A staggering ten million Americans have some form of thyroid deficiency. Most of the time, the symptoms present themselves as relatively minor, so many people walk around for years without realizing they have it. One of the most popular conditions affecting at least 10% of women today is hypothyroidism. In my practice, I find more than 30 % of my female patients have symptoms of hypothyroidism. One reason may be because the butterfly-looking gland surrounding the trachea does not produce enough hormones to properly regulate cellular metabolism of all tissues and organs.
Some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, low body temperature, loss of hair or course hair, dry skin, cold hands and feet, depression, constipation, rapid weight gain, memory loss, irritability, and even a partial thinning of the eyebrows. Symptoms may present themselves as completely innocuous at first, but may gradually worsen over time if not taken seriously.
In order to diagnose hypothyroidism, your health care provider first needs to conduct a battery of tests to determine if your thyroid is functioning properly. The Thyroid Panel includes usually three tests- TSH, T3 and T4. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is produced by the pituitary gland and this test determines whether or not your thyroid is getting stimulated enough to produce healthy hormone levels. Free T3 and Free T4 levels indicate the two hormones made by the thyroid gland. T3 stands for Triiodothyronine (active hormone) and T4 is for Thyronine (inactive hormone). Our thyroid gland naturally produces higher levels of T4 than T3. Once T4 circulates in the blood, it needs to convert into the active form T3 in the liver and other tissues. T3 is the active hormone that is capable of binding to the thyroid receptors to stimulating cellular function and metabolism. Everything in our body works better with optimal metabolism and temperature.
Most doctors stop here with their lab requisitions, but I ask for additional tests because I am finding more and more people with an undiagnosed autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. To the typical Thyroid Panel, I add two extra tests, which checks for levels of antibodies to thyroglobulin and thyroperoxidase. If these tests indicate high levels, your practitioner should be evaluating you further, specifically for autoimmune conditions of the thyroid gland as well as to evaluate conditions regarding thyroid cancer.
The problem is, many people with an underactive thyroid go undiagnosed because there are so many subclinical cases. The blood levels of thyroid hormone levels may look normal even though the patient clearly has many of the symptoms indicating low thyroid function. I often find that some cases of hypothyroidism are due to inactivation of the thyroid receptor sites, contributed by heavy metals, mycotoxins, xenobiotics and other hormones such as estrogens. I find that cleansing the body of these toxins can “reboot” and resensitize these receptors to increase the affinity of T3 and restore your metabolism necessary for optimal health. BTW- adrenal function also needs to be evaluated concurrently with the thyroid!
Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are the opinions of Dr. Susanne Bennett unless otherwise noted. The information on this blog is not intended as personalized medical advice and is not intended to replace the relationship that you have with your primary care provider. Any decisions you make with regard to your daily choices and medical treatments should be made with the help of a qualified health care provider.