“I’ve always been told my thyroid is normal,” or “I’ve been on thyroid medication for years but I still don’t feel well.” Is your thyroid okay? That is a question that is asked of patients when they come in for hormone consultations and most of the time these are the responses we hear. In many cases their thyroid function is fine but often we find patients whose symptoms are partly due to problems with their thyroid function. Since every cell in the body depends on proper thyroid hormone levels in order to function optimally, the thyroid gland has many critical roles in the body, including balancing hormones. Our staff RN and BHRT Specialist, Anita Hester explains the importance of thyroid testing.
There are many symptoms of thyroid dysfunction. When someone has low function they may experience low body temperature, constipation, fatigue, hair loss, weight gain, depression, and mental fogginess to name a few. Signs of an overactive thyroid may be weight loss, hyperactivity, heart palpitations, heat intolerance and fatigue, among others. Some patients may even have hot flashes or night sweats. Many of the common hormonal imbalance symptoms that we hear about are the same as with thyroid imbalance problems.
There are two main schools of thought about thyroid problems in this country. The most common or conventional method of determining dysfunction is to look at blood levels of TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone. If it is determined that medication is needed then synthetic T4 thyroid hormone is prescribed. A more holistic approach considers patient symptoms as well as levels of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 along with TSH. The practitioner determines if there is a need for T4, T3, or both. Often both are needed and a natural combination of the two is prescribed.
The T4 hormone converts to the active T3 hormone which exerts a variety of effects on the body. Sometimes the body does not convert well and it is necessary to supplement with T3. Dr. David Brownstein is a well-known expert on thyroid problems and has written several books explaining why it is important to have a more holistic approach. You can find out more about Dr. David Brownstein at http://www.drbrownstein.com/
Problems with thyroid function can be a result of genetics, toxins, nutritional deficiencies, poor eating habits, autoimmune disease, trauma to the gland, viral infection, etc. It is important to have thyroid hormone levels checked regularly, drink plenty of water, avoid processed and high fat foods, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables (preferably organic), use iodized salt, avoid toxins, take a multivitamin containing zinc, selenium and iodine daily and protect your thyroid from injury and radiation exposure.
During a hormone consultation, thyroid levels are considered along with estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol and Vitamin D. Be watching for my next blog in which I will have more information on options for thyroid treatment, how it affects other hormones and why you may not be on the right thyroid medication.
For additional information on hormone testing or questions about your thyroid, give me a call at (901) 757-9434 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Comment below on what you’ve been told about your thyroid.