Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck just below the voice box (larynx). It releases hormones that control metabolism.

Causes of Hypothyroidism:

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is inflammation of the thyroid gland, which damages the gland’s cells. Autoimmune or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, is the most common example of this. Some women develop hypothyroidism after pregnancy (often referred to as “postpartum thyroiditis”).

Other common causes of hypothyroidism include:

  • Congenital (birth) defects
  • Radiation treatments to the neck to treat different cancers, which may also damage the thyroid gland
  • Radioactive iodine used to treat an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
  • Surgical removal of part or all of the thyroid gland, done to treat other thyroid problems
  • Viral thyroiditis, which may cause hyperthyroidism and is often followed by temporary or permanent hypothyroidism

Certain drugs can cause hypothyroidism, including:

  • Amiodarone
  • Drugs used for hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), such as propylthiouracil (PTU) and methimazole
  • Lithium
  • Radiation to the brain
  • Sheehan syndrome, a condition that may occur in a woman who bleeds severely during pregnancy or childbirth and causes destruction of the pituitary gland

Risk factors include:

  • Age over 50 years
  • Being female

Signs and Tests

A physical examination may reveal a smaller than normal thyroid gland, although sometimes the gland is
normal size or even enlarged (goiter). The examination may also reveal:

  • Brittle nails
  • Coarse facial features
  • Pale or dry skin, which may be cool to the touch
  • Swelling of the arms and legs
  • Thin and brittle hair
  • A chest x-ray may show an enlarged heart.

Laboratory tests to determine thyroid function include:

  • TSH test
  • T4 test

Lab tests may also reveal:

  • Anemia on a complete blood count (CBC)
  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Increased liver enzymes
  • Increased prolactin
  • Low sodium

Treatment of Hypothyroidism:

The purpose of treatment is to replace the thyroid hormone that is lacking. Doctors will prescribe the
lowest dose possible that effectively relieves symptoms and brings your TSH level to a normal range.If you
have heart disease or you are older, your doctor may start with a very small dose.

Lifelong therapy is required unless you have a condition called transient viral thyroiditis.

You must continue taking your medication even when your symptoms go away. When starting your
medication, your doctor may check your hormone levels every 2 – 3 months. After that, your thyroid
hormone levels should be monitored at least every year.

Important things to remember when you are taking thyroid hormone are:

  • Do NOT stop taking the medication when you feel better. Continue taking the medication exactly as directed by your doctor.
  • If you change brands of thyroid medicine, let your doctor know. Your levels may need to be checked.
  • Some dietary changes can change the way your body absorbs the thyroid medicine. Talk with your doctor if you are eating a lot of soy products or are on a high-fiber diet.
  • Thyroid medicine works best on an empty stomach and when taken 1 hour before any other medications.
  • Do NOT take thyroid hormone with fiber supplements, calcium, iron, multivitamins, aluminum hydroxide antacids or medicines that bind bile acids.

After you start taking replacement therapy, tell your doctor if you have any symptoms of increased thyroid activity (hyperthyroidism) such as:

  • Palpitations
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Restlessness or shakiness
  • Sweating

Diet for Hypothyroid:

A healthy diet for someone with hypothyroidism would include natural foods, whole grains, lots of fruits and vegetables and a good supply of seafood and other lean protein. You should cut back on meats that are high in fat –but not all meats are bad for you. A multivitamin is probably a good idea if you don’t already take one

To Take Care About:

Key Minerals 

Selenium may be the most important nutrient in a diet for hypothyroid. This trace mineral is an antioxidant and is essential for converting the thyroid hormone your body produces, T4, into its active form, T3. Brazil nuts are an incredibly good source of selenium, but you can also get it from some lean meats. Intake of Iodine should be taken care as too much or too little iodine can be harmful to thyroid health.

The Power of Fiber

Another tactic that will be very helpful for you if you’re trying to lose weight is eating more fiber. Fiber makes you feel full and can help you lose weight, in addition to being helpful for constipation, another side effect of hypothyroidism.

You can ingest your fiber in pill form or through one of those over-the-counter fiber concoctions, but it is so much better if you get your fiber from actual foods, like beans, rice and other grains, whole wheat and oatmeal.

Strive for whole grains, also known as complex carbohydrates, over refined grains (things made with white flour or sugar). They’re better for you, help maintain your blood sugar stable and will make you feel fuller. Alcohol should also be avoided because it can cause blood sugar fluctuations.

A Diet with More Meals

The ideal diet for hypothyroidism will include mini meals spread out through the day rather than three larger meals. If you eat five or six small meals it will help balance the slow metabolism that is part of hypothyroidism. Just remember, keep these meals small, around 300 calories each, and include exercise if you want to lose weight, too.

Having 6 small and healthy meals during the day also helps balancing out your insulin reaction to food, limiting the spikes and crashes that you probably feel right now.

Your diet should include plenty of water, fruits and vegetables and less pasta, bread and starches. A small amount of lean protein through the day is ideal. Most of your carbohydrates should come from fruit and vegetables, with other starches used sparingly.

Menu for the Day

DaysEarly MorningBreakfastMid-morningLunchEveningDinner
Day 1A glass of Lukewarm water with lemon juice and 1/4th tsp Fenugreek seeds1 cup Oat Porridge with seasonal fruits
1 cup vegetable dalia
2-3 Cottage cheese grilled Brown bread sandwich
2-3 Idli with Sambhar
½ cup mixed fruit bowl without any dressing only chaat powder or lemon juice.2-3 chapatti + ½ cup Daal/Sambhar without cream or extra butter + Seasonal veggie (Green leafy + other) + 1 cup cumin (jeera) Buttermilk 1 cup green tea with multigrain biscuits
1 cup fruit lassi
1 cup normal tea with skimmed milk and roasted corn.
1 cup vegetable soup without cream + ¾ cup multigrain or wholegrain pasta/ noodles with vegetables + scrambled egg white and boiled minced chicken + fresh fruit skimmed milk custard
Day 2A glass of Lukewarm water with lemon juice and 1/4th tsp Flax seeds1 cup multigrain flakes in skimmed milk with added fruits
1 cup vegetable Upma
1 cup brown bread vegetable poha
1 -2 Stuffed veggie Chapatti
½ cup sprout salad with onion, tomatoes, cucumber and lemon juice1 cup brown rice + ½ cup Rajma/Choley/Kadhi + ½ cup seasonal vegetable + ½ cup mint cucumber raita1 cup Lemon Tea with high fiber biscuits
1 cup herbal tea with roasted Khakra
1 cup fruit smoothie
2-3 vegetable & soya granules Stuffed chapatti + onion raita

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