WHEN AND WHY
Many people have symptoms of an underactive thyroid but are told that there is no problem with their thyroid because their TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) testing levels are “normal”
A TSH test is a lab test that measures the amount of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in your blood. TSH is produced by the pituitary gland. It tells the thyroid gland to make and release thyroid hormones into the blood. It is the most common screening test for thyroid disease.
When the thyroid gland is underactive, the metabolism slows down and you may suffer from symptoms such as:
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Brittle nails or Hair loss
- Cold intolerance/cold hands and feet
- Menstrual irregularities
- Decreased memory and difficult concentrating
- Swollen legs, feet, hands, abdomen and face
It is important to have blood tests that provide a full thyroid panel which includes a measurement of Free T4, Free T3 (the active form of thyroid hormone), thyroid antibodies and reverse T3 (which is an inactive form of thyroid hormone). All these measurement are necessary to review prior to choosing appropriate treatment.
Inadequate thyroid production may be caused by nutrient deficiencies, autoimmune thyroid disease, liver disease and adrenal fatigue.
Many family physicians and endocrinologists prescribe synthetic T4 (Synthroid) for their hypothyroid patients. This may adequately treat some patients. However this approach is not sufficient for patients who have difficult converting T4 to T3 or have a high level of inactive T3.
Most patients feel better when both T4 and T3 are replaced.
When one has low T3 levels, which are typical with synthetic hormone use such as Synthroid, the brain does not work properly. It is important to use a preparation with T3 in it because T3 does 90% of the work of the thyroid in the body. So one should use a combination of T4 and T3‚ which compensates for the inability to convert T4 to T3.
Armour thyroid is desiccated thyroid and has both T3 and T4.
It is also necessary to provide supplements which help the thyroid function optimally, such as iodine, selenium and zinc. Some people improve using only an adrenal/thyroid supplement. Others need thyroid hormone temporarily, while others need longer-term thyroid replacement.
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