The thyroid gland is necessary to properly regulate the body’s metabolism, but psychological and emotional stress can gradually affect its function negatively.
According to the magazineAzad Salud“Spanish, thyroid disorders, can affect the body’s metabolism, and may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, infertility, hair loss, and obesity as well.
Although the psychological state affects the function of the thyroid gland, most of the time thyroid diseases are long-term conditions of life that can be easily dealt with by adhering to medical advice, a healthy and balanced diet and a good lifestyle. According to the translation of “homeland”.
How might stress play a role in thyroid function, and what are the health implications?
What is the thyroid gland?
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple and above the windpipe.
As an endocrine gland, it is mainly associated with the secretion of hormones, acting in concert with many other hormones distributed throughout the body (such as the adrenal glands or the pineal gland) and with the nervous system, so that a person adapts to different conditions within seconds.
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In other words, while the thyroid gland affects many organs in the body, it is also affected by many other organs, and through different pathways. This is normal, because the endocrine system, which is dependent on the release and reception of hormones in the blood and in various organs throughout the body, aims to reach states of “equilibrium” in which the body adapts to the demands of the environment or a person’s stage of development and maturity (which changes with age Age).
Specifically, the main functions of the thyroid gland are related to:
- Regulating heart rate
- metabolic rhythm
- Attention and focus on tasks
- The body’s sexual response
- The development and maturity of the body in general and the brain in particular
Thus, the thyroid gland participates in processes that have short-term and long-term consequences (growth), but they have one thing in common, it is based on a network of very complex interactions between hormones, nerves and cells.
Although hormones send their “messages” more slowly than neurons (depending on the blood circulation to reach their destination), their effects are felt throughout the body. Virtually no living cell is unaffected by these molecules. In order for the human body to function properly, it needs a very delicate harmony between the functioning of the nervous system and the work of the endocrine glands, which produce hormones, which in turn are affected by possible chemical or psychological imbalances that the person suffers from.
How does stress affect thyroid problems?
It is possible to realize that there is a relationship between psychological state and thyroid function. And when we talk about psychological and physiological phenomena such as stress, this connection is even clearer.
Due to extreme stress, our body begins to produce a large amount of a hormone called cortisol, which usually hinders the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and, in particular, modifies the patterns of thyroid hormone production.
In a related context, if a person suffers from high levels of stress for a long time, this may affect the thyroid gland, which becomes unable to perform its function properly. Conversely, the consequences for our physical health (weight gain, inflammation…) and mental (concentration problems, hypersensitivity…) cause us to continue to feel more anxious or stressed, leading to an imbalance or hypothyroidism.
Moreover, stress is associated with altered functioning of the adrenal glands, which secrete cortisol. In some cases, this change leads to a qualitative change in the functioning of the immune system, causing the body’s defenses to attack some of the cellular tissues in the thyroid gland.
Of course, it must be borne in mind that in most cases, in which these phenomena occur, either there is a biological predisposition to developing problems in the immune system, or there are high levels of stress, so that the condition becomes more chronic. Minor stressors are not likely to cause thyroid problems. The physiological and psychological mechanisms behind stress are completely normal, and feeling stressed from time to time is something that is out of a person’s control sometimes. The circumstances of life cause us some stress, but it is important to manage stress and control its levels as much as possible, which prevents hypothyroidism.
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Although anyone can develop hypothyroidism, your risk is increased if you fall into one of the following categories:
- from the ladies
- Age over 60 years old
- Those with a history of thyroid disease
- People with autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes or celiac disease
- People treated with radioactive iodine or antithyroid drugs
- People who have received radiation therapy to the neck or upper chest
- People who have had thyroid surgery (partial thyroidectomy)
- Pregnancy or childbirth in the last six months
It is clear that those already suffering from thyroid problems, failed to manage their stress problems properly. Therefore, in such cases, it is advisable to seek psychological help.
What do you do to avoid going through these psychological problems?
Fortunately, today there are effective medical treatments to control thyroid problems, or at least their symptoms in the short term. However, the same cannot be said for stress, which requires a broader approach that combines medicine and psychology.
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For this reason, in order to manage well emotions in general and stress in particular, it is advisable to either go to a psychiatrist directly (the most effective option), or try to gradually adopt new habits that promote proper regulation of anxiety control.
Here are several tips that can help you achieve this:
- Make sure you get enough sleep, and try to have a set sleep schedule.
- Do not consume addictive substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
- Do moderate exercise, at least twice a week.
- Adopt a specific work routine to perform better
- Eat a diet rich in fiber, while eating a well-balanced diet will give you all the nutrients and vitamins you need.
- Do mindfulness exercises regularly.
- Discover the unconscious stress behaviors that you can’t control (such as pulling your hair, eating without hunger…) and try to control them.
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