Everything about Hyperthyroidism Symptoms, Causes, Diet and Exercises
Hyperthyroidism symptoms are sometimes so mild that most people fail to recognize it. Therefore, they do not get diagnosed with hyperthyroidism until it gets worse. Especially when it comes to older people, the sudden loss of weight and the feelings of anxiety and depression do not make people recognize the underlying cause until a blood test confirms it.
Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid disease, generally means that your thyroid gland makes and releases too much thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland is located right in the front of your neck, just below the location of your Adam’s apple. It makes hormones that have a great impact on your metabolism.
What Causes Hyperthyroidism?
In more than 70% of cases, hyperthyroidism is caused by an autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease. Normally the antibodies produced by the immune system provide protection to your body against viruses, bacteria, and other foreign substances.
An autoimmune disease is when your immune system starts producing antibodies that instead of protecting your body’s tissues and/or organs, starts attacking it. When you suffer from Graves’ disease, the antibodies produced by the immune system stimulate the thyroid hormone, inciting it to produce way too many hormones. Doctors are of the opinion that hyperthyroidism usually runs in the family and affects more young women.
Symptoms of Thyroid
The symptoms and their severity depend on the duration and extent of excess thyroid hormones, and also the age of the individual. The symptoms, which individuals should be more aware of, are:
Nervousness and irritability
Sudden Palpitations and tachycardia
Heat intolerance or excessive sweating
Predominantly weight loss, in some cases weight gain
Increase in appetite
Frequent bowel movements or diarrhea
Lower leg swelling
Shortness of breath with exertion
Sleep issues which include insomnia
Changes in vision which includes:
Photophobia, or light sensitivity
Irritation of eyes with excessive tears
Exophthalmos, or forward protrusion of the eyeball
Experiencing fatigue and muscle weakness
Fluid buildup in the tissues right about the shin bone.
Hyperthyroid Specialized Diet
When your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, it can be only be treated with prescribed medicines and a special diet, as the condition strips off a lot of nutrients from your body. The bodily processes speed up with this disorder.
Sticking to the prescribed medication should be the norm. But you should also complement the conventional treatment with the right kind of diet and exercise. Follow these dos and donts to control your spiraling thyroid levels.
First things first, you must avoid foods which are high in iodine, such as seafood, eggs, curd, iodized salt, and milk.
Unlike in conditions such as hypothyroid, where you need to skip raw cruciferous vegetables; if you suffer from hyperthyroidism, you need to eat cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, which are preferably raw.
Another welcome addition to your diet should be green leafy vegetables like mustard greens, spinach and kale, said to suppress the function of your thyroid.
Make sure you add flaxseed oil and ground flaxseeds to your diet, as they are the best plant-based Omega 3 fatty acids. Also, don’t forget the vitamin D from eggs, mackerel, salmon, and mushrooms.
Steer clear of soybeans and processed soy products which can impact your already over-stimulated thyroid.
Whole grains like millet and brown rice, combined with nuts and seeds are great sources of zinc, which are extremely important nutrients necessary for the body functions that might get depleted due to an imbalance of thyroid function.
Eating healthy and avoiding alcohol, smoking, excessive amounts of tea, coffee, colas, and chocolates should become the norm.
Also, proper supplementation with your doctor’s guidance is essential. High-potency B-complex supplements should be taken daily to replenish the fast depleting B vitamins used up for increased metabolism.
Exercise Routine to Combat Hyperthyroidism
Small tweaks and trivial modifications can all add up to big results. Exercise and a proper fitness regime is a big part of hyperthyroidism treatment. By exercise, we mean the right kind of exercises. Spending an insane number of hours on your treadmill can play havoc on your cortisol levels which can further escalate your thyroid levels and worsen your hyperthyroid symptoms. Yoga is particularly therapeutic and very effective in addressing in hyperthyroid issues.
1. Shoulder Stand
The shoulder stand helps massage and tone the thyroid gland. It also helps stimulate the pituitary and pineal glands, and helps them function better. These glands also help impact the functioning of the thyroid gland.
Get into Shavasana (corpse poses).
Now, bring your together your feet and place your hand sideways close to your body.
Bring your legs close to your chest.
Raise your lower body slowly (similar to Halasana or plow pose).
Take your hands, place them on your back and slowly lift your legs up.
Your entire body should be in straight alignment with your upper arm supporting your back.
Hold the pose, begin with 10 seconds and breathe normally.
Now gradually fold your leg from the knee.
Take the support of your hands; get your upper body down.
Lie down on the mat and rest.
Lie down in Shavasana for as long as you held Sarvangasana. Don’t get up suddenly, instantly after finishing it.
2. Halasana (Plough pose)
Hala means plow. The pose resembles the Indian plow, hence it is also called halasana. This yoga exercise compresses your neck and stimulates the thyroid glands, and hence boosts metabolism.
Get a mat and lie down straight with your hands on either side.
Slowly raise your legs together followed by your hips. Use your hands to support your back.
Take your legs backward right over your head, towards the floor.
Gently, plant your toes on the ground. Then, place your arms back on the side.
Hold this pose for as long as possible and while you do, breathe slowly and keep looking forward.
As the blood rushes to your head, count your breath to 100.
Once you’re done, support your lower back with your hands and bring your legs back to lie down straight. Breathe out while you do this.
3. Matsyasana (Fish pose)
Matsya literally means fish; this asana is so called because it resembles a fish. Matsyasana stretches the neck region, thereby stimulating the thyroid gland.
Lie down on your back with legs wide apart.
Now, bring together your legs and your hands with your palms out, right over your head, point your toes out and go into a full body stretch.
Repeat this twice, breathe mindfully, inhaling and exhaling slowly.
Now, keep your hands under your torso, nearing the glutes. Bring in the hands as much as possible.
Raise your body with your body weight resting on your elbows.
Drop back your head and arch your back with your feet together but relaxed.
Ease your body into relaxation mode, focus on mindful breathing, and relax your eyes, head, and mind.
Keep breathing normally.
Bring your head back up, gaze at your toes and slowly bring your body down.
Spread your palms out, keep your hands and legs apart, relax.
Roll your wrists to relax your wrists.
Move you neck left to right.
Bring your toes close together, interlace your fingers and rest your neck on your hands.
Now, counter the neck position. Move in the front, left and right, diagonally with your back resting on the floor.
4. Viparitakarni (Inverted Pose)
The literal meaning of Viparita is ‘reverse’ and Karni means is ‘by which’. Viparitakarni helps balance the functioning of the thyroid hormone and eases thyroid symptoms. This is also one of the most important asanas for thyroid disorder.
Start by finding one open space near a wall and sit right next to it, such that your feet touch the floor, spread in front of you, and the left side of your body is touching the wall.
Breathe out and lie down on your back, ensuring that the back of your legs presses against the wall and that the soles of your feet face upwards.
Place your buttocks a little away from the wall or stack them against the wall.
Make sure your back and head stay on the floor. You will find your body forming a 90-degree angle.
Lift your hips up and slide a prop under them to aid your movement. You could also with the help of your hands, support your hips and coerce your body to form a curve.
Keep your head and neck both in a neutral position and soften your throat and your face.
Close your eyes and continue to breathe. Hold the position for at least five minutes. Release and roll over to any one side. Breathe before you sit up.
5. Bhujangasana (The cobra poses)
Resembling a cobra, this pose involves all sorts of compressing and stretching in the neck and stimulates and regulates the thyroid glands.
Lie down comfortably on a yoga mat with your toes flat on the floor. Rest your forehead on the ground.
Keep your feet together, your heels touching one other with the top portion of the feet placed against the floor. Place your palms downwards, under the shoulders, and keep your elbows parallel and bring them closer to your torso.
Take a deep breath in; gradually raise your head, chest, and abdomen while your navel touches touch the floor.
Now, pull your torso back and off the floor with the support of your hands. Breathe calmly and stay in that position for a count of 5 to 10 breaths.
Exhale and gently bring your abdomen, chest, and head back to the floor.
6. Setubandh Sarvangasana (Bridge formation pose)
This is one of the more impactful yoga poses for thyroid problems. While performing Setubandh Sarvangasana, if the practitioner is successful in forming a good bridge, the neck is stretched out greatly, which helps stimulate the thyroid gland.
Start the asana by lying down on your back.
Bend your knees and plant your feet on the floor hip-width apart. Make sure that your ankles and knees are in a straight line.
Let your arms rest by your side, with your palms facing downwards.
Breathe in, and lift your back (lower, upper, and middle) off the floor. Roll in your shoulders and ensure that your chin touches your chest without you having to move it. Your weight should be supported by your shoulders, feet, and arms.
Tighten up your buttocks. Make sure your thighs are parallel to each other and stay on the floor.
Interlock your fingers and press your hands hard on the ground to move your torso higher.
Hold the posture for at least a minute. Breathe mindfully, be aware of each breath.
Breathe and release the pose.
Tips and Tricks to get Relief from the Symptoms of Thyroid Disorder
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism like protruding eyes and dry skin can cause you much distress. Here are some ways to get relief.
Apply cold compresses on your eyes- The extra moisture provides ample relief.
Wear sunglasses- To guard your eyes against the ultraviolet rays of the sun, especially when your eyes protrude, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun and the wind.
Use lubricating eye drops- Eye drops provide great relief from dryness and scratchiness. But before you use any of these drops make sure you seek the advice of your physician.
Elevate the head of your bed- Keep your head elevated more than the rest of your body, it may reduce the swelling and also protect your eyes.
Creams for your swollen skin- Over the counter creams work great on the swollen skin. Your physician may recommend the right cream for your particular skin predicament.
So, you see when you are bothered by hyperthyroid symptoms, don’t suffer silently, there is help at hand, all you have got to do is reach out and you will be sorted. As they say, the right lifestyle modifications can do wonders to your health, so start today and chalk your way to health and wellness.
Deblina Biswas has an M.Sc degree in Nutrition from the University of Osmania and has tons of experience in Fitness and Nutrition. She loves everything about food and fitness and the fact that she has been able to follow her heart when it comes to her profession. When she is not working, she likes to rustle up delectable concoctions in the kitchen, of course keeping the health quotient intact. She says, everyone just loves her healthy biryani she makes for special occasions. She believes that most ailments can be cured with the right amalgamation of nutrition and fitness.