SMALL BUT MIGHTY; THE STORY OF THE THYROID GLAND Part 2

 The thyroid gland is an essential gland in your body and that is undisputed. In the first part of this article, we talked about what the thyroid gland looks like, what it does and what can go wrong with the thyroid gland. We also looked at what causes thyroid diseases. Check here to see more if you missed out!

Today on the blog, we will consider the treatment modalities for thyroid disorders. We will also educate ourselves on what we can do to protect ourselves and prevent thyroid diseases.

Can thyroid diseases be treated?

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Yes, most thyroid disorders can be treated with the right combination of drugs and lifestyle changes. In some instances, surgery might be required. Early detection is super important for proper treatment. That is why we must cultivate the habit of seeing a doctor whenever we notice a change in our bodies.

How can you protect your thyroid gland and prevent diseases?

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  •  Eat more fruits and vegetables. Take at least four or five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Include lean proteins and healthy fats in your diet as well. These include Olive oil, Salmon fish, Sunflower oil etc

  • Avoid processed foods and sugary foods. Avoid foods that have preservatives, dyes or sugar-free substitutes in their ingredients list. These foods can cause inflammation in the digestive system as well as autoimmune reactions. Some cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, kale etc should not be eaten raw in high doses. This is because they contain substances that affect the production of thyroid hormones. It is better to lightly steam them before eating.

  • Protect your thyroid during X-rays. Ask for a thyroid collar when taking dental X-rays or X-rays involving the head, spine, neck or chest.

  • Avoid unhealthy diets. These include crash diets or drastic, unsustainable diets in order to lose weight fast. Reducing your food portions and depriving your body of the needed food for a particular period of time is bad for your thyroid gland. This is because this deprivation tells your body and your thyroid gland that you’re starving. This, in turn, will make the thyroid gland reduce your body’s metabolism. This is not good for your body, especially when you’re not really starving.
  • Examine your thyroid regularly to check for any changes, swellings or lumps.
  • Talk to your doctor about taking supplements which can improve your thyroid health.

How to examine your thyroid gland.

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This is a very simple procedure that can be done in 2 mins in the comfort of your own home.

  • Stand in a bright, well-lit room.
  • Ensure you are facing a clean mirror.
  • Locate the region in your neck where the thyroid gland is usually found- the base of the neck, beneath your Adam’s apple.
  • Take a sip of water.
  • Tilt your head back such that your neck is stretched out but you can still see the mirror with your eyes.
  • As you swallow, observe the thyroid first with your eyes and then with your hands. Check for swellings, pain or any kind of lumps.
  • Sometimes you might discover that your thyroid gland is slightly swollen (goitre), don’t panic. Simply arrange to see a doctor as soon as possible.

All in all, we need to pay special care to our thyroid glands and I hope we’ve been able to learn one or two things that are helpful. I look forward to your comments or questions as usual!

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Till my next post,

 Dr Omotola Oke.

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