The numbers of hypothyroidism diagnoses made in the United States is staggering. There seem to be many factors at play including nutrient deficiencies, stress and even emotional equilibrium.
The most common type of autoimmune disease that I see in my practice as a naturopathic physician is Hashimotos Thyroiditis. The process involves some dis-regulation in the immune system. Research hasn't identified a way to avoid hypothyroidism. Thyroid problems are often multifactorial and include:
• Lack of good quality sleep • Nutrient deficiencies • Chronic stress • Chronic inflammation • Toxic exposures
Statistics vary, but as much as 90% of hypothyroidism diagnosed in adults is caused by the immune system attacking the thyroid gland. It may be associated with an acute stress like childbirth or cold or flu or some type of chronic inflammation in the body.
Chronic stress also appears to contribute to hypothyroidism, especially autoimmune issues. One can improve their outlook on life and decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression through daily exercise. Evidence shows that people simply feel better when engaged in a daily physical routine.
When considering the psycho-emotional piece to thyroid function it is encouraging to look at forms of exercise for reducing stress, thereby having a positive impact on thyroid levels. I would venture that there is even a link between depression and anxiety and hypothyroidism. Thyroid levels are altered as part of the bodies' response to stressful situations.
In addition to physical activity like walking or swimming, consider adding yoga or t'ai chi to your routine. The benefits of yoga extend beyond traditional benefits of exercise because it connects the mind-body. Yoga instructors will encourage you to connect with your body and listen to your body. Yoga is unique in that it focuses on your breath and leaves you with an inner feeling of peace or calmness. T'ai Chi is a series of slow movements.
For more education about how your thyroid functions, visit the website of the American Thyroid Association. Ask your primary physician or naturopathic doctor for an assessment of your thyroid health.
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