Hyperthyroidism is a common condition, which affects the thyroid gland. In this, the thyroid gland makes an excess of the thyroid hormone. This condition is also known as an "overactive thyroid". Treatment can control and cure the symptoms, but currently, there are no known ways to prevent hyperthyroidism.
Some measures that may probably help to prevent thyroid disease include:
- Quit smoking: Research suggests that people, who smoke, are more likely to develop Graves' disease and Graves' ophthalmopathy than non-smokers. Cigarette smoke has several toxins,mainly thiocyanate, which are especially harmful for the thyroid gland. These toxins can trigger thyroid disease in susceptible people. Therefore, in addition to all the other health problems that are caused by smoking, it can increase the risk and worsen existing thyroid disease.
- Avoid excess soy: Soy is a good food, but excess intake of soy has been linked to increased risk of thyroid disease. Excess of unnatural forms of soy (such as soy powders, pills, smoothies, soy patties and potions) may injure your immune system and trigger thyroid problems. Intake of natural forms of soy such as tofu, tempeh, miso soup etc in moderation is good and acceptable, but remember to stay away from excess soy as it may actually ruin your health.
Some measures that help to improve symptoms of hyperthyroidism:
- Take your medications: If you are given antithyroid drugs (such as propylthiouracil and methimazole), they have to be taken for at least a year and often longer. These medications gradually reduce the symptoms by preventing the thyroid gland from producing excess amount of hormones. Symptoms improve in most patients in six to 12 weeks. It may cure the problem permanently in some, but many people may experience a relapse of symptoms in a few months to years. Taking antithyroid drugs at the recommended dose and duration is needed for effective control of symptoms. Taking beta blockers as recommended is also essential. These drugs do not reduce the level of thyroid hormone, but are useful to treat rapid heart rate and prevent palpitations caused because of excess thyroid hormones. Hence, they may be given until your thyroid hormone levels are closer to normal. Be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendations for all your medications.
- Follow-up regularly: Regular follow-ups are recommended for people on treatment for hyperthyroidism. Your doctor may examine you and assess the effectiveness of treatment and modify it if needed.
- Try relaxation: In hyperthyroid patients, a relaxed lifestyle and abstinence from high iodine intake may help to control the symptoms.