By Sunil Gupta, MD, FACC
Premier Heart and Vascular Center, Wesley Chapel
In our previous article, we’ve established how profound an effect the thyroid gland has on cardiovascular health. We’ve discussed how thyroid dysfunction and thyroid disease can be detrimental to your heart.
Now, we’ll discuss how you can prevent thyroid disease and what treatment options exist for hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
How to Prevent Thyroid Disease
According to the American Thyroid Association (ATA), more than 12 percent of the entire population of the United States develops a thyroid condition at some point in their life. Around 20 million Americans have a thyroid disease at the moment, and as many as 60 percent of people are unaware that they have thyroid problems. We’ve already discussed how the symptoms of this disease tend to appear in people as they age, which is why it’s hard to connect them to the condition.
However, that doesn’t make the disease any less problematic, so you need to try your best to prevent it effectively reducing your risk of cardiovascular problems that tend to come with it.
Here are the things that you can do to prevent thyroid disease:
- If you are a smoker, quit smoking. This not only lowers your chance of developing thyroid disease but also many other health issues, including those of a cardiovascular nature.
- Eat less soy. The popular ingredient is not necessarily unhealthy, but it is controversial, especially when we consider thyroid health.
- Ask for a thyroid collar during x-rays to protect your thyroid gland from radiation exposure.
- Consider selenium supplements. Selenium is a nutrient found in specific proteins, and it has a vital role in keeping your thyroid gland healthy. If your diet is healthy, you’re already taking enough selenium. Still, you may consider increasing your selenium intake to boost your immune system and decrease symptoms of hypothyroidism.
- Visit your doctor regularly. Regular checkups are not only good for your overall health but also your thyroid health.
Thyroid Disease Treatment Options
As thyroid disease can manifest as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, there are two distinct treatment options.
Bear in mind that thyroid disease is a lifelong condition, but with careful management, a person can still lead a healthy and normal life.
- Hypothyroidism is more common, and may be treated with levothyroxine, a synthetic hormone that supplements your thyroid hormone production.
- Hyperthyroidism is rare and more challenging to treat. Careful drug therapy is needed to block excess hormone production, and radiotherapy may be required to disable the gland. Sometimes thyroid surgery is necessary.
Whichever form of thyroid disease you have, you will discuss treatment with your doctor, who will determine the exact treatment you need.
If you want to know more about thyroid problems and their connection to cardiovascular health, feel free to contact us.