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8 Proactive Steps To Maintaining a Healthy Thyroid and Preventing Complications

Feb 21, 2024

Despite its modest size, the thyroid gland—a small, butterfly-shaped organ in the neck—plays a monumental role in regulating various bodily functions through the production and secretion of hormones.

“Poor lifestyle choices, such as an unhealthy diet, chronic stress, or a lack of exercise, can disrupt hormone balance and contribute to inflammation, potentially leading to thyroid dysfunction,” said Jenine Vecchio, M.D., Inspira Medical Group endocrinologist.

Preventive measures like proper nutrition, lifestyle choices, stress management, and regular check-ups can help reduce your risk of thyroid disorders and support optimal thyroid function for a healthier life. Here are some proactive steps you can take.

1. Eat a balanced diet

A well-rounded diet rich in nutrients is essential for thyroid health. Incorporate iodine-rich foods like seaweed, fish, dairy, and iodized salt. Selenium from nuts, seeds, and legumes supports thyroid function, while zinc from whole grains, nuts, and lean meats aids in hormone production.

2. Avoid processed foods

Processed foods often contain additives that can disrupt thyroid function. Minimize intake of refined sugars, high-fat foods, and artificial additives. Instead, opt for whole foods to support a healthy thyroid.

3. Monitor your iodine intake

While iodine is crucial for thyroid function, excessive intake can also cause issues. Be mindful of your iodine consumption; excess and deficiency can both affect thyroid health. Consult your health care provider or an endocrinologist for personalized recommendations.

4. Manage stress

Chronic stress can negatively impact thyroid function. Engage in stress-relieving activities like yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises or hobbies to maintain healthy cortisol levels and support your thyroid.

5. Exercise regularly

Regular physical activity boosts metabolism and helps regulate hormone levels. Aim for a balanced exercise routine that includes cardiovascular workouts, strength training and flexibility exercises for optimal thyroid health.

6. Get sufficient sleep

Quality sleep is crucial for overall health, including thyroid function. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night to support hormone production and regulate metabolism.

7. Limit environmental toxins

Toxins in the environment, such as pollutants, chemicals and heavy metals, can interfere with thyroid function. Minimize exposure by using natural cleaning products, filtering drinking water and being mindful of environmental pollutants.

8. Prioritize regular check-ups

Periodic check-ups are essential for early detection of any potential thyroid issues. If you have symptoms of an overactive or underactive thyroid, your provider may recommend a thyroid function test—a blood test measuring your hormone levels to check for issues or abnormalities.

“If you notice any symptoms of thyroid dysfunction such as fatigue, weight changes or mood swings, consult your health care provider,” said Dr. Vecchio. “They can refer you to an endocrinologist and help you get the appropriate treatment to prevent complications.”

For individuals with thyroid disorders requiring medication, strict adherence to prescribed medications and regular check-ups are crucial for managing and stabilizing hormone levels.

Maintaining your thyroid health

Maintaining a healthy thyroid through lifestyle choices, diet, stress management, and regular check-ups is essential for optimal well-being and metabolic balance as well as preventing thyroid disorders. “Prioritizing thyroid health is an investment in long-term vitality and a key factor in ensuring a healthier, more energetic life,” said Dr. Vecchio. “But remember, individual needs may vary, so consult your doctor for personalized guidance.”

Whether you’re suffering from a thyroid disorder or another hormone-related condition, an Inspira endocrinologist can help. Visit our website here.

Topics: Endocrinology