MANAGING YOUR HYPOTHYROIDISM

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So you’re one of the many who have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism this year. What happens next? What do you do? These questions are probably running through your head. Don’t panic. Hypothyroidism is manageable. Hypothyroidism can usually adequately be treated with a daily dose of medication. Here are a few things you can do to help manage your hypothyroidism:

  • Do as your physician says—We go to doctors for a reason, yet many still try to handle their illnesses themselves. It’s fine if you want to manage your thyroid condition naturally and your physician says you can. Generally, if you’re otherwise healthy, your doctor will start you on a full replacement dose of medication which may be adjusted every 4-6 weeks until the dose is adequate.

    If you’ve been experiencing thyroid symptoms, the medication will help alleviate these symptoms. Obtaining optimal thyroid function may take several months, and will require further bloodwork to determine if the medication is working properly. Once your thyroid is functioning at an optimal level, you can discuss other options with your physician.

  • Monitor properly—Getting the exact dosage of medication can be tricky, and it can vary over time. For example, if you lose weight gained before you were diagnosed, your medication may need to be adjusted for your new weight. If you’ve changed your diet to thyroid-healthy foods and began to exercise, a change may be needed. It is important that you monitor your thyroid at least with an annual or semi-annual blood test.

    If your thyroid is over treated, it can be as dangerous as under treatment. You can experience many of these symptoms:

    • Tachycardia
    • Palpitations
    • Atrial fibrillation
    • Nervousness
    • Tiredness
    • Headache
    • Increased excitability
    • Sleeplessness
    • Tremors
    • Possible angina
  • Know your nutrition facts—Diet plays a role in practically every bodily function. Specific nutrients are needed to help your thyroid stay healthy. Here are a few of them:
    • Iodine—Without it, your thyroid cannot produce adequate hormones to help your body function properly. Iodine can be found in iodized salt, but is more commonly found in sea vegetables such as hijiki, wakame, arame, dulse, nori, and kombu.
    • Selenium—This mineral, which is critical for the proper functioning of your thyroid gland’s production and regulation of the T3 hormone, can be found in foods such as shrimp, snapper, tuna, cod, halibut, calf’s liver, button and shitake mushrooms and Brazil nuts.
    • Zinc, Iron and Copper—Trace amounts of these metals help keep healthy thyroid function. Foods such as calf’s liver, mushrooms, spinach, turnip greens, and Swiss chard will give you the small amounts you need.
    • Omega-3 Fats—Yes, fats. These fats, however, are found in fish or fish oil, and they play an important role in thyroid function.
    • Antioxidants and B Vitamins—Antioxidant vitamins include vitamins A, C and E. They can help your body neutralize oxidative stress that may damage the thyroid. The B vitamins help to manufacture thyroid hormone and play an important role in healthy thyroid function.

Managing your thyroid symptoms is relatively simple. Left unmanaged, however, it can cause you some severe problems. It is up to you to take control of your body and help manage your hypothyroidism.