What Is Thyroid Deficiency?
-Thyroid Disorders are very common worldwide and in most of the cases, the problem is an underactive thyroid gland or hypothyroidism. This condition is much more common in women as compared to men.
-Thyroid, a butterfly-shaped organ sitting at the base of the throat, produces hormones that regulate the basal metabolic rate which can affect the weight, body temperature, and the heartbeat.
-Thyroid gets its directions from the hypothalamus and when it receives the signals, the pituitary gland releases a hormone TSH into the bloodstream. This hormone acts on thyroid and causes the release of two hormones, T3 and T4.
How Can Thyroid Deficiency Cause Weight Gain?
-In a person with hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland does not respond to TSH fully leading to a decrease in the levels of T3 and T4.
-The most common causes of hypothyroidism are autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, radiation therapy to the neck, thyroid surgery, too little iodine in the diet etc.
-Patients with underactive thyroid gland have a low basal metabolic rate which leads to a common symptom; weight gain along with difficulty in losing excess weight.
-Patients with hypothyroidism may also experience fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, menstrual irregularities, thinning of hair etc.
How Is It Detected?
The first thing to do if you are experiencing stubborn weight gain is to talk to your doctor regarding the same. He or she may then ask you to perform Thyroid Tests to see the altering levels of hormones such as:
-TSH, that increases in the case of hypothyroidism
-T3 or Triiodothyronine, whose levels decrease in case of thyroid deficiency
–T4 or Thyroxine, whose levels also decrease in case of thyroid deficiency
If your tests show an imbalance in thyroid, then your doctor may ask you to perform some comprehensive tests such as
-Thyroid Uptake scans
How Can It Be Managed?
The disorder can usually be treated by taking a single pill of anti-thyroid medicine every day depending upon the level of TSH and as advised by your doctor.
2. Dietary Changes
A diet rich in proteins with less of carbohydrates should be taken. People with hypothyroidism should limit the intake of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower etc since they inhibit the absorption of the medicine. In addition, supplemental nutrients like selenium can also be beneficial.
3. Regular Exercise
Since hypothyroidism has been found to be linked with excessive weight gain, one must make it a practice to exercise daily for atleast 30 minutes a day. Exercise shall effectively help you keep those extra kilos at bay.
4. Regular Follow-up
Upon being diagnosed with Thyroid deficiency, make sure you take your prescribed medication on time and visit your doctor for regular check-ups and follow-up. Regular follow-up shall help you keep a track if the dosage or frequency of the medicine needs to be altered.