On the occasion of Thyroid Awareness Month, a dermatologist explains how a thyroid disorder can affect the skin, nails and hair, as well as how certain home remedies can help.
New Delhi: Thyroid is a disorder that creeps up on you slowly. Just like diabetes, the symptoms of thyroid can be present for years before they become a cause of worry. Your dermatologist will be probably the first person to notice a problem associated with thyroid because it affects the skin, nails and hair early.
The thyroid gland plays an important role in regulating the heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature and regulates the body’s metabolism. In short, the proper functioning of the thyroid gland is essential for your proper being. Thyroid hormones are also essential for the growth and development of children. This Thyroid Awareness Month, which is observed in January, a dermatologist explains how the condition can cause problems to your skin, nail and hair.
There are two kinds of thyroid disorders – hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3) are two hormones produced by the thyroid glands, and it is the malfunction of these two hormones that cause various skin, nail and hair problems, such as the following:
- Dry, brittle, and/or thinning hair on the scalp and body. This happens because the malfunction of the thyroid gland causes the hair follicles to lose the nutrients.
- Dry and pale skin which is cool to touch or moist and warm skin like a baby
- Dry skin with cracks
- Deep lines on soles of feet
- More than normal sweating
- Wounds that take longer to heal
- Swollen eyelids, lips and tongue
- Dehydrated skin
- Random rashes
- Discoloured skin
- Flushing of the face
- Darker gums
- Missing eyebrow hair
- Balding patches on the scalp
- Itchy scalp and dandruff
- Brittle nails
- Nails that crumble easily
- Rounded nails with swollen skin
- Appearance of hives
- Itchy sensation under the skin
Thyroid disease is fast becoming a lifestyle disease and screening for thyroid should be included in your annual screen. When discovered early thyroid can be easily controlled and managed. If you have been losing or gaining weight for no known reason then it is also a red flag for thyroid.
Treatment and home remedies for thyroid disorders
The standard medical treatment for thyroid is daily medication. But instead of being solely dependent on medications you can also follow some simple home remedies to make sure that the thyroid levels remain normal in the body.
Exercise: The first home natural remedy is to exercise regularly. Find an exercise you like and can stick to it. It will help in restoring hormone imbalance and keep the weight under check. Exercising keeps the skin healthy too.
Apple cider vinegar: A known and popular home remedy for thyroid, apple cider vinegar helps balance the production of hormones and it improves the body’s metabolism. Apple cider vinegar does not work for everybody though, and it is not a substitute for medicine.
Dietary changes: Simple changes and inclusion in your diet can also help you keep the thyroid on a neutral level.
- Include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, animal-fed farm products in your diet as they are critical for the immune function and cell growth and thyroid function. Omega-3s also help improve the body cell’s ability to harness thyroid hormones.
- Vitamin D: Make sure that you get 15 minutes of good sunlight daily. It improves the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Low vitamin D levels can lead to hormone production disruption.
- Coconut oil: Include raw coconut oil in your diet for thyroid control
- Almonds, dairy products, and beans also help in normal thyroid function.
- Reduce sugar in your diet.
- Include lots of ginger in your diet. The antioxidants of ginger help balance the hormone level.
Keep stress away: Do not take your work tensions back home. Keep the stress away by learning to do relaxing breathing exercises.
Thyroid disease can be easily managed with a little effort from your side and regular check-up with the doctor.