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It is important for you to know how pregnancy affects your thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone plays an important role during pregnancy in the development of the baby and also regarding the health of the mother. If you suffer from thyroid problems during pregnancy, you should take medicines and certain thyroid function tests.
How pregnancy affects normal thyroid function?
The pregnancy hormones known as human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG and estrogen lead to increased thyroid hormone levels in your blood. The hCG made by the placenta stimulates the thyroid to produce excessive hormones. Increased estrogen leads to higher levels of the thyroxine binding globulin, which transports the thyroid hormone in the blood.
Because of these normal hormonal changes, thyroid function tests are difficult to perceive during pregnancy. The thyroid hormone is very important for the normal development of a baby’s nervous system and brain. During the first trimester of pregnancy, the foetus depends on the supply of thyroid from the mother via the placenta.
In healthy women, the thyroid enlarges during pregnancy. An enlarged thyroid can indicate a thyroid disease, which should be diagnosed immediately. Thyroid problems are difficult to diagnose during pregnancy because of the increased hormone levels, increased thyroid size, fatigue and other factors.
Hyperthyroidism in pregnancy
Hyperthyroidism may occur in pregnancy because of Graves’ disease where enough thyroid hormones are not produced. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the cells and organs of the body instead of fighting bacteria or viruses. With Graves’ disease, an antibody is released by the immune system called the thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin or TSI. This causes the thyroid gland to produce excess thyroid hormone. In many cases, the antibody is also associated with eye problems like bulging, irritation and puffiness.
Graves’ disease commonly appears during pregnancy, but women with this disease from before may actually observe improvements in the symptoms during the second and third pregnancy trimesters. The remission or the disappearance of the symptoms of Graves’ disease may occur due to the general suppression of the immune system, which occurs during early pregnancy. The disease is likely to recur and worsen in a few months after the delivery. It is important for pregnant women with Graves’ disease to be monitored carefully.
Hypothyroidism during pregnancy may lead to a developmental delay in the child. Sometimes, hormone therapy is given to women who are at the borderline stage in thyroid function during pregnancy or just before pregnancy. The treatment of the condition aims at maintaining a proper and balanced thyroid hormone level in the body.
Diabetes is a condition that cannot be cured. It is a lifelong disease that can be only managed. The way your body handles glucose is affected by this condition. Diabetes is classified into Type 1 and Type 2. Most people affected by diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. In few cases, the blood sugar levels are above normal. Yet, it cannot be high enough to be called diabetes. This condition is called prediabetes. People with such condition have a higher risk of being affected by diabetes. When one is diagnosed with diabetes, a lot of factors should be taken care of. The first thing you need to be careful about is the food intake. Physical activities and exercises, too, should be given importance.
Role of insulin: Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. The food you eat contains glucose, a form of sugar. This has to be converted into energy, which is done by insulin. When you are affected by Type 2 diabetes, your body still produces insulin. When your body cannot make use of it, the condition is called insulin resistance. To cope with this, the pancreas produces more insulin to convert the sugar into energy. But, still it cannot be used efficiently and sugar build up keeps growing.
The causes: You could have been affected by Type 2 diabetes because of various factors. It can be because of hereditary reasons. DNA can influence the way your pancreas produces insulin. You can be at a higher risk of diabetes when you both your parents are a diabetic. If you have excess weight around the middle or abdominal area, you are at an increased chance of being affected by Type 2 diabetes. Excess weight can lead to insulin resistance. Childhood obesity can result in diabetes in the teens and adults who are in their early twenties. Wrong communication between the cells and broken beta cells, too, can lead to Type 2 diabetes.
Risk factors: Low HDL cholesterol, heart diseases, high triglycerides, gestational diabetes, PCOS, depression, and prediabetes are some of the risk factors you need to be cautious about. When you know your medical history and undergo periodic checkups, you can assess your chances of getting affected by it. You can also find that various lifestyle factors play a vital role here. If you spend most part of your day sitting, or you have a sedentary job, your chance of getting affected by Type 2 diabetes is alarming. The same is applicable for smoking. Obesity or being overweight can also lead to Type 2 diabetes. Stress is a factor that can affect your health, and can also trigger this condition. You need to sleep for at least 7 to 8 hours per day. When you do not get adequate sleep, again, you are at risk. This does not mean sleeping more is safe. 10 or more hours spent sleeping again can cause type 2 diabetes.
If you want to keep off the risk factors, lose weight. Don’t get into crash diets. You can try healthy foods in portions. Do workouts. Cardio workouts are a good choice Stay off from junk foods and carbonated drinks. When you find the symptoms of being thirsty often, blurred vision, frequent urination, and numbness in feet, check your blood sugar levels. Speak to your doctor and take the right medication for diabetes. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
There are various manifestations of hypothyroidism; joint pain is one of them. Majority of people who are suffering from hypothyroidism have joint pain. This can cause difficulty in day to day life of the person.
So here are the ways to decrease joint pain from hypothyroidism-
- Lose weight- Weight is the one factor which gives more stress to the joints. By losing weight, the stress upon the joints reduces. This not only decreases the pain but also increases the mobility, and prevents future damage to your joints.
- Strengthen your muscles- Strengthening of muscles is necessary to protect your joints. By building the muscle mass you also use more calories than fat which results in weight loss and reduces the stress upon the joints. Physiotherapy will be helpful in this.
- Exercise regularly- Doing exercise is more beneficial than just weight loss. It helps to maintain flexibility in your joints. Low-impact exercises such as water aerobics or swimming are more beneficial than weight-bearing exercises like running and walking.
- Healthy Diet- Add fresh fruits, vegetables which are highly antioxidants. Also, fatty fish which is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to decrease inflammation. This can help in resolving your joint pain. Avoid the junk food which leads to weight gain.
- Good Sleep- Sleep is the ultimate solution for your stress. Also, sleep is the time when your joints and muscles repair. If you are sleeping well you may take less time to recover. At least 7-8 hours of sleep every day is a must.
- Meditation- Sometimes constant pain can be stressful and troublesome. Meditation helps you to deal with stress. It distracts you from your bothering like joint pain and makes you focus on your breathing. It also makes you calm and settled.
- Yoga- Yoga not only helps in joint pain but it improves the overall health. It increases the flexibility. It makes you feel fresh and keeps you healthy.
- Hot and Cold Therapy- It helps to reduce the stiffness and swelling of the muscles and joints hence reducing the pain. A cold fomentation is best for relieving joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Apply a gel ice pack to painful joints for quick relief.
- Massage- Massage of the painful joint will help to decrease the pain, swelling and stiffness. It also improves the range of motion of the joint.
- Medication- Medications such as NSAID’S, steroids are used to reduce the inflammation hence the pain. But these are temporary treatments and they also have adverse effects on the body. This is prescribed along with thyroxine if the pain is severe. Even supplements like calcium and vitamin D are given according to the need.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!