How does stress impact your thyroid?
In today’s fast-paced world, stress finds its way into our lives in different ways. Chronic stress can not only hamper our productivity and health, it can also cause a negative impact on the functioning of the thyroid gland.
There are different ways in which stress can impact the thyroid gland and its functions:
- Stress can cause symptoms such as fatigue, headache, difficulty in falling asleep, mood swings and so on. Many of these symptoms are similar to those caused by hypothyroidism. Further, stress reduces the conversion of T4 hormone to its active form i.e. T3. It also causes thyroid hormone resistance.
- Chronic stress can also lead to the development of a thyroid condition such as hypothyroidism. The normal response of the human body to stress is to fight it using its adrenal system. The body releases these adrenal hormones as a part of its ‘fight or flight’ system. However, when the stress becomes prolonged and chronic, the adrenal glands can no longer handle this stress by themselves. This leads to a state of adrenal fatigue. Once adrenal fatigue sets in, the body begins to slow down. Since the thyroid gland is the cornerstone of metabolism control in the human body, it also slows down, leading to hypothyroidism.
- Stress can definitely exacerbate symptoms if you have an existing thyroid disorder. It can interfere not only with the production of thyroid hormones, but also with the thyroid gland to release lower amounts of hormones. In patients suffering from hypothyroidism, stress can exaggerate symptoms such as weight gain, sleep and lack of energy. This can cause a vicious cycle which decelerates your health and slows down your metabolism.
- In patients with hyperthyroidism, stress is even more dangerous. Patients with hyperthyroidism often have elevated heart rates. In such cases, stress can worsen symptoms of increased heart rate, often known as thyroid storm.
Managing stress with thyroid conditions
In cases where stress has precipitated thyroid dysfunction or caused it to slow down, it is important to begin the course of treatment by first tackling stress and its causes in your life. Since it is difficult to completely eradicate stress from our lives, patients with thyroid diseases must instead focus on their physical and mental health. Patients with chronic stress and underlying thyroid diseases can take the following measures:
- The first step is to work closely with a doctor to ensure that the thyroid disease is well-controlled. Thyroid levels must be monitored closely and frequently to ensure that they are within the threshold. The cause of thyroid disease must be established. In cases where thyroid conditions are precipitated purely due to chronic stress, sources of stress must be eliminated before treatment for thyroid conditions is administered.
- It may be difficult to eliminate stress from our lives but efforts must be made to consciously minimize triggers of stress. Reducing alcohol, caffeine, and sugar in your diet and taking certain measures such as avoiding smoking and drinking can also help in allaying stress levels. Where necessary, medications may be prescribed to curb anxiety levels and ensure adequate mental rest.
- Thereafter, patients must try to achieve better control over their lifestyle by practicing yoga, meditation or similar coping techniques. Consuming a healthy balanced diet with plenty of macro and micro nutrients is also equally important.
- Regular exercise also helps to destress by releasing endorphins, also known as the feel-good hormones. This can counter the effects of chronic stress and restore both physical and mental balance to the body.
- Patients must also ensure they get enough physical rest and at least eight hours of sleep every day.
It’s true that healthy lifestyle is the key to leading a healthy life in the future, but there’s no taking away from the fact that timely check-ups are just as important in ensuring your well-being in the long run. To book your Thyroid Profile, call 44442424 or visit www.apollodiagnostics.in