Doctor, Do I have Hypothyroidism?

December 21, 2011

Many people don’t realize how important the thyroid gland is until it isn’t working properly and even then, they may not recognize the signs and symptoms of a malfunctioning thyroid.  In fact, hypothyroidism may be the most commonly missed diagnosis today, with approximately 40 percent of the population having undiagnosed hypothyroidism.

Your thyroid be malfunctioning in one of two ways. The first is Hypothyroidism which is considered to be poor or low thyroid activity. The second is hyperthyroidism which is considered to be increased or hyperthyroid activity. Thyroid hormones affect every cell of the body, and you cannot achieve optimum health without a properly functioning thyroid gland. When our thyroid gland does not produce the proper levels of hormones, our metabolism is affected and this, in turn, affects our brains, hearts, livers, muscles, and pretty much every other part of our bodies.

Signs, Symptoms and Conditions Associated With Hypothyroidism

These are just some of some of the more common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism–  cold hands and feet, constipation, dry skin, fatigue, hair loss, inability to concentrate, poor memory, and weight gain. In addition, some of the associated endocrine or hormone-related conditions associated with hypothyroidism include allergies, chronic fatigue, diabetes, hyper and hypotension, PMS, and obesity. Typically, it is easier to gain weight, and harder to lose weight, if you are hypothyroid. A lack of energy is probably the most common complaint as well.

How Are The Conditions Treated?

An initial consultation is made with one of our doctors and includes a complete history and examination with both urine and blood work being performed. Blood work includes five different thyroid tests (TSH, free T4, free T3, reverse T3 and TPO anti-bodies) and a 24-hour urine test to evaluate iodine deficiency. Proper iodine levels are essential to proper thyroid function, and iodine deficiency is frequently found with hypothyroidism. Based on this information, an individualized and personalized treatment plan is developed and reviewed with the patient. A comprehensive, holistic treatment plan is then recommended, and based on the severity of the individual patient’s condition, common treatments for hypothyroidism include a combination of nutritional recommendations, prescription medications, and nutritional supplements.