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What are the complications of hypothyroidism? Complications of hypothyroidism include: • goiter • nerve injury • peripheral neuropathy • carpal tunnel syndrome • reduced kidney function, in cases of severe disease • myxedema coma, in cases of severe disease • obstructive sleep apnea Hypothyroidism can also result in infertility or pregnancy-related complications such as preeclampsia. Find out more about the complications of hypothyroidism. Are there special dietary recommendations for people with hypothyroidism? As a general rule, people with hypothyroidism don’t have a specific diet they should follow. However, here are some recommendations to keep in mind. Eat a balanced diet Your thyroid needs adequate amounts of iodine in order to fully function, but you don’t need to take an iodine supplement for that to happen. A balanced diet of whole grains, beans, lean proteins, and colorful fruits and vegetables should provide enough iodine. Discover other iodine-rich foods. Monitor your soy intake Soy may hinder the absorption of thyroid hormones. If you drink or eat too many soy products, you may not be able to properly absorb your medication. It’s especially important that caregivers monitor the soy intake of infants who need hypothyroidism treatment and also drink soy formula. Soy is found in: • tofu • vegan cheese and meat products • soy milk • soybeans • soy sauce You need steady doses of the medication to achieve even levels of thyroid hormone in your blood. Avoid eating or drinking soy-based foods for at least 4 hours before and after you take your medication. Be smart with fiber Like soy, fiber may interfere with hormone absorption. Too much dietary fiber may prevent your body from getting the hormones it needs. Fiber is vital, so don’t avoid it entirely. Instead, avoid taking your medicine within several hours of eating high fiber foods. Don’t take thyroid medication with other supplements If you take supplements or medications in addition to thyroid medications, try to take them at different times. Other medications can interfere with absorption, so it’s best to take your thyroid medication on an empty stomach and without other medications or foods. The bottom line Being diagnosed with hypothyroidism doesn’t mean you’ll have to follow a strict diet, although a few adjustments may be necessary. Create a hypothyroidism diet plan with these tips. What are some tips for coping with hypothyroidism? Even if you’re undergoing treatment, you may deal with long-lasting issues or complications because of the condition. However, there are ways to lessen the effect of hypothyroidism on your quality of life. Monitor for other health conditions There’s a link between other autoimmune diseases and hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism often goes along with other conditions, such as: • celiac disease • diabetes • rheumatoid arthritis (RA) • lupus • disorders affecting the adrenal gland • pituitary problems Develop fatigue coping strategies Despite taking medication, you may still experience fatigue from time to time. To help you combat low energy levels, it’s important that you: • get quality sleep each night • eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables • consider the use of stress-relieving mechanisms, such as meditation and yoga Talk it out Having a chronic medical condition can be difficult, especially if it’s accompanied by other health concerns. Find people you can openly express your feelings and experiences to. This can be a therapist, close friend, family member, or a support group of other people living with this condition. Many hospitals sponsor meetings for people with conditions such as hypothyroidism. Ask for a recommendation from your hospital’s education office, and attend a meeting. You may be able to connect with people who understand exactly what you’re experiencing and can offer a guiding hand. Learn more about how hypothyroidism can affect your relationships. What’s the connection between hypothyroidism and depression? When levels of thyroid hormones are low, your body’s natural functions slow down and lag. This causes a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, and even depression. A 2016 studyTrusted Source found that 60 percent of people with hypothyroidism exhibited some symptoms of depression. Some people with hypothyroidism may only experience mood difficulties. This can make diagnosing hypothyroidism difficult. Instead of only treating the brain, doctors should also consider testing for and treating an underactive thyroid. Depression and hypothyroidism share several symptoms. These include: • fatigue • weight gain • depressed mood • reduced desire and satisfaction • difficulty concentrating • sleep difficulties The two conditions also have symptoms that may distinguish them from one another. For hypothyroidism, problems such as dry skin, constipation, high cholesterol, and hair loss are common. For depression alone, these conditions wouldn’t be expected. Depression is often a diagnosis made based on symptoms and medical history. Low thyroid function is diagnosed with a physical exam and blood tests. To see if there’s a link between your depression and your thyroid function, your doctor can order these tests for a definitive diagnosis. If your depression is caused only by hypothyroidism, correcting the hypothyroidism should treat the depression. If it doesn’t, your doctor may prescribe medications for both conditions. They’ll slowly adjust your doses until your depression and hypothyroidism come under control. Explore the link between thyroid conditions and depression here. What’s the connection between hypothyroidism and anxiety? While hypothyroidism has long been associated with depression, a 2016 studyTrusted Source indicates it may be associated with anxiety too. Researchers evaluated 100 people between the ages of 18 and 45 years old who have a known history of hypothyroidism. Using an anxiety questionnaire, they found that around 63 percent of them met the criteria for some form of anxiety. Research to date has consisted of small studies. Larger and more focused studies on anxiety may help determine if a true connection exists between hypothyroidism and anxiety. It’s important for you and your doctor to discuss all your symptoms when being evaluated for thyroid conditions. What’s the effect of hypothyroidism on pregnancy? Women who have hypothyroidism and wish to become pregnant face a particular set of challenges. Low thyroid function or uncontrolled hypothyroidism during pregnancy can cause: • anemia • miscarriage • preeclampsia • stillbirth • low birth weight • brain development problems • birth defects If you have hypothyroidism and are pregnant, it’s important to take the following steps during the time you’re expecting: Talk to your doctor about testing Women can develop hypothyroidism while they’re pregnant. Some doctors routinely check thyroid levels during pregnancy to monitor for low thyroid hormone levels. If your levels are lower than they should be, your doctor may suggest treatment. Some women who never had thyroid problems before they were pregnant may develop them after having a baby. This is called postpartum thyroiditis. For many women, the condition resolves within 12 to 18 months, and medication is no longer required. Approximately 20 percent of women with postpartum thyroiditis will go on to require long-term therapy. Stay up to date with your medication Continue to take your medication as prescribed. It’s common to have frequent testing so your doctor can make any necessary adjustments to your thyroid medication as your pregnancy progresses. This ensures that the baby is getting enough thyroid hormone for organ development. Eat well Your body needs more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals while you’re pregnant. Eating a well-balanced diet and taking multivitamins while pregnant can help you maintain a healthy pregnancy. The bottom line Women with thyroid problems can and very often do have healthy pregnancies. Find out more about the effect of hypothyroidism on fertility and pregnancy. What’s the connection between hypothyroidism and weight gain? Your thyroid is responsible for many of your body’s daily functions, including metabolism, organ function, and temperature control. When your body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, all of these functions can slow down. If your thyroid gland doesn’t function properly, your basal metabolic rate may be low. For that reason, an underactive thyroid is commonly associated with weight gain. The more severe the condition is, the greater your weight gain is likely to be. The typical amount of weight gain isn’t very high, though. Most people will gain somewhere between 5 and 10 pounds. Properly treating the condition can help you lose any weight you gained while your thyroid levels were uncontrolled. However, keep in mind that that’s not always the case. Symptoms of underactive thyroid, including weight gain, develop over a long period of time. It’s not uncommon for people with low thyroid hormone levels to lose no weight after they’re treated for the condition. That doesn’t mean the condition isn’t being properly treated. Instead, it may indicate that your weight gain was the result of lifestyle choices rather than low hormone levels.