The Connection Between Stress and Autoimmune Thyroid Disorders
Stress and autoimmune thyroid disorders (AITDs) have been linked for decades. Studies have found that stress and other psychosocial factors can potentially contribute to AITDs, as well as to their exacerbation. Though the exact mechanism of how this connection works isn’t yet understood, it’s clear that managing stress can be an important part of managing AITDs. Here’s some information about the connection between stress and AITDs, as well as some actionable tips for managing anxiety and reducing symptoms and health concerns.
The Link Between Stress and Autoimmune Thyroid Disorders
Common autoimmune thyroid disorders such as Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can be triggered or exacerbated by various forms of stress. This stress can be physical, mental, or even psychological. Stress can influence hormone levels such as cortisol and adrenaline, as well as potentially triggering an immune system response that might lead to inflammation and AITDs. In addition, stress can interfere with the body’s digestive functions, a key factor in AITDs.
Tips for Managing Anxiety and Reducing Symptoms and Health Concerns
Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to help reduce the impact of stress on AITDs and improve your overall thyroid health. Here are some tips for managing anxiety and reducing symptoms and health concerns:
- Get regular exercise. Exercise can be an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, exercise helps to balance hormones, improve circulation, and boost your immune system—all important factors when managing autoimmune thyroid disorders.
- Practice relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and mindfulness can be helpful in reducing stress. In particular, yoga and meditation can be beneficial for both body and mind.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Eating a healthy, balanced diet filled with fresh fruits and vegetables is essential for managing AITDs. Additionally, focusing on anti-inflammatory foods can help to reduce inflammation in the body. Avoid sugary and processed foods, as these can aggravate AITDs.
- Get plenty of rest. Getting sufficient rest is key when managing any illness, including AITDs. Make sure you’re getting enough hours of sleep at night and taking adequate rest periods during the day.
The connection between stress and autoimmune thyroid disorders is real and it’s important to take steps to manage stress in order to reduce the symptoms and health concerns associated with AITDs. By getting regular exercise, practicing relaxation techniques, eating a healthy diet, and getting sufficient rest, you can help to manage your AITDs and improve your overall wellbeing.