- Hard to get out of bed in the morning
- Hair Loss
- Brain Fog/Difficulty
- Irregular/heavy/painful periods
- Weight gain
- Hoarse Voice
- Cold Intolerance
- Dry Skin
- Muscle aches/Stiffness
The diagnosis of hypothyroidism is done conventionally by testing the TSH our thyroid stimulating hormone levels. However, this is not the complete way of testing for the problem and many people suffering from the disease can be missed. Conventional lab tests result in the under diagnosing and under treating of hypothyroidism. To correctly diagnose and treat hypothyroidism the correct tests must be run not just TSH. My thyroid panel includes 8 tests specific to the thyroid and many other tests that evaluate nutrients and other essentials of thyroid function. To learn more about controversies surrounding the treatment of hypothyroidism read Controversies In The Diagnosis And Treatment of Hypothyroidism.
In my practice aside from the most thorough testing I have a high index of suspicion for thyroid problems as they affect so many people and use clinical symptoms and judgement in addition to the numbers. This means that if someone is suffering from half or most all of the symptoms of hypothyroidism above and just as an example lets say their doctor told them their labs were normal, I am going to believe the person not the the lab. There could be a variety of reasons why someone would be suffering from symptoms but they are told labs are normal. One, it could be a lab error.
Laboratories make plenty of errors even the most reputable labs, although it’s important for you as the consumer to know that all laboratories are not created equal nor are all tests advertised out there by different labs reliable or accurate . For more information about labs you can read the section under Advanced Diagnostics, Accuracy of Lab Testing/Are All Labs Equal, Reliable, and Accurate?
Another factor to consider is that different labs use different ranges of what is or is not considered ‘normal’.
If the physician does not use though and clinics judgement and just looks at the lab range patients with the disease can be missed, since for the same test one la may call one number ‘normal’ and another may not. Another factor is the huge range of what normal consists in most labs in America for thyroid function. Again clinical expertise is necessary to correctly decipher who may have a problem.
Regardless I take all of these factors into account and aways put the patients symptoms and physical exam first. Conventional doctors usually ignore the patients story and symptoms and even they physical signs if the labs are ‘normal’ to their eyes, and here is where a patient may be named difficult, or told that they may benefit from psychiatric drugs like antidepressants when in fact t their problem is hormone deficiency like hypothyroidism.
When the diagnosis is made I use a variety of treatments to treat hypothyroidism it is certainly not one size fits all, conventional medicine has one synthetic drug that everyone gets however there are active and inactive forms of thyroid hormones and I usually use both forms in combination by using medications that are natural and desiccated, I also may use only the active form of thyroid known as T3 however conventional doctors almost always use the inactive form of thyroid hormone or T4 that the body must then convert to T3 and this is exactly where many people have a problem and these are also among the people who are ignored conventionally.
About 7 percent of your thyroid hormone is the active form of T3 which acts on receptors found on the nucleus of cells sending messages to your DNA to turn up your metabolism, and increase the fat burning in your mitochondria. The active form of thyroid T3 is critical in making every system in your body work correctly and efficiently. T3 maintains optimal metabolism, keeps a healthy body weight and composition, lowers cholesterol, improves your memory, helps hair regrowth, helps infertility, soothes aching muscles and helps bowels work optimally relieving constipation and bloating. Most of the thyroid hormone in the body is in the inactive form of T4.
If the body is working optimally without illness, stress, nutrient deficiency, adrenal dysfunction, toxins, or infection the body converts T4 to the active form of T3.
However if this conversion step is impaired there is not enough T3 and the system does not work properly causing ill symptoms, weight gain, fatigue, brain for and GI symptoms and more.
Once correct treatment is implemented usually patients feel better rather quickly however in Functional Medicine that’s when our work has just begun, meaning we still have to uncover the WHY one has hypothyroidism in the first place.
Here is where we begin to assess the root causes of thyroid dysfunction that include autoimmune disease, toxicity, nutrient deficiency, adrenal dysfunction, stress and chronic infections. If the root causes are not addressed they will cause more and more dysfunction in the body therefore its imperative that we also address the lot cause to create better overall long term health and vitality.