That tiny little nugget in the front of our neck has a big job. That thyroid gland helps regulate a lot, and it really is not a stretch to say every cell in our body is affected by thyroid hormones produced by the thyroid. Come see what I mean and find a handy list of things you can do to help it hum along to create your best thyroid health!
THE ENORMOUS ROLE OF THE THYROID GLAND
The thyroid gland is a conductor of sorts giving cues in the body to do some things like this:
- It stimulates our cells and controls how much energy is used or not used.
- It leads the way for virtually all metabolic activity in the body from appetite to nerve function and heart function.
- The thyroid affects how fast you burn calories and how fast your heart beats.
- It can cause obstacles in getting pregnant or losing weight.
- It can affect your digestion, your moods and your energy levels.
And, the list goes on . . .
So, I think we can agree, That thyroid? It is critical!
But, that little gem of a workhorse can lose its way and start causing many symptoms like these in hyperthyroidism or these in hypothyroidism. A diagnosis of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism is not so uncommon. In fact, 20 million Americans alone suffer from issues related to their thyroid.
You can also have autoimmune thyroid issues like I have and that can pose even greater challenges. I have Hashimoto’s meaning my immune system is attacking my thyroid and in my case, making me hypothyroid. So I must get in there and help my thyroid and support that gland as best I can. And, like a lot of things, it requires effort, time and discipline. Scan down to learn how!
TOP TIPS TO CARE FOR YOUR THYROID GLAND
Because I know thyroid issues affect so many, I have gathered a few general tips to consider to lend a hand to your thyroid. By no means is this an exhaustive list as each case is so different and there are many differences of opinions on how to treat it the best. Tip number 5 contains some links to books I have found helpful, too.
1. Knock on a lot of doors.
Find the right doctor. This is crucial. This does not necessarily mean an endocrinologist either. There are a lot of health practitioners that specialize in thyroid care and may be a better fit for you. Or you may want to create a team that works together to help you treat your thyroid disease the best. Here are some tips to finding the right health provider for you.
2. Bond with your team.
Create a good relationship with your medical team. After you have found the right team, make sure you do what they ask and keep the communication open. Ask questions to make sure you understand why they are asking you to do everything. When you meet with your doctors, be organized and specific, Tell them what you are doing exactly, Show them your exercise and eating log, bring in your supplements to share. Let them know exactly how often you are experiencing a symptom. The more “scientific” you are and the less emotional and vague you are, the more serious they will take you and the more ideas they will have to get you better.
Don’t miss this: Have you heard of Concierge Medicine? If not, you will. Let me tell you about it.
3. Do your homework.
Study what those thyroid blood tests mean, what those medications can do or not do. Are there alternatives? Don’t just rely on your doctor. Be smart and be able to understand the lingo. It is your body, your health, and your life. Here is some information on thyroid blood tests.
Don’t miss this: Here are some superfoods or nutrient dense food choices that may help support your health.
4. The numbers count.
Check your blood levels of thyroid function regularly. Even when you are feeling well, make sure you get your blood levels of all the thyroid hormones (T4, T3, Free T3, Free T4, TSH, etc.) checked. It is so much better to catch a slight decrease or increase and react accordingly rather than wait until a big change occurs. Here is some information you may want to consider regarding when is the best time to get your thyroid blood levels checked.
5. Get trendy.
Keep up to date on the latest studies, medications, supplements, etc. Research further:
- Read thyroid books like this loaded with tips to live well despite thyroid disease.
- Frustrated with hypothyroidism and your lack of improvement? I understand. Check out this book to better gain knowledge and talk to your doctor about doing more about it.
Make sure to find support groups in your area to learn all you can as well and for helpful doctors in your area.
6. Dump the antagonists.
A healthy diet is a must, and not just for your thyroid. For everything! But did you know some foods can aggravate your thyroid? There are many studies pointing to gluten as a possible culprit for the autoimmune link to thyroid issues. I have begun to eliminate it myself and shared that here. Sugar can be another problem for many. And, even those nutrient powerhouse vegetables in the cruciferous family like broccoli, kale, cabbage. Yes, too much of those can be an issue for some. It might be worth experimenting with your diet for a few months to see if riding yourself or cutting back certain foods affects your blood tests and symptoms.
7. Put pen to paper.
Keep a symptom log. There are so many actions you can take to get better. From switching medications, special diets, exercise programs, supplements, etc. But you do not know which of them may help you. Your symptoms may change suddenly. I have found it really helpful to write down when I started a new routine, changed medications, etc. to aide me in putting pieces together to improve my symptoms.
8. Move your body.
Exercise. Every day is best. But create a routine and keep to it. This is my biggest challenge and I slip when my life is especially zany. But if I create a schedule, I find it easier to get going. You don’t have to like it every day but think of the alternative if you don’t. That will motivate you!
Don’t miss this: Follow here for lots of ways for you to find an exercise routine that can help.
9. Don’t give up.
Be patient and forgiving of yourself. Having thyroid issues is challenging and your symptoms can change over time. Just knowing that can be typical for many can help. It wouldn’t hurt to reintroduce yourself to tip number one. If you are experiencing frustration over your condition, perhaps that is where you need to restart your focus.
How about you, thyroid sufferers? Any tips we should add here? I would love to hear every one of them. Please contribute in the comments and let’s hear about your experiences.
neck: photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/ktlindsay/447670993/”>kT LindSAy</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>