Could it be my Thyroid?

by Joan Haynes, ND

Are you tired, overweight, cold, and/or depressed?  You may have undiagnosed hypothyroidism.

What does the thyroid do?
The thyroid gland produces, stores, and secretes thyroid hormone. It controls basic activity (metabolism) of every cell in the body.

What are the most common symptoms of too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroid)?
Fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, dry skin and hair, and depression.

What are some symptoms of too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroid)?
Anxiety, heart palpitations, weight loss, etc.

How common are thyroid conditions?
Approximately 27-45 million Americans have a thyroid condition.  More than half are undiagnosed.  Women develop a thyroid condition 7 times more often than men.

What are some possible causes of hypothyroid?
Age, certain medications, environmental exposure, fluoride, genetic, neck trauma, over consumption of goitrogenic foods (brassicas, soy), over or under consumption of iodine, pregnancy, perimenopause, menopause, radiation treatment, radioactive iodine treatment. smoking, surgical treatment for goiters, nodules, or thyroid cancer.

What are some conditions that raise the suspicion of hypothyroidism?
Bipolar disease, carpal tunnel syndrome/tendonitis, celiac disease/gluten intolerance, depression, difficult menopause, eczema/psoriasis, Epstein-Barr virus, mononucleosis, infertility, unexplained weight gain.

What are some other signs and symptoms of hypothyroid?
Coarse and dry hair; dry, and scaly skin, constipation, fatigue and exhaustion, feel cold when others feel hot, frequent infections, hoarse voice, inability to lose weight with diet/exercise, inappropriate weight gain or weight loss, loss of outer edge of eyebrows, low or absent sex drive, sleep apnea, sluggishness.

How is hypothyroidism diagnosed?
With appropriate clinical assessment and laboratory testing.  Even if you’ve been told your thyroid is normal, ask for a copy of the test and let us help you interpret it.  Inform yourself about what the different tests mean and the new thinking about normal ranges for these tests.  www.thyroid.about.com is a good website to get some basic information.

Can hypothyroidism be treated naturally?
Sometimes, but not always.  At Boise Natural Health, we take a look at the big picture.  We treat hypothyroid by thorough testing, improving diet and lifestyle, assessing and supporting other hormones such as adrenals, appropriate supplementation, and if needed, thyroid hormone replacement options.  If you have not already had your thyroid tested, we can order lab work for you as well.