The word “stress” seems all too prevalent in today’s society. Although the negative effects of stress on human health are well documented, not much is known about how stress and thyroid functions are directly connected with the risk of a person developing thyroid issues like hyperthyroidism.
Many patients had pinpointed a period of high stress in their lives when their health began to deteriorate.
This article aims to answer a common query, i.e., can stress cause thyroid issues? Let’s find out the connection between stress and the thyroid.
Stress and Thyroid
The body produces glucocorticoids (cortisol), neurotransmitters, and inflammatory cytokines in response to stress. All of these factors may contribute to the onset and progression of autoimmune thyroid disease by altering immune function and activating inflammatory pathways.
Stress has been associated with increased intestinal permeability, which is believed to be a contributing factor for a range of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, including thyroid problems.
Your thyroid and adrenal glands cooperate to function. The adrenal glands, located above your kidneys, can effectively manage small amounts of stress. They release cortisol during stress, which improves several biological processes.
A thyroid storm, also known as a thyrotoxic and hyperthyroid storm, is frequently caused by physical stress. It can be life-threatening in some persons with untreated hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease.
A thyroid storm is usually caused by a physically stressful event, such as an illness, heart attack, delivery, diabetes, or even hyperthyroid treatments such as surgery and radioactive iodine therapy.
Continue reading to answer your query, i.e., can stress cause thyroid issues?
Can Stress Cause Thyroid Issues?
Stress is known to induce high quantities of several hormones to be released into the bloodstream, which is thought to be the cause of thyroid storm.
These hormones include dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. They can have the effect of kicking all body systems into high gear and seem to be particularly irritating to people with hyperthyroidism.
When these hormones are combined with the high thyroid hormone levels found in people with Graves’ disease who are either misdiagnosed or untreated, there is a torrent of chemicals that can lead to over activity in almost all physiological systems.
Thyroid storms must be treated quickly and aggressively, and admission to an intensive care unit is frequently necessary. Left untreated may lead to cardiac failure, respiratory problems, or coma.
Can Stress Cause Hyperthyroidism?
Stress affects the thyroid gland and wreaks havoc on the nervous system. It can lead to hyperthyroidism.
Physical or emotional stress can cause our bodies to go into overdrive, disrupting our hormones and other physiological systems.
When some individuals encounter a substantial stress level, their bodies begin to manifest physical symptoms of stress. Since hyperthyroidism is often associated with stress, many individuals wonder, “Can stress cause hyperthyroidism?”
Current evidence does not support the claim that stress can directly cause hyperthyroidism. Nonetheless, there is little doubt that stress can greatly exacerbate hyperthyroidism and other thyroid problems.
Bodily functions are heightened due to hyperthyroidism, characterized by abnormally high levels of thyroid hormones. The following symptoms are associated with hyperthyroidism:
- Excessive sweating
- Palpitations and increased heart rate
- Heat sensitivity
- Frequent bowel movements
- Unintentional weight loss
- Trouble sleeping
- Brittle hair
Manage Stress and Thyroid Issues
Stress management is essential for everybody, whether dealing with a medical problem or simply trying to stay healthy. However, for people who have stress and thyroid issues simultaneously, it is obvious that stress reduction should be prioritized.
Although thyroid storm is usually associated with specific physical stress, managing your emotional stress can help you lower some of the chemicals involved with this disease.
If you have been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, you should be aware of the thyroid storm.
The best method to avoid a thyroid storm is to follow your doctor’s hyperthyroidism treatment recommendations and to be aware of the symptoms of a thyroid storm, especially after a trauma such as surgery or an illness.
Here are a few ways to reduce stress and avoid thyroid issues.
1. Sleep Properly
Aiming to get 8 hours of sleep every night is key. According to research, getting enough sleep is a crucial aspect of stress management. Sleep disorders might occur in people who have stress and thyroid issues.
Those with hypothyroidism are more tired and may require more rest, but those with hyperthyroidism may have difficulty falling and staying asleep. Prioritizing sleep may help to minimize the severity of these symptoms.
Research suggests regular exercise has been found to improve a person’s stress and thyroid issues. It also has a plethora of other health benefits. Because of autoimmune disorders, exercising with a thyroid issue can be challenging. However, many of the most frequent symptoms of thyroid disorders, such as weight gain, melancholy, and fatigue, can be alleviated via exercise.
3. Take Vitamins
Some vitamins are stress-relieving powerhouses. B-complex, a multivitamin that combines B vitamins and magnesium, is one of the most popular stress-relieving vitamins.
These vitamins are especially crucial for persons who have stress and thyroid issues. B12 deficiency is common in hypothyroid people, and supplementation may help with symptoms. Thyroid problems have also been linked to magnesium shortage.
4. Eat Right
The most nutritious food source is whole foods, closer to their natural state—for example, fruits, vegetables, seafood, nuts, eggs, and whole grains. Providing your body with the proper diet can help you build resilience and cope with stress and thyroid issues.
People with hypothyroidism should ensure they obtain enough iodine in their diet to keep their thyroid health. Iodized table salt, dairy products, eggs, tuna, cod, and seaweed are all good sources of iodine.
5. Stay Relaxed
Staying relaxed is uniquely personal; everyone has different activities that help them de-stress, including rock climbing, meditation, or simply taking a bath. Depending on your symptoms, you may need different de-stress activities on different days, for example, yoga when you’re feeling good and taking an extra nap on a day.
While some studies suggest that stress is associated with autoimmune disease, there is little evidence that stress causes thyroid disease.
It’s always better to check your stress levels, whether you have a chronic ailment or are just trying to stay healthy. Because of the association between stress and thyroid disease, patients with thyroid disease should take extra precautions to keep their stress under control.
Although there is a correlation, there is insufficient evidence to conclude that stress directly causes hyperthyroidism. Both hyperthyroidism and stress can have significant effects on a person’s life, but it can be extremely challenging to manage both at the same time.
Discuss your concerns with a licensed physician, and make it a routine to maintain your physical and mental health regularly.
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More Information Related To Thyroid:
- What Is The Normal Size Of A Thyroid? How To Know The Exact Size?
- Diffuse Thyroid Disease: Causes & Diagnosis
- Signs And Symptoms Of Parathyroid Disease
- Thyroid Ultrasound – An Inside Look At Your Health
- 7 Early Warning Signs Of Thyroid Problems