Thyroid is a gland present in the human body and controls the metabolism. Thyroid produces many important hormones which maintain the temperature and energy supply of the body. During winter as the temperatures fall, thyroid functionality is affected. It has to work harder to maintain metabolism rate and body temperature.
A thyroid dysfunction can be problematic as it can lead to many health complications. A study shows the prevalence of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism in Pakistan to be around 5.8% and 4.1% respectively. To avoid thyroid dysfunction, it is important to take care of it especially during winter. Here are some of the ways you can take care of your thyroid this winter.
During winter, there is a limited supply of sunlight. The days are shorter and lack any tangible sunlight most of the time. Lack of sunlight can produce a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is crucial for a healthy immune system and a deficiency can cause autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s which can severely damage thyroid functioning.
To avoid vitamin D deficiency it is important to soak up as much sunlight as possible. Keep windows open during the daytime to let the sunshine in when it is available. Lying down in the sun or a day time walk under the sunshine is the best way to stock up some vitamin D.
In winter the thyroid has to work harder to maintain a steady body temperature. This results in increased production of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Increased levels of TSH can slow the metabolism down resulting in weight gain. It is thus important to control TSH levels in winter so that regular thyroid functioning can be maintained.
Exercise can be critical in regulating TSH levels in the body. A regular workout can enhance metabolic rate on sluggish winter days and improve overall thyroid functioning.
As the thyroid is naturally slowed down in winter, it is important to avoid any food that will further decrease its functioning. Everyone should be careful with their diet but thyroid patients should consider getting a diet chart.
Thermogenic foods which can aid to maintain the body temperature should be consumed as much as possible. Teas, caffeine, and coconut oil are highly thermogenic and should be incorporated in the winter diet. Sugary foods should be avoided as they are not good for thyroid and can induce other conditions such as insulin resistance.
Proper sleep is crucial for cognitive and thyroid function. It also helps in keeping the stress levels down. High levels of stress hormones have been known to affect thyroid functioning. Regular sleep cycles are thus important in winter to maintain a healthy thyroid.
If after all the precautions, if you still observe the symptoms of an underactive thyroid you should get your TSH levels checked. A high amount of T3 and T4 hormones in your bloodstream indicate that the thyroid is not working properly. It is important to consult an endocrinologist in such a situation and get a prescription.
If you are suffering from hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, you should consult an endocrinologist as soon as possible. You can also visit our website at oladoc.com to read up on thyroid conditions and look for top endocrinologists in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.
You can also call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 to get directed to the specialists that are suitable for your specific concerns.