Worried the symptoms you are experiencing are the result of an underlying thyroid disorder?
May is international thyroid awareness month which is an opportunity for everyone to learn more about the thyroid…and WHY healing a thyroid issue could be the key to reclaiming your health and happiness.
Hypothyroidism: Health and Happiness
If you are sick and tired of being unwell you may want to take a closer look at your thyroid.
You see, the small butterfly-shaped thyroid gland located at the base of the neck may be small, but it produces hormones that play a powerful role in maintaining our physical and emotional well-being.
In fact, the thyroid is a key player within the endocrine system, a complex system of glands that release hormones to fine tune a range of vital activities within the body.
What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism occurs when there is low production, or reduced activity of life-sustaining thyroid hormones.
According to the American Thyroid Association an estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, women are five to eight times more likely than men to suffer thyroid problems, and up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.
Furthermore, the most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This is a complex autoimmune thyroid disease that occurs when the immune system produces antibodies that specifically attack the thyroid gland.
The Two Early Warning Signs Of Hypothyroidism
Did you know it’s widely accepted the two main warning signs of thyroid dysfunction are FATIGUE and FEELING COLD all the time?
Given the central role of thyroid hormones on overall health, hypothyroidism also causes a host of other symptoms that may be mild to severe.
Other symptoms to look for include; stubborn weight gain, muscle weakness, brain fog, muddled thinking, low blood pressure, slow pulse rate, decreased libido, dry skin and hair, poor immunity, lowered fertility, ongoing constipation, and significant hair loss from all over the scalp.
Mood changes such as irritability, anxiety, and depression are also associated with hypothyroidism.
If You Suspect Hypothyroidism It’s Time To Seek Help
Unfortunately, when the thyroid is not working properly the effects can be life changing.
Be aware that hypothyroidism is a serious endocrine disorder that often causes a steady decline in health, and can easily lead to chronic health problems.
For this reason, if you or someone you know suspects they are experiencing problems with an underactive thyroid it’s vital to get the help you need.
What You Need To Know About Diagnosing A Thyroid Problem
One of the biggest issues with hypothyroidism is that it’s underdiagnosed. It could be that doctors don’t investigate properly, or it’s just that the symptoms of hypothyroidism are so vague.
It’s all too common for doctors to blame thyroid problems on pregnancy, and hormonal shifts associated with pregnancy or menopause/andropause, or simply the consequence of getting older.
Sure, these are aggravating factors BUT they are not the root cause so don’t get fobbed off.
The best place to start in getting straightforward answers to your concerns is to seek out a thyroid-literate doctor. A doctor who understands thyroid problems is more likely to take the time to discuss your medical history, and your individual symptoms.
From there they will ideally run a complete thyroid panel to check how your thyroid gland is functioning, and request a thyroid ultrasound to obtain a proper physical inspection of your thyroid to check for any abnormalities within the gland.
If you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism it’s likely you will be prescribed some type of thyroid hormone replacement. Ideally your doctor will discuss the most effective options to ensure your thyroid hormone levels return to the optimal range.
Typically, conventional doctors are less willing to prescribe Armour, single T3, or a levothyroxine (LT4) plus liothyronine (synthetic T3) combination which are all gaining popularity. The reason is, the major endocrine societies recommend single LT4 as first line treatment for hypothyroidism.
Some individuals don’t do well on oral LT4 thyroid medication, especially when this T4 medication is not readily converted to free triiodothyronine (T3).
If this is the case, a personalized treatment approach may be required. That is, one that considers individual issues such as nutritional deficiencies, co-existing endocrine disorders, drug interactions, and specific genetic and environmental influences on thyroid function.
A Naturopathic Perspective To Healing A Thyroid Imbalance
The body is a complex, integrated system so a thyroid disorder should not be viewed in isolation. The thyroid is part of an interconnected system that requires healing. And as you would expect, knowing this is vital to recovering the health and vitality you deserve.
Resources: International Thyroid Awareness Month
International Thyroid Awareness Month (ITAW) is an established global campaign that helps create greater awareness and understanding of thyroid problems. This campaign is endorsed by the American Thyroid Association (ATA), the European Thyroid Association (ETA), and the Chinese Society of Endocrinology (CSE). For more information visit the ITAW website: www.thyroidaware.com.