“I wake up tired each day.”
“I am so exhausted by mid-day, I think I need to start taking some multi vitamin”
“You give me so much stress that I now have hairfall that I never had”
“Please go away, I don’t wish to talk, you are irritating me!”
“I exercise and try to be active, also keep a watch on my food intake, tried it all but still I don’t lose any weight!”
Not unheard right? This is part of a typical conversation most women have with their friends, family and spouse on a daily basis.
And that’s where these problems remain for pretty long. In our ‘CONVERSATIONS’. We find a ear ready to listen, vent out the health problems we face and we feel better, and wait for the next time someone else is available to hear us or to share a similar story of their own.
But is that really how it should be? Shouldn’t these problems be addressed? Specially when they can be corrected? Let’s talk more about what 1 out of 10 Indians suffer-THYROID DISORDER.
Let me first put together some ‘must-have’ knowledge about Thyroid and it’s related disorders and later I would share my own Thyroid journey with you guys with the hope that I may help clear some related myths.
What is Thyroid and what does it do for my body?
The ‘Thyroid gland’ is a butterfly shaped organ located on the front side of our neck, along the windpipe.
It’s main function is to make two thyroid hormones:
- Tetra – iodothronine (T4) – Major Hormone
- Tri- iodotyhronine (T3)
These 2 thyroid hormones have an effect on almost all the tissues of the body. Some of their effects are :
- Effect on metabolic rate
- Effect on overall functioning of the body. Due to lack of these hormones (hypothyroidism – more common) one may feel tired and cold, due to excess of this hormone (hyperthyroidism- less common) one may feel nervous, jumpy and warm.
- Influence on growth, development and reproduction.
How can you know if you suffer from either of these thyroid disorders?
♦ Hypothyroidism may show the following symptoms. I suffer from all of them. Yes all!
- Thyroweight (Unexplained weight gain and tiredness)
- Change in voice
- Swelling on face/legs.
- Hair Loss
- Difficulty in sleeping.
- Coarse, dry hair.
- Dryness of skin.
- Muscle cramps and aches.
- Changes in menstrual cycles.
Please note, hypothyroidism may manifest itself via two or all of the above symptoms. Similarly, these symptoms sometimes alone may be due to other causes too. Like if you walk daily but that pizza joint near your house is your shoulder to cry on often, let’s not term it as ‘unexplained weight gain’. Try getting rid of junk food and see if that ‘constipation’ is corrected. Your maid who is always late and you screaming at her day in and out may be the cause of our changed voice.
On a more serious note, if you feel that your symptoms cannot be justified as easily as above, please do get yourself checked for thyroid with a simple TSH test.For more information please visit http://thyroidindia.com/thyroweight/
♦ Hyperthyroidism on the other hand may show the following symptoms.
- Unexplained weight loss
- Trouble in concentrating
- Feeling too warm
- Fast heart rate and diarrhoea
- Trouble with sleeping
- Nervous and irritable.
- Trouble with sleeping
- Light periods or skipping periods
In case you are experiencing these symptoms , kindly do a Thyroid Function Test (TSH) and consult your doctor with the report. DO NOTE that during pregnancy, the normal TSH range differs with that of a non-pregnant woman.
What if you don’t experience any of the above symptoms, should you still get yourself tested?
YES! You should if you:
- Are a woman over 35 years of age.(Thyroid disorders are more common in women)
- Have an auto-immune disease like Diabetes.
- Have a family member suffering from a thyroid disorder.
- Have been treated with radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medication.
- Are pregnant.
Are thyroid disorders curable?
Once there is a thyroid dysfunction, you cannot cure it since it is an auto immune disorder ( your body is acting against that hormone) but it can be easily treated and controlled , leading to a normal lifestyle. In most cases , one is put on a medication which has to be taken first thing in the morning and that is it. Some exercise along with a watch on diet and you are as normal as anyone with proper thyroid functioning.
I recently attended a wonderful talk on THYROID Awareness , where renowned endocrinologist Dr SHEHLA SHAIKH gave some meaningful insights on this topic.
According to her, the following points should be adhered to, to manage and rule out thyroid and thyroweight:
-For newly diagnosed patients, you must get tests done every 6-8 weeks. Once thyroid function gets to normal, tests need to be done every 4-6 months after consulting with a doc.
-One should do mental yoga and medication to keep stress at bay because thyroid disorders have tremendous effect on a person’s mental state and stress aggravates it.
-Make sure you are not protein, calcium and vitamin D deficient.
–Avoid consuming cabbage, cauliflower, spinach and broccoli on a routine basis since they contain natural chemicals called goitrogens (goiter producers) that can interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis.
–Family support is very important for thyroid patients to have a good self image as weight gain on the face and body along with irritability is very common.
-Those living in the hilly regions should consume iodised salt as they lack iodine in their diets and are at higher risks of acquiring a thyroid related disorder.
– Incorporate some form of exercise in your daily routine.Walking is great to start with!
Dr SHEHLA SHAIKH’s advice for women planning a pregnancy is that they should do a TSH test before conceiving and if they are already on a thyroid medication, increase the dosage by 25mcg during pregnancy. Always consult your doctor before and during pregnancy and changing any dosage.
The graceful Bollywood actress JUHI CHAWLA was also present to lend her voice in support of this awareness programme and shared how her closed ones including her husband and father in law live a regular and active lifestyle despite their thyroid issues and that people, specially women should take better care of themselves as they are the backbone of the family and the nation! She narrated how her makeup artist went about her life post thyroid and never lost the zest to live life to the fullest.
Coming to my own experience, I will admit that after being detected with hypothyroidism , I noticed that not only did I gain weight very easily but it also became tougher to lose weight. But that is where we need to work. It becomes TOUGHER but not impossible as many women seem to complain. I realised that for the longest time I kept blaming thyroid for my constant weight gain but then I evaluated my life and realised that I needed to add more exercise to it along with some diet watch. I did that and knocked off the extra kilos! The bottom line is, do not let that small yet important gland come in the way of bigger things in life. Do not let thyroweight pull you down! You are stronger and can overcome it!
That’s me below , before marriage and without thyroid:
That’s me before marriage and with thyroid. Notice the puffiness of the face and smaller appearing eyes?
That’s me post marriage( and kid) and with thyroid that’s under control.
I sincerely hope I helped clear some myths about thyroid disorders and that you know something more than you did before. Even though the prevalence of thyroid disorder is 11% of the population in India, 76% of the people remain unaware and hence undiagnosed. It is upon us to create awareness on this lesser known disease as a social responsibility. Please pass on this post to as many people as you can, specially those struggling with thyroweight and make a difference in their life.
Do you suffer from thyroid disorder? How is life for you with it? Do share in the comments please and don’t forget to share this link with your loved ones suffering from thyroid symptoms .
The Lyrical Momma.
Disclaimer: I attended a discussion on thyroid awareness facilitated by Abbott India Limited. Any opinion expressed in this blog is my personal opinion and not the opinion of Abbott India Limited. Abbott India Limited does not assume any liability for the content of the blog. The blog post is not meant to be a replacement for a doctor consultation, nor is it a medical recommendation or prescription of treatment for people having thyroid problems. Any reader of this blog suffering from thyroid problems should specifically consult his/her doctor for the same and follow the suggested course of treatment.’