consistency is key when it comes to taking thyroid medications. Forgetting doses is a common reason for feeling unwell. Remember to take your medication at least 30-60 minutes before breakfast, as taking it with food can impair absorption. Also, be aware that calcium, iron tablets, and antacids can interfere with the absorption of thyroxine and should be taken separately.
Regular Blood Tests: Stay in the Know
Regular blood tests are crucial for monitoring thyroid hormone levels. These tests help your doctor adjust medication dosages accordingly, ensuring that your treatment remains effective.
Iodine and Diet: Finding the Right Balance
Adults require 150 mcg of iodine daily, while pregnant and breastfeeding women need 250 mcg. Consuming iodized salt and foods rich in iodine, such as fish, milk, dairy products, and eggs, helps meet these requirements. However, it’s important to note that iodine supplements are not recommended.
Healthy Eating: Fueling Your Body Right
While there is no medical evidence that specific foods can improve thyroid function, maintaining a healthy diet is essential. Aim for a balanced intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins (such as beans and fish), and healthier fats like vegetable oils. Reduce your consumption of sugar, saturated fats, processed foods, and junk food. Additionally, limit your intake of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and turnips, as they can inhibit iodine uptake when eaten in large quantities in their raw form.
Managing Stress: Prioritizing Relaxation
Stress can have a significant impact on thyroid functioning, particularly in cases of Grave’s disease and hyperthyroidism. Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your daily routine, such as yoga, meditation, painting, reading, or listening to music. Additionally, prioritize getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
Regular Exercise: Boosting Energy and Vitality
Regular physical activity can help combat sluggishness, fatigue, and muscle pain associated with thyroid disorders. Engaging in low-impact aerobic exercises, strength training, and other forms of physical activity not only boosts energy levels but also reduces stress and aids in weight management. However, it’s important to wait until your thyroid function tests have normalized before starting an exercise routine. Exercise can also improve cholesterol levels, protecting your heart health.
Essential Vitamins and Minerals: Closing the Gap
Vitamin D deficiency often coexists with autoimmune thyroid disorders. Supplementing with vitamin D can significantly alleviate overall symptoms. Additionally, selenium supplementation has shown benefits in managing thyroid eye disease.
Quitting Smoking: A Must for Your Health
Smoking has detrimental effects on overall health, and for those with thyroid disorders, it reduces the chances of a cure for hyperthyroidism. Quitting smoking is crucial for improving overall well-being.
Pregnancy: Special Considerations
If you’re planning to get pregnant, ensure that your thyroid hormone levels are normal. Inadequately treated hypothyroidism can negatively impact the baby’s brain development. Medication dosages may need adjustments during pregnancy, so close follow-up with your doctor is advised.
Embracing a Healthy Life with Thyroid Disorders
As thyroid disorders become increasingly prevalent, following a healthy lifestyle, maintaining a balanced diet, and adhering to the prescribed medications are essential for women to lead fulfilling lives. By managing their condition effectively, women can overcome the challenges posed by thyroid disorders and prioritize their well-being.
Also, don’t forget to watch out for helpful videos and resources that provide further guidance and support on this journey.