This episode, we’re not looking at just one case, we’re looking at many.
- More than 12% of the population will develop a thyroid condition in their lifetime.
- Thyroid symptoms vary but may affect energy levels, weight, and mood.
- Women are more likely to suffer from a thyroid condition.
There’s so much confusion around the thyroid. Symptoms can often be explained away as other things – like poor sleep, poor diet, poor exercise habits. The sad part is, these easy explanations can be a part of the missed symptoms.
And, conventional medicine tends to diagnose thyroid issues using only one test. This means that many people, including those with Hashimoto’s may be misdiagnosed or not have the full picture.
In order to truly understand the thyroid and solve thyroid issues, you need the whole picture and you need to get to the root of the problem.
Over the years, I’ve become very familiar with this issue because of the countless clients who come into my office complaining of symptoms I know are related to their thyroid but they tell me that their doctor has told them that their levels are normal. I also know all about it because I personally went through it too. I went through the frustration of being told my thyroid was fine. I went through the doctor’s failing to diagnose my Hashimoto’s. And, I went through years of not properly treating this condition.
In this episode, I’m demystifying hypothyroidism and giving you everything you need to know about having an underactive thyroid gland. Many people think that thyroid issues only affect your energy levels. In fact, the thyroid impacts everything in the body including your hair, skin, digestion, brain, and bones. The thyroid can also affect your fertility and how well your organs functions – especially your liver. Thyroid hormones are needed for every cell in your body – so we should never underestimate how it can impact our wellbeing if it’s not functioning properly.
Symptoms of an Underactive Thyroid
The most common symptom, and the one most people think of is fatigue or a general lack of energy. There are many other potential symptoms of an underactive thyroid including dry skin, brittle nails, thinning hair, sensitivity to cold, constipation, brain fog, irregular menstrual periods, weight gain, hoarseness of the voice, muscle aches and cramps, low blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, fertility challenges, and sleep irregularities. There are other symptoms too but these are the most common. However, not all hypothyroid patients will experience all of these symptoms. In fact, it’s common for them to have a variety of symptoms that could change over time.
Misdiagnosis of Hypothyroidism
Many people who have hypothyroidism are misdiagnosed or a diagnosis is just plain missed. This happens because doctors have a strict set of guidelines for diagnosis (which is different depending on where you live). Doctors who have patients that don’t fall into the guidelines, will often rule out a thyroid issue without doing any further testing. There are a number of additional tests that should be run, but these don’t fit into the conventional approach to diagnosing thyroid conditions. I go into detail as to why and how this happens in this episode.
Anyone who has ever had their thyroid tested has to try to make sense of a hormone called TSH. This is often where confusion sets in. In this episode, I explain all the T’s involved in thyroid function including the TRH (the activation signal from your brain to your pituitary gland), TSH (the signal from your pituitary to your thyroid) and the T3 and T4 that the thyroid makes in response. T3 is the active hormone that is needed by the body and can be absorbed and used by your cells while T4 is called a pro hormone which has to be converted to T3 in order to be used. A lot can go wrong with the production and absorption of these two hormones and signals can get crossed – triggering the thyroid to stop or slow down production.
Get the Right Tests for Hypothyroidism
Conventional blood tests for hypothyroidism only looks at the TSH level. This can result in misleading information. The result is that up to 50% of patients with hypothyroidism are misdiagnosed or given treatment plans that don’t address the real issues. That’s usually when they end up at my office. We have to look at the whole picture.
Here is what I recommend patients get tested (either through their family doctor or alternative health practitioner):
- Total T4
- Total T3
- Free T4
- Free T3
- REVERSE T3
- Thyroid Antibodies
Assessing Your Lab Results
So often, a doctor will tell you that your test results are ‘normal’. That means that according to their guidelines, they fall into the normal range. You may have subclinical hypothyroidism but you won’t hear it from them. It’s important that you see your results. Here are the optimal ranges you should be in:
|TSH||1.8- 3.0 though if you are on thyroid medication, this should be even a bit lower, from around .8 to 2|
|REVERSE T3||Less than 17|
|Thyroid Antibodies||Undetectable or as low as possible|
Be Your Own Health Advocate
My aim is for the information in this episode to empower you to take control of your health. Use it to ask the right questions, get the right tests, and understand the results. You can’t fully diagnose or manage hypothyroidism if you don’t have the whole picture.
Eliminating Health Mysteries
If the symptoms we talked about in this episode feel familiar, make sure you dig deep enough to solve your own health mystery. If these symptoms or medical frustrations sound like someone you know, make sure you share this episode with them.
Thanks for Listening
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