18 Jan Thyroid Awareness Month: Prevention
January is Thyroid Awareness Month, and so we’re doing our part and exploring the intricacies of the thyroid.
Last week’s article (which you can read here) took a peek at the basic of the thyroid: the symptoms and health problems associated with it. Now we’re going to take a more in-depth look at how to prevent the onset of thyroid disease.
Thyroid Illness Prevention
Before Your Next X-Ray, Ask for a Thyroid Collar
Before you undergo an X-ray—especially at the dentist’s office, or any X-ray that scans anywhere from the waist on up—ask for a thyroid collar. 1
Thyroid collars look similar to the heavy, weighted bibs you get at a dentist’s office, except they cover—you guessed it—your neck.
Just like the “regular” dentist office bib, thyroid collars are heavy and lined with lead, which reduces how much radiation that area of your body received. Excessive amounts of radiation, unsurprisingly, can lead to thyroid cancer.
Smoking Cessation Resources
If you’re thinking about quitting smoking—and if you’re a smoker, you ought to!—the PHMP has a Three-Part series of Knowledgebase articles to help.
Smoking does terrible things to your body.
Spoiler alert: smoking can do terrible things to your thyroid health.
Aside from all the other nasty ickiness associated with smoking, cigarette smoke contains a chemical called thiocyanate, which disrupts iodine uptake, specifically affecting the thyroid by blocking the production of thyroid hormones. 2 3
Take it Easy on the Soy
Soy’s effect on the thyroid is linked to the treatment of hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is generally treated with a synthetic thyroid hormone, and soy has been thought to interfere with our body’s ability to process this medication.
But don’t toss all your soy products in a flaming dumpster quite yet—the research surrounding the link between soy and thyroid health is dubious and incomplete. To err on the side of safety, it may be a good idea to take your hypothyroidism medication at least one hour prior to eating soy products. Better safe than sorry, right?
Consider Selenium Supplements
Selenium is a nutrient, available in supplement form, that can play a critical role in thryoid hormone metabolism. Other potential health benefits include help with cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, cancer, and more. 7
- Brazil nuts: One ounce = 544mcg
- Tuna: Three ounces = 92mcg
- Baked halibut: Three ounces = 47mcg
- Cooked brown rice: One cup = 19mcg
- Eggs: One large egg = 15mcg
- White bread: One slice = 10mcg
Always Visit Your Doctor on the Regular
Checking in with your primary care provider is a good idea in general. And it’s an even better idea if you’re at risk for developing thyroid disease.
If you have a family history of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease, it’s especially important to disclose these facts to your PCP and be vigilant in watching out for thyroid disorders.