How do you know that you have a thyroid condition?

According to Dr. Stephanie Thurman, a family medicine physician based at Aurora Health Center in Menomonee Falls, WI, thyroid function can sometimes vary between hypoactive, lower than normal function or hyperactive, higher than normal function.

“Your thyroid is kind of like an internal metronome, it helps your body stay in sync,’’ says Dr. Thurman. “It regulates everything from your heart rate, your internal temperature and overall metabolism.”

When it’s working like it should, you probably don’t even notice. When it’s off, you’ll likely know it. Your thyroid regulates many of your body’s internal functions. When your thyroid is not working properly, there are several signs that can occur. But with healthy food choices, you can ensure proper thyroid health.

She explains that some signs to look for if your thyroid is hypoactive:

  • Severe fatigue
  • Very dry skin
  • Constipation
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Cold intolerance

Signs your thyroid is hyperactive:

  • High heart rate or heart racing
  • Diarrhea
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Heat intolerance

“The good news is that you can do some things to help promote thyroid health,’’ says Dr. Thurman. “A lot of that is tied to what you eat. You want to reduce inflammation in your diet and include more vegetables and fruit.”

She suggests a Mediterranean-type diet to help reduce inflammation in your body and including four to five servings of vegetables per day, three to four servings of fruit, and plenty of lean protein such as chicken and fish. Healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, and avocados are also healthy options.

“You also want to avoid processed foods,’’ says Dr. Thurman. “They are often high in refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and trans fats and can increase inflammation which can increase the risk of autoimmune flare ups including thyroid disease.”

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