HYPOTHYROIDISM

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland in the front of your neck or throat. The Thyroid produces numerous related hormones: Thyroxine (also known as T4), and Liothyronine (also known as T3) are the most important of the Thyroid hormones. These help to control the way your body uses energy. Hypothyroidism means you have an under active thyroid gland, or in other words your thyroid is not making enough thyroid hormone. 

Thyroid

  • T4: The most well-known of the thyroid hormones, heats the body and speeds metabolism (of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates) and heart rate. At best, T4 is only about one-quarter the potency of T3. T4 can be converted to T3 by some cells in the body, but some people can have troubles performing this and therefore have symptoms of hypothyroidism.
  • T3: the most active form of thyroid hormone, also heats the body and speeds metabolism and heart rate.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:

  • Feeling tired, weak, or depressed
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness and aches in muscles and joints
  • Feeling cold all the time, Sensitivity to the cold
  • Headaches
  • Average body temperatures below 98.7
  • Memory issues or mental fog
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Slow metabolism
  • Weight gain, despite diminished appetite
  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Itchy or Dry skin and brittle nails
  • Heavy or irregular menstrual periods
  • Constipation or bowel irregularity

What are the Types of Hypothyroidism?

  • Type 1 Hypothyroidism
    • The thyroid does not produce sufficient amounts of thyroid hormone to maintain “normal” blood levels of hormones. This is the most common type that physicians look for. The low thyroid hormones cause the brain to release more TSH. Most patients with this type will have abnormal TSH levels.
  • Type 2 Hypothyroidism
    • The thyroid gland produces “normal” amounts of hormone, but the cells are unable to utilize the hormone properly. Some experts call this thyroid hormone resistance (which may be regarded as similar to insulin resistance). In this type TSH is normal in most cases, however symptoms are still present.

What causes Hypothyroid?

Hypothyroidism is most commonly Autoimmune or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Autoimmune Thyroiditis (Hashimotos) is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system makes antibodies that attack the thyroid gland causing chronic inflammation. It is unknown why some people are more prone to developing these antibodies. Environmental and genetic causes have been implicated. Nonetheless, inflammation caused by these antibodies can cause chronic scarring of the thyroid gland, which leads to a gradual decline in thyroid function.

How is Hypothyroid Diagnosed?

A simple blood test can diagnose if the thyroid hormone level is too low. The two blood tests we use to diagnose are:

  1. TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test. This is the most important and sensitive test for hypothyroidism. It measures how much of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) the thyroid gland is being asked to make. However, to assess for Type-2 Hypothyroidism, we need to asses Actual Thyroid Hormone levels. 
  2. The best way to assess hormonal production by the thyroid gland, is to measure Total and Free T3 and T4 levels. Free T3 and T4 are more active compounds and better represent Thyroid function. If practitioners are not measuring these levels, they could be under-treating or under-diagnosing Hypothyroidism. 

Hypothyroid Treatment Options:

  • Diet: Appropriate diet can decrease inflammation and help reduce immune response in the case of Hashimotos or Autoimmune thyroiditis.
  • Allergens / Sensitivities: Detoxification and elimination of allergic or sensitive foods.
  • Thyroid Hormone Medication: 
    • Natural Desiccated Thyroid Medications
      • Nature-Throid
      • Armour Thyroid
      • NP Thyroid
    • Combination Therapy with Levothyroxine (T4) and Liothyronine (T3)
    • Levothyroxine or Synthroid (T4)
  • Low Dose Naltrexone: 
    • Low Dose Naltrexone has also been shown to be very beneficial in modulating an immune response in patients with Hashimoto’s or Autoimmune Thyroiditis.


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