Hypothyroidism – Know the Symptoms of This Common Disease
by Dr Joseph Dubroff
Your thyroid plays a very important part in determining how fast or how slow your metabolism goes. As we reach late 30s and early 40s we may have to contend with an under-active thyroid to get the most out of our health and quality of life.
Keep in mind that that many people who seek out medical attention for this illness may not have their hypothyroid state uncovered. This could be due to inadequate testing and/or to a suboptimal thyroid function that is part of a larger hormonal imbalance-hence. In this case a larger hormonal assessment and treatment may be needed.
It is also important to understand that roughly 80% of hypothyroid is an autoimmune disease. This issue means your doctor should treat your immune function as well as your thyroid function.
Keep the Following in Mind:
If you have the common symptoms but your doctor tells you that your labs aren’t reflective of a thyroid problem it might be time for a second opinion from a holistically trained doctor. Without getting into depth about the state of thyroid lab tests it is common that thyroid assessments are not adequate to uncover all cases of hypothyroid.
So often people have all the symptoms of this disease but they are told by their doctor that their thyroid is fine. If you fit all the symptoms then it is time to locate a doctor that will run a larger battery of tests besides the common TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and T4.
A larger set of tests may include: the autoimmune TPO and TGA, free T3 and T4, reverse T3, thyroid index and finally a urine challenge for halogens and thyroid receptor resistance.
Some of the common symptoms of hypothyroidism are weight gain, fatigue, cold intolerance, thinning hair, constipation and drying skin. This is a common list of symptoms people experience the most but in actual time hypothyroidism can have issues across a wide array of health issues.
A Little More About the Thyroid:
The thyroid produces two hormones that are vital for your body’s healthy function. They are Triiodothyronine and Thyroxine, commonly referred to as T3 and T4. These two hormones have broad action throughout the body which enables optimal metabolic function.
Your metabolism is basically the sum total of all the chemical reactions in your body. A slow metabolism means your body is running sluggish and or tired. Maintaining a healthy metabolic rate in your body involves proper thyroid function as expressed by the output of T3 and T4. The failure of your thyroid to produce enough of these two hormones is called hypothyroidism and it is quite common in the United States.
Once again there may be other hormonal and/or immune issues that will affect your health and in so doing impact your metabolic function.
What Are Some of the Common Complaints that May Bring Me to See a Doctor
Hypothyroidism affects many aspects of life both in continued health and quality of life. I will here outline a few of the common issues.
Weight gain is a common problem with hypothyroidism. When the metabolism is sluggish this means it is easier to gain weight. You may be eating all the right foods in the right amounts and you may be doing regular exercise but for some reason you still can’t lose weight!
Often the individual will struggle to get through their day due to low energy. Chronic fatigue may take the entire spark out of life’s ambitions.
Labs may demonstrate changes in cholesterol levels which reflect upon cardiovascular health.
Someone with hypothyroid may struggle with loss of interests and poor moods.
Not Just a Hormonal Problem-What is My Immune System Up To?
In many cases autoimmune disease (aka Hashimoto’s disease) is the main culprit in causing hypothyroidism. Here the body’s immune system attacks their thyroid tissue. The immune system, if let untreated, will eventually damage this important gland, leaving a dependence on a thyroid hormone as the only option for the rest of this person’s life.
It is important in treatment to address normalizing the immune dysfunction as well as directly treating the thyroid gland. In the beginning stages of Hashimoto’s you may swing from a hyper to a hypo thyroid state. During the hyper state you might notice heart palpitations, anxiety and sudden nervous emotions, oily skin and diarrhea.
If in this beginning state you receive a hypothyroid diagnosis your doctor probably will put you on hormone which may at times be counterproductive as it turns out you may be already having times of excess thyroid hormone production. This is a very important distinction in designing an appropriate treatment plan.
Natural medical takes hypothyroid treatment to the next level. Treatments to lower autoimmune attacks balance the immune system, address a full hormonal management/replacement, clinical nutritional interventions geared at protecting thyroid conversion and regulating immune function are some of the approaches your holistic doctor will take. It’s not always simply replacing thyroid hormone.
Hypothyroidism can also be caused by low iodine levels, thyroid receptor resistance (halogen toxicity) issues at target tissues, pituitary disorder and congenital disease.
If you have not received optimal results from conventional treatments then there are natural hormonal treatments available to you.
Levothyroxine and Synthyroid are the common conventional prescription. You may find that natural hormonal selections such as Armour or other choices may produce better results.
The quicker you get diagnosed and treated for this problem the faster your life will improve. A healthy metabolism is vital to your overall well-being and it will be very hard to enjoy your life if it is malfunctioning.
(This article was written by Dr Joseph Dubroff of Holistic Solutions. Holistic Solution is a Naturopathic outpatient clinic that treats individuals with hormone imbalances, menopausal issues and chronic obesity. Please contact them if you have any questions or comments.)