Summer and the thyroid gland: what risks should be considered?

In Russia, in the last 10 years, the number of people with thyroid diseases has been steadily increasing. In this summer, many Russians traditionally go to rest to the sea and the hot sun. How do thyroid diseases and passion for tanning “like a chocolate bar”? What dangers summer threatens such patients and who should give up hot countries in favor of the resorts of temperate latitudes.

Thyroid and its hormones

The thyroid hormones are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxin (T4). Their production is regulated by thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which is produced by the pituitary gland. According to the level of these hormones in the blood, doctors determine the state of the thyroid gland.

It is believed that   hormones   thyroid – the widest, so to speak. Unlike other body hormones, they act not on the specific cells of a particular tissue, but on all the cells of the body and on their organelles. Also, the work of so many important enzymes largely depends on the thyroid hormones. They are involved in protein metabolism (anabolic processes, that is, protein synthesis) and in lipid (catabolic processes, that is, lipid breakdown). Indirectly regulate carbohydrate metabolism, water-salt balance, heart function and vascular tone.

Thus, any failure of the thyroid gland affects the work of the whole organism and the tone of all its organs and systems.

Thyroid before birth

The thyroid gland in the fetus begins to work from the 10th week after conception, and from the 14th week it already produces thyroid hormones with might and main. At the moment when the thyroid gland of the fetus has already earned, and the mother’s thyroid gland is still producing hormones “for two” – you may even experience hyperthyroidism in pregnant women.

Problems of diagnosis of diseases of the thyroid gland

Diseases of the thyroid gland are not immediately detected. Their symptoms are quite general in nature and can be taken for a long time for manifestations of fatigue, stress, etc. At the same time, against the background of a disturbance in the production of hormones, the processes of sclerosis of blood vessels that supply blood to the heart and brain are accelerated.

In older patients, manifestations of the disease are often considered the usual age-related changes. These include the reduction of psycho-emotional functions, impaired thermoregulation of the body up to cold intolerance, problems with the work of the gastrointestinal tract and the development of constipation, increased cholesterol in the blood, weight gain, a tendency to anemia, etc.

These symptoms can mask serious changes in the state of the cardiovascular system, lipid metabolism disorders, which increases the risk of developing heart failure. And given that thyroid hormones are involved in the regulation of osteogenesis, it is not surprising that if their synthesis is violated, the threats of osteopenia and osteoporosis increase significantly, especially in postmenopausal age-related women.

Seasonal hypothyroidism

Doctors have such a thing as “subclinical   hypothyroidism. This diagnosis is made if a person has a slightly elevated level of TSH on the background of normal T3 and T4, and there are no other symptoms of hypothyroidism (fatigue, overweight, etc.).

That is, if the function of the thyroid gland is slightly impaired, the pituitary gland begins to produce more TSH to activate the production of thyroid hormones to normal levels. Often   subclinical hypothyroidism   is an early stage of hypothyroidism, and then this condition is treated by the appointment of hormones – this allows you to prevent the progression of the disease and the development of complications.

In 2013, South Korean scientists from Seoul National University found that the production of thyroid hormones depends on the season, and this is due to seasonal fluctuations in thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. During the observations of more than 30 thousand people, it turned out that the level of TSH increases in winter and spring, and decreases in summer. Moreover, in 58% of people with subclinical hypothyroidism, the TSH values ​​returned to normal in warm weather. And at the onset of cold weather, 4.3% of people with initially normal thyroid function were diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism.

Scientists believe that such variations in TSH depending on the temperature outside – the body’s adaptation to cold: it increases the dose of hormones, thereby forcing the body to produce more heat. That is, winter does not affect the thyroid gland, but the pituitary gland that regulates its work.

The data obtained, firstly, suggest that the final diagnosis of the health status of the thyroid gland must be made based on the results of hormone analyzes at different times of the year: in summer and in winter.

And secondly, people with thyroid diseases who take hormones as part of replacement therapy should take into account that in summer the dose of hormones needed by the body may slightly decrease, and in winter, on the contrary, increase. But, of course, you need to change the dosage only after discussion with your doctor.

Sunburn and thyroid

What happens when we tan? The body is exposed to ultraviolet radiation and elevated temperature.

Doctors are categorically opposed to an abrupt change of climate, trips to the sea and a long stay under the sun with the diagnosis “thyroid cancer” or “thyroid adenoma”. People with these diseases are better confined to temperate latitudes and cooler seas. It is also not recommended to plan summer trips to hot countries with hyperthyroidism, when hormone production is increased.

When hypothyroidism such restrictions are not set, but you must follow a number of recommendations:

  • sunbathe better in the shade, and not under the direct rays of the sun;
  • it is better to go to the beach only in the morning or evening when the sun is not so hot;
  • Be sure to use sunscreen, and apply them not only on the thyroid gland, but also on the whole body.

If there are nodes in the thyroid gland, the issue of summer trips should be discussed with the doctor. Thus, the presence of fast-growing nodes is also a contraindication to beach holidays on the southern seas.

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