5 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Thyroid Disease
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of your neck. This gland produces too much or too little thyroid hormone when you have thyroid disease.
Your thyroid is a gland in your neck that helps regulate various body functions, including your metabolism. Lifestyle habits can impact your thyroid function, and choosing healthy ones can minimize your risk of thyroid problems. Thyroid disorders happen when your thyroid produces insufficient or excessive thyroid hormones. If you experience any unusual symptoms, make sure to seek medical advice.
As per American Thyroid Association, More than 12 percent of people living in the United States will develop a thyroid condition at some time in their lives. Up to 60% of the 20 million Americans with thyroid disease may not know they have it.
However, that doesn’t make the disease any less problematic, so you need to try your best to prevent it, effectively reducing your risk of cardiovascular problems that tend to come with it.
Here are the five ways that you can do to prevent thyroid disease:
1. Balanced Diet
One of the most effective ways to support your thyroid health and the immune system is by eating a healthy diet.
You should include the following foods in your meals:
- At least four servings of vegetables every day
- At least three services of fruit every day
- Healthy fats like avocados or extra-virgin olive oil
- Lean proteins from fatty fishes or beans and lentils
2. Take Supplements
Certain supplements like selenium, vitamin D, probiotics, and iodine can help protect your thyroid, but you should check with your doctor before taking any. Some lab tests can determine whether you need to take supplements and what dosage is appropriate.
Good supplements can boost your immune system and promote your thyroid function, but you want to avoid taking too many. While iodine plays a central role in creating thyroid hormones, taking too much of it can cause problems like weight gain, stomach pain, or fever.
3. Reduce Stress
When you experience high or persistent stress levels, your thyroid function and metabolism can slow down and lead to weight gain. Blood sugar dysregulation can happen too. These factors can cause chronic fatigue and mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
To reduce your stress, you can:
- Avoid technology at night or use a blue light blocker
- Implement a sleep routine with regular bed and wake-up times
- Engage in mindful activities like meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises
- Spend time outdoors
- Speak to a therapist
Limiting your stress has many health benefits, including for your thyroid.
4. Avoid Environmental Toxins
Exposure to environmental toxins or endocrine disruptors can impact your immune system, leading to thyroid problems.
Reducing your exposure to the following toxins can support your thyroid health:
- Perfluorinated chemicals or PFCs
Being mindful of ingredients in household products is especially important when you are pregnant or have young children.
You can regularly wash your hands with soap and water and choose glass containers rather than plastic ones for your food.
5. Quit Smoking
Giving up smoking and other tobacco products is a standard health recommendation. Toxins present in cigarette smoke can cause thyroid problems by interfering with iodine and your body’s production of thyroid hormones. Tobacco use can also lead to Graves’ disease, a common cause of hyperthyroidism.
Do not hesitate to talk to a doctor about treatment options to stop smoking, and this can help you quit tobacco products successfully for long-term health benefits.
Get help fast
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Contact ER of Texas to talk to a board-certified doctor about your next step if you have thyroid concerns.