Battling thyroid

Battling thyroid

Unexpected weight gain or loss can be linked to thyroid disorder.

Battling thyroid

Neeta (name changed), a 37-year-old IT professional, joined a gym to lose the extra kilos. When even the high-intensity workouts were of no help, she decided to get her thyroid levels checked. She was shocked when she found out that she suffered from hypothyroidism. Ria, on the other hand, was happy that she was slim and did not need to exercise. But her irregular menstrual cycles were a cause for concern. When she got her thyroid levels checked, she was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.

One in 10 adults in India suffer from hypothyroidism. According to a study conducted by Indian Thyroid Society in 2015, awareness about thyroid disorders ranked ninth as compared to ailments such as asthma, cholesterol, depression, diabetes, insomnia and heart problems.

Unexpected weight gain or loss can be a sign of thyroid disease. The condition generally goes undiagnosed, as people tend to overlook the early symptoms. With changing lifestyle patterns, in many cases, patients suffer a combination of ailments like thyroid and diabetes or thyroid and obesity.

In some cases, pregnant women are diagnosed with thyroid disorder, as the body needs to meet the increased thyroid hormone requirements of the developing foetus. Therefore, women must undergo a check-up before pregnancy to avoid any risks. Medications prescribed for thyroid are safe to consume during pregnancy.

One out of every eight women will develop thyroid disorder in her lifetime. Generally, women in the age group of 30 to 45 years are more prone to the disorder. Here are some early symptoms of thyroid:

  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Unexpected weight gain or loss
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Swelling of the neck
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Dry skin and brittle nails
  • Excessive hair loss
  • Constipation
  • Snoring during sleep
  • Increased blood pressure
  • n Frequent mood swings, anxiety and stress

There are two types of thyroid disorders — hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Some of the common symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, dry skin, depression and lethargy. Weight loss, insomnia, heat intolerance and palpitations are the signs of hyperthyroidism.

Managing stress levels, monitoring your diet and taking prescribed medication can help control the situation. People can suffer from thyroid disorder if they have Grave’s disease, pituitary gland malfunction or a family history of thyroid.

Here are some diet suggestions for people suffering from thyroid disorder:

  •  For hypothyroidism: Include iodine-rich foods such as iodised salt, foods rich in vitamin C and antioxidants like tomatoes. Also add sources of iron and vitamin B like whole grains, beans, nuts, mushrooms and dairy products. Avoid eating raw vegetables and fruits, peanuts, millets and soya products.
  •  For hyperthyroidism: Olive oil, walnuts, apricot, brown breads, grains and vegetables should be included in the diet. Avoid aerated drinks and alcohol. Limit the consumption of coffee, red meat and white bread.

(The author is a consultant, Laparoscopic & Metabolic Surgery, Columbia Asia Hospital.)

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