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Can Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Affect Thyroid Health?

We all experience stress in our daily lives. Though stress is usually associated with negative connotations, it can sometimes be beneficial. Acute stress, for example, can help us escape a dangerous situation or give us the extra boost we need to meet a deadline. There are some people who experience chronic stress on a long-term basis, which can last for many weeks, months, or even years. 

Chronic stress can be caused by daily routines, sudden or difficult life changes, or emotional trauma. Sometimes, emotional trauma can lead to chronic conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The purpose of this article is to discuss how trauma, stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder can affect your thyroid function with the help of clinical evidence. In addition, you can buy Synthroid online to manage your thyroid health.

How Does Stress or PTSD Impact Hormones in the Body?

When we are stressed or have post traumatic stress disorder, we release corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) from the hypothalamus in the brain. The hormone travels to the pituitary gland in your brain. This is where CRH instructs the pituitary to release adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). Upon entering your bloodstream, ACTH travels to your kidneys, where it stimulates your adrenal glands to release epinephrine and cortisol. Epinephrine is a short-acting stress hormone that spikes during stressful situations. Cortisol is a longer-acting stress hormone that helps the body cope with daily stressors. Also, it spikes during stressful periods or chronic stress. Other functions of cortisol in the body include:

  • Inflammation prevention
  • Keeping blood glucose levels in check
  • Getting enough energy for the brain and muscles

It is possible for the body to adapt to temporary increases in cortisol levels. Chronic stress, however, prevents cortisol from functioning properly for unknown reasons. A second axis plays a role in the body’s physiological stress response. Hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis is the primary feedback loop for thyroid hormone regulation. The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) to regulate thyroid hormones. Your pituitary gland releases thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) when TRH stimulates it. Your thyroid gland releases thyroid hormone in response to TSH. Your hypothalamus and pituitary gland work together to regulate your body’s overall stress response and thyroid hormone production.

What Is the Link Between PTSD and Thyroid Problems?

Chronic stress contributes to inflammatory autoimmune diseases by impairing cortisol production. Autoimmune disorder is the most common thyroid disorder. There are two types: Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Graves’ disease results in an overactive thyroid, while Hashimoto’s causes an underactive thyroid. Despite the fact that stress alone can’t cause thyroid disorders, it can worsen them.

According to a 2016 study published in PubMed Central, PTSD increases the risk of developing autoimmune disorders, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the primary cause of hypothyroidism in the United States and one of the most prevalent autoimmune conditions worldwide.

According to the study, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder are more likely to develop thyroiditis (and other autoimmune disorders) than those without this condition. Their theory stated that chronic stress may contribute to an autoimmune disease by:

  • Interfering with the HPA axis (hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis is a vital body system that regulates hormonal balance and stress response)
  • Increasing the inflammation 
  • Changing the immune system’s function

Women are generally more likely to develop autoimmune disorders than men. However, both men and women are at risk of autoimmune disease when they have PTSD.

A 2019 study published in PubMed Central based on data from 45,992 civilian (non-military) women examined the connection between trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and thyroid dysfunction in women from 1989 to 2013. The researchers found a strong association between PTSD and an increased risk of hypothyroidism dose-dependently. However, no such association was observed with Graves’ hyperthyroidism. These findings suggest the importance of increased awareness of thyroid dysfunction, particularly in women with PTSD.

Another study published in PubMed Central in 2021 examined the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and hypothalamic–pituitary–thyroid axis in individuals one year after surviving an earthquake. There was a significant increase in cortisol levels following the earthquake compared to before. As a result, TSH levels were reduced, and thyroid hormone levels were increased. In the study, it was concluded that the HPA is activated for a long period after a stressful event. Due to this, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis recruits the hypothalamic–pituitary–thyroid axis to help manage the stress response, resulting in thyroid dysfunction.

How to Manage Stress with Thyroid Problems?

Everyone needs to manage their stress, whether they deal with a medical condition or just want to stay healthy. However, those with thyroid conditions should pay special attention to stress reduction. You can reduce stress in different ways, especially if you have thyroid problems:

1. Take Your Vitamins

Stress management is made possible by certain vitamins. B-complex vitamins, which contain B vitamins and magnesium, are among the most popular stress-busters. Those who suffer from thyroid problems should take these vitamins even more frequently. Hypothyroid patients often suffer from B12 deficiency, and supplementation may improve symptoms. It has also been reported that thyroid dysfunction can be caused by magnesium deficiency. According to a 2019 review of 18 studies by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, supplementation with vitamin B can reduce stress among healthy and at-risk individuals. 

The relationship between B vitamins and mental health was also examined in another study published in PubMed Central in 2021 that involved more than 7,000 adults. The study found that higher biotin intake is associated with lower stress, depression, and anxiety. You will also be more vulnerable to stress if you take less vitamin B6. Vitamins B1, B3, and B5, and Folic acid are also associated with decreased anxiety. 

2. Get Enough Sleep

Stress can keep you awake at night, ruminating over everything you need to accomplish or should complete or how little time you have left. Having hypothyroidism can already result in irregular sleep patterns, so stress certainly doesn’t help. Ensure that you get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. According to the American Psychological Association, adults who sleep less than eight hours a night report higher stress levels than those who sleep at least eight hours. Practice a relaxing bedtime routine and keep your room cool, dark, and comfortable. One hour before going to bed, you might consider turning off all electronics and avoiding caffeine and alcohol. 

3. Eat Nutritious Food

The most nutritious foods are those that are as close to their natural state as possible (think fruits, fish, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and eggs). You can cope with stress and build resilience by getting the right nutrition for your body. To support the thyroid, hypothyroidism patients should consume enough iodine in their diet. Among the best dietary sources of iodine are iodized table salt, eggs, dairy products, tuna, seaweed, and cod. According to a 2021 study published in Clinical Nutrition from Edith Cowan University in Australia, the stress levels of 8,600 participants who consumed at least 470 grams of fruit and vegetables daily were 10% lower than those who consumed less than 230 grams. The study suggests that diets rich in fruit and vegetables are linked to mental well-being. 

4. Exercise Regularly

Exercising regularly may increase a person’s ability to cope with stress. Your muscles can become weak, achy, and stiff when you don’t produce enough thyroid hormone. Movement reduces stress hormone levels and stimulates the production of endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood elevators, according to Harvard Medical School. Also, don’t overcomplicate it. There are plenty of benefits to be derived from a 20-minute walk. As per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, regular aerobic exercise reduces overall tension levels, elevates and stabilizes mood, improves sleep, and improves self-esteem. 

5. Practice Relaxation

Everyone’s way of de-stressing is unique, and there are different things you can do to relax. Making time to relax can be as simple as rock climbing, meditation, or taking a bath. Your symptoms may dictate which de-stress activities you need on different days – for example, yoga when you’re feeling good and extra naps when you’re feeling unwell. In some cases, yoga won’t make a difference in a genuinely stressful situation. It is essential that thyroid patients prioritize their health. Consider making a change to your overall health and well-being if a situation under your control causes you undue stress. 

6. Reach Out to Your Friend

More people are working from home, and our interactions are shifting to virtual platforms, so social networks are more important than ever. Seeing your BFF is protective of both your physical and mental health. You can reap incredible health benefits from spending time with those you love. Having positive social connections can reduce stress levels, reduce inflammation in the body, increase longevity, and reduce anxiety and depression. A positive face-to-face interaction can ignite an emotional and physical spiral of well-being. It may be helpful to turn to a trusted person for support when you are stressed. You might try a friend, a family member, a therapist, a support group, a coworker, or a religious institution if you can’t find a friend. When you need help, don’t be afraid to ask. 

7. Practice Mindfulness

Stress can be reduced by practicing mindfulness. In mindfulness meditation, your attention is trained to achieve a state of calm, concentration and positive emotions. There are two main components: attention and acceptance. The attention component involves tuning into your experiences in order to pay attention to what is happening now. It involves focusing your attention on your breath, your thoughts, the physical sensations in your body, and your feelings. Acceptance involves observing those feelings and sensations without judgment. Rather than reacting to those thoughts or feelings, you want to note them and let them go. According to the American Psychological Association, mindfulness meditation can improve mental and physical health, as well as reduce stress.  

How Synthroid Helps Manage Thyroid Health?

Synthroid tablets (levothyroxine) are a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4), which is produced naturally by the thyroid gland. It works by supplementing or replacing the insufficient levels of thyroid hormones in individuals with hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. Once ingested, it is absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and converted into its active form, triiodothyronine (T3), which plays a crucial role in regulating metabolism, energy production, and overall body function. 

Providing the body with the necessary thyroid hormones helps restore normal thyroid function, alleviating symptoms associated with an underactive thyroid, such as fatigue, weight gain, and cold sensitivity. It is essential for individuals taking the drug to adhere to prescribed dosages and undergo regular monitoring to ensure optimal thyroid health. If you are suffering from underactive thyroid glands, you can buy Synthroid online from Polar Bear Meds, the best Canadian online pharmacy. We offer genuine medications at the most discounted prices delivered to your doorstep.

To Sum Up

The complex connection between stress, trauma, and thyroid health highlights the importance of complete care for individuals with post traumatic stress disorder. Chronic stress, often associated with PTSD, can impact hormone regulation, specifically the HPA and HPT axes, leading to thyroid dysfunction. Clinical evidence suggests a higher risk of autoimmune thyroid disorders, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, among the patients. Managing stress is paramount for individuals with thyroid issues, emphasizing the significance of a holistic approach to well-being. 

Synthroid, a synthetic thyroid hormone, plays a crucial role in restoring thyroid balance by supplementing deficient hormones. Alongside medication, adopting stress-management strategies, including nutrition, sleep, exercise, and social support, is vital for promoting overall health. By understanding these interconnections, people can manage the complexities of thyroid health with informed and proactive self-care

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