Thyroid diseases are a common hormonal disorder around the world. In India too there is a critical weight of thyroid ailments. Recent studies on thyroid sickness, have highlighted that around 42 million individuals in India experience the ill effects of common thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiter/ iodine deficiency disorders, Hashimoto’s (autoimmune) thyroiditis, and thyroid cancer.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have recently found that patients who have contracted the Covid-19 virus have also developed an inflammatory thyroid disease called subacute thyroiditis. Subacute thyroiditis is an inflammatory thyroid disease characterized by pain in the neck and is usually preceded by an upper respiratory tract infection.
In several cases, SARS-CoV-2 virus has been found accountable for the onset of subacute thyroiditis among individuals. Hence, in such a scenario, it has become critical for people to stay alert about the possibility of this additional clinical manifestation. Along with practicing the safety measures of maintaining social distance, taking care of hygiene and practicing sanitization, individuals must also adopt practices which can help them in maintaining a healthy thyroid.
In order to maintain a healthy thyroid, people can make use of the following measures –
Here are a few tips to maintain a healthy thyroid:
Increase the intake of anti-oxidants: The thyroid is very vulnerable to oxidative stress. Berries like strawberries, raspberries and colorful vegetables that are high in anti-oxidants and are extremely helpful to protect the thyroid.
Exercise and try to stay lean and fit: With obesity, it’s not clear if a slow metabolism affects your thyroid, or if your thyroid causes your metabolism to slow. As Thyroid hormones helps to regulate body weight, people with low levels of thyroid hormones can experience weight gain and an increase in body mass index (BMI) while a high level of hormones can result in weight loss. Thus you can monitor the thyroid health by going to the gym and controlling the weight gain or loss.
Adequate iodine intake: The autoimmune disease of thyroid infection is commoner than iodine inadequacy A significant proportion of this iodine-sufficient adult population have thyroid disorders. Nonetheless, given that iodine inadequacy is an issue in India, the significance of iodine insufficiency can’t be ignored in the Indian demography. Iodine is essential substance in order to maintain thyroid health. Hormones such as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) are named T4 and T3 due to the number of iodine molecules they possess. Iodine deficiency is common among Indians, but iodine intake can be fortified by consuming dairy products and seafood.
Consume nuts: Nuts have high selenium content which is an important component to the thyroid. It helps to convert thyroid hormone T4 to T3 as the enzymes required for this conversion are actually dependent on selenium. It is also a potent antioxidant which protects the gland from oxidative stress. Broccoli, butter, eggs, fish, garlic, onion, turnips and seafood are also fantastic sources of selenium.
Thyroid hormones play an important role in regulating metabolism and energy use and affect most of the body’s organs. Hence, with all the anxiety due to the pandemic let us not forget the importance of our thyroid health as we stay safe and aware.
(The author is Dr. Mahesh D. M, Consultant – Endocrinology, Aster CMI Hospital. Views expressed are a personal opinion.)