Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormones. People with this condition experience a slower metabolic rate and in turn gain weight due to the accumulation of salt and water in the body.
According to Dr Avinash Phadke, president, Technology and mentor, Clinical Pathology, SRL Diagnostics, one in ten adults in India suffer from hypothyroidism. The signs and symptoms take time to develop and varies from age to age. Children and teenagers may face slight weight gain, dryness of skin, excessive sleep, irregular menstrual cycle, hair fall and indigestion. In case of adults, the problems remain the same along with depression, muscle and joint pain.
Untreated Hypothyroidism can lead to Goitre — a condition that leads to abnormal enlargement of thyroid gland. “It develops due to iodine deficiency or inflammation of the thyroid gland”, says Dr Phadke.
On World Thyroid Awareness Day, observed on May 25 every year, we have spoken to Dr Nidhi Malhotra, senior consultant and coordinator, Endocrinology, Jaypee Hospital, Noida and Dr S K Wangnoo, senior consultant, Endocrinologist and Diabetologist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, who shared tips on how to treat hypothyroidism.
* Exercise is an important part to deal hypothyroidism. Regular exercise and yoga help burn calories and thus prevent weight gain. It also improves the slow metabolic rate and is a good mood booster since, during exercises, your body releases endorphins that enhance your mood.
* Walking for 45 minutes to 1 hour also keeps your heart healthy and keeps cholesterol in control, says Dr Wangnoo.
* A diet low in protein and sugar and high in fat needs to be incorporated into your everyday regime. One also needs to avoid eating junk and oily food. Intake of vitamin D rich foods and iodine are essential in treating hypothyroidism. For patients who have Goitre, they must avoid eating cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, brocolli and cauliflower.
* Drinking plenty of water helps control body temperature and keeps skin hydrated. It also eliminates fatigue and lethargy. Hypothyroid patients are required to drink 8-10 glasses of water to speed up the metabolism resulting in speedy weight loss.
* Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol as it suppresses the thyroid gland functions and acts as a depressant. Tobacco is harmful as it blocks the hormones.
Besides all these, proper medication and regular check-ups are necessary.