5 ways to manage your thyroid condition
We share our top five ways to manage your thyroid condition.
A diagnosis of a thyroid condition can initially seem overwhelming. And although there is no cure for conditions like Hashimoto’s or Graves’ disease, if you manage your thyroid condition well, there’s no reason why you can’t live a long and fulfilling life.
To help you along your thyroid journey, we’ve put together some top tips on how to manage your thyroid condition.
1. Ensure you are on the right dosage of medication
With conditions like Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease, medications like thyroxine and carbimazole form the basis of treatment. Making sure you are on the right dose of medication is critical in helping you control your symptoms and managing your condition.
Your doctor should regularly monitor your medication and its effectiveness and should change it accordingly. If you are experiencing symptoms of a thyroid condition whilst being on thyroid medication, we recommend speaking to your doctor.
You can also check your thyroid hormones are within a healthy range, with one of our Thyroid Blood Tests.
2. Make sure you are getting the right number of vitamins and minerals
Certain health conditions can put you at risk of nutrient deficiencies. Ensuring your levels of vitamins and minerals are within a healthy range may improve your symptoms.
Which vitamins and minerals could affect a thyroid condition?
Several nutrients are important for thyroid function, and the balance is key for symptom management.
Important micronutrients for thyroid health include:
Your thyroid condition might also put you at risk of other deficiencies too. For example, vitamin B12 and D deficiency are more common in people with hypothyroidism .
You can read more about how these vitamins can affect your thyroid in: what foods are good for thyroid health?
Should I take supplements if I have a thyroid condition?
If you are planning to take vitamin or mineral supplements, make sure you keep within your recommended daily intake (RDI) – sometimes too much can be as harmful as not enough.
You can monitor your levels of certain nutrients like vitamin D and B12 with our Nutrition Blood Test.
3. Look after your mental health
The awareness of mental health and its link to physical health has grown rapidly over the past few years. Studies have shown that people with a thyroid condition are at a higher risk of developing mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety .
The thyroid gland plays a critical role in regulating various bodily functions, including mood and energy levels. An underactive or overactive thyroid can disrupt the balance of hormones, leading to symptoms like worry, irritability, and low mood. As well as this, living with a chronic, invisible condition can be overwhelming and frustrating.
For these reasons, people with thyroid conditions tend to have higher rates of anxiety and depression compared to the general public. Therefore, it is essential to prioritise your mental health by engaging in stress-reducing activities and practising self-care regularly.
If you're finding it difficult to manage your mental health symptoms, speak to your GP.
What’s the link between stress and your thyroid?
Stress is known to interfere with many aspects of hormone balance, including thyroid function. Stress exacerbates autoimmune thyroid conditions, such as Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and may lead to changes in TSH levels .
Adopting relaxation techniques like meditation, getting regular and high-quality sleep, as well as adopting a healthy diet and exercise plan can help to relieve stress and correct mild abnormalities in cortisol levels.
4. Pay attention to the seasons
Does TSH rise in winter?
Research has shown that thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) rises in winter , which can sometimes upset your symptoms. Tracking your symptoms and thyroid hormones can help you spot whether your TSH is spiking.
How can winter-related illness affect my thyroid condition?
For most people, winter can induce dry skin and hair and an increase in appetite. And if you have a thyroid condition, these symptoms, along with others, may worsen.
Sometimes, an increase in appetite can lead to indulging in a few extra treats. But be sure to watch out for overindulgence in foods that are high in saturated fats (as these can cause inflammation) and foods that may affect your absorption of thyroid medication, such as coffee and walnuts.
Eating the wrong foods can also lead to an exacerbation of symptoms such as weight management, and may even lead to the mismanagement of glucose and fats, leading to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes .
5. Regularly monitor your condition
Monitoring your thyroid condition with regular thyroid blood tests is important for managing symptoms and reducing complications. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends doing so annually , but you may require testing more frequently if your hormone levels are unstable or not well controlled. Regular blood tests can help your doctors to assess the effectiveness of any treatment and make any necessary adjustments to your medication. And can also help to pick up any vitamin deficiencies or other conditions that could be causing unwanted symptoms.
- Appunni, S., Rubens, M., Ramamoorthy, V. et al. Association between vitamin D deficiency and hypothyroidism: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007–2012. BMC Endocr Disord 21, 224 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12902-021-00897-1
- Radhakrishnan R, Calvin S, Singh JK, Thomas B, Srinivasan K. Thyroid dysfunction in major psychiatric disorders in a hospital based sample. Indian J Med Res. 2013 Dec;138(6):888-93. PMID: 24521631; PMCID: PMC3978977.
- Hong, H. and Lee, J. (2022) ‘Thyroid-stimulating hormone as a biomarker for stress after thyroid surgery: A prospective cohort study’, Medical Science Monitor, 28. doi:10.12659/msm.937957.
- Kuzmenko, N.V. et al. (2021) “Seasonal variations in levels of human thyroid-stimulating hormone and thyroid hormones: A meta-analysis,” Chronobiology International, 38(3), pp. 301–317. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/07420528.2020.1865394.
- Wang, C. (2013) “The relationship between type 2 diabetes mellitus and related thyroid diseases,” Journal of Diabetes Research, 2013, pp. 1–9. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/390534.
- Recommendations: Thyroid disease: Assessment and management: Guidance (no date) NICE. Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng145/chapter/recommendations (Accessed: 31 May 2023).
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