Importance of Thyroid Health
Thyroid issues affect 12 million people in America and many are not receiving the help they need to feel good. Under-functioning thyroids can cause fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, constipation and poor temperature regulation. Under-functioning or hypothyroid conditions affect about 10 million Americans, while over-functioning or hyperthyroidism affects roughly 6 million Americans.
Physicians tend to look at signs and symptoms. For an under-functioning thyroid, signs could be cold hands and feet, thinning or brittle hair, constipation, dry skin, dry mucus membranes and loss of the outer edges of the eyebrows (also called Queen Anne’s sign). A doctor will order labs to check TSH, and maybe Free T4 and/or Free T3. Naturopaths are taught to check five to six different labs. A functional medicine specialist will check 10 labs—TSH, Total and Free T4, Total and Free T3, TPO, TGA, Reverse T3, selenium and iodine.
For an over-functioning thyroid, signs could include increased or irregular heart rate, pressure behind the eyes, increased blood pressure, unexpected weight loss, sweating and irritability. It is best to check all 10 versus the standard five labs, yet there may still be other labs to run. These lab values are checked against certain physical exam findings.
Iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism, while over exposure to iodine can cause hyperthyroidism, so it is important to not overdo one’s intake of iodine, kelp or seaweed. Inflammation of the gland can cause hyperthyroid symptoms, and benign tumors can overly stimulate the thyroid, causing swelling which can lead to excess T4 and/or T3 to leak out of the gland. Both conditions can be treated with herbs. Medicines are given, but many times by including alternative treatments, a more satisfactory outcome can be achieved.
Dr. DeeAnn G. Saber is a Naturopathic Doctor at Transformational Medicine PLLC. She has treated hundreds of thyroid patients and personally knows multiple ways to feel great even with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s. Connect at 520-209-1755, [email protected] or 3861WellnessFirst.com. See ad, page 2.