- Stress can slow down metabolism and affect thyroid functioning
- Working overtime can put you at risk of hypothyroidism
- A healhty lifestyle can help in better management of thyroid
World Thyroid Day 2020 is observed on May 25. The thyroid gland situated in the front part of our neck. It produces thyroid hormone which is essential to various metabolic processes of the body. When your thyroid gland does not produce enough crucial hormones, it leads to a condition called Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Every organ in your body derives energy from the thyroid gland. It is responsible for controlling important functions of the body like heart beats and the digestive system. The body's natural functions begin to slow down without the right amount of thyroid hormones.
World Thyroid Day: How long hours of work can lead to hypothyroidism?
In a first of its kind study, led by principle investigator Young Ki Lee, MD of National Cancer Center in Goyang-si, South Korea, presented at ENDO 2020, The Endocrine Society Annual Meeting, it has been shown that long working hours are associated with hypothyroidism.
Long working hours, irrespective of the worker's socioeconomic status or gender makes people prone to developing symptoms of underactive thyroid gland. It was observed that people who worked 53-83 hours a week developed hypothyroidism at twice the rate than those who worked 36-42 hours a week. The reason behind this informative data has not been clarified because of it being a retrospective data, but stress induced due to long working hours can be one main reason.
Overwork is a prevalent problem threatening the health and safety of workers worldwide. The impact of stress on the thyroid occurs by slowing down body's metabolism. This condition also links to the fact that why stress can also cause weight gain. All the while, you may experience hypothyroid symptoms, such as fatigue or weight gain. This prolonged stress may crop up as depression or anxiety when both are actually hypothyroid symptoms. Also, when stressed, you're more vulnerable to autoimmune thyroid conditions.
In the Indian context, most of the office goers on an average work 40 hours a week, which keeps them at a lower risk as per the current study. But, certain segment of the population that works more than 50 hours a week, like medical professionals, people working from home, public transport drivers, business owners, and journalists are still at the risk zone of developing hypothyroidism, due to their stretched working hours.
You can treat most thyroid conditions with medication, but unfortunately, there's no pill to banish stress whether it is induced by long working hours or other factors. Therefore, the goal should be to manage your stress by getting your body and mind back in balance. You can do this by making little lifestyle changes that have major impacts. Start by trying a mind-body therapy, such as yoga or meditation.
(Dr. S.K. Wangnoo - Sr. Consultant Endocrinologist, Apollo Centre for Obesity, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi)
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