Do you feel frustrated because you are gaining weight (i.e. 10 pounds or more in the past three months without an explainable cause) and feel exhausted most of the time? Do you have mood swings, brain fog, anxiety, depression, constipation and cold hands and feet? How about signs of hormone imbalances such as PMS, low sex drive and irregular periods? Or joint and muscle pain, dry skin, brittle splitting fingernails and excessive hair loss? If so, you have a lot in common with many of my patients and may have low thyroid function.
The thyroid gland is an endocrine organ that sits in the front of your neck, below your Adam’s apple, and produces thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are the hormones of metabolism and regulate speed of function of your cells and your body temperature. How well your thyroid is functioning is related to every cell in your body and if your thyroid is not working well you will not feel well.
Take The Thyroid Quiz and see how you score:
None Mild Moderate Severe
Brittle, splitting fingernails
Dry or coarse skin
Heavy menstrual flow
Missing outer 1/3 of eyebrows
Muscle or joint aches
(10 pounds or more in 3 months)
If you ranked 3 or more symptoms as moderate or severe, you may be suffering from hypothyroidism.
Proper Testing Can Help Diagnose Thyroid Isssues
Thyroid disorders are best diagnosed and treated by a provider who is an expert at carefully listening to you and your symptoms along with the ability to interpret all of your test results.
At our center, along with blood testing, we often use a Thyroflex® test to help us diagnose hypothyroidism and determine your intracellular thyroid function. This is a simple reflex test that uses the Thyroflex® machine – an FDA approved, medical device that is clinically proven to sensitively detect hypothyroid conditions correctly 98% of the time. This information, along with baseline thyroid lab tests, ferritin and Vitamin D blood test results, is invaluable to guide your treatment and is used to create a personalized treatment plan for you.
Going Deeper Than TSH Testing Alone
Many conventional medical providers were taught to order one blood test called a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test when evaluating thyroid function. Many functional medicine providers order a more comprehensive panel of blood tests, which can be very helpful and give a more complete understanding of thyroid function in the body. If needed, your treatment options could include a synthetic medication (i.e. Synthroid – contains T4 only) or natural desiccated thyroid medications (i.e. Armour – contains T3 and T4), or recommendations for other lifestyle and diet changes along with supplements should you not need prescription medication for your low thyroid function.
The Risks Of Untreated Hypothyroid
The risks associated with untreated hypothyroidism are huge: cardiovascular issues such as an increase in LDL cholesterol, homocysteine (an amino acid associated with heart attacks, strokes and blood clot formation), CRP (an inflammatory marker), high blood pressure and peripheral artery disease. Patients may also have increased risk of Diabetes and insulin resistance, nerve damage and dysfunction, weakness and stiffness, carpel tunnel syndrome, hearing loss, and cognitive decline. Sadly, untreated hypothyroidism leads to almost double the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, anxiety, depression, premature delivery and four times the risk of Autism for a baby born to a mother with low thyroid function.
If you ranked 3 or more of the symptoms on this quiz as moderate or severe it is important to find out if you truly have a thyroid problem and to seek appropriate treatment. Please don’t delay!
Randi Mann, WHNP-BC, NCMP, APNP, is a woman’s hormone expert and the owner of Wise Woman Wellness LLC, an innovative wellness and hormone care center at 1480 Swan Road, De Pere. Mann is the author of the eBook: A Guide to Gluten and Going Gluten Free. She is a board certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner, one of a handful in Wisconsin and less than 1600 worldwide to achieve this distinction. She combines the best of conventional, functional and integrative medicine to help women with female, thyroid and adrenal hormone issues to live healthier, more abundant, joy-filled lives using a blend of compassion, cutting edge science, practical guidance and humor. Contact her at 920-339-5252 or via the Internet at www.wisewomanwellness.com. Attend the introductory seminar, “End Hormone Havoc – Crazy Hormones Cause Fatigue, Weight Gain and Brain Fog and How to Fix Them!”, offered monthly, to learn about specialized thyroid, adrenal and female hormone testing and customized, bioidentical hormone treatments to achieve lifelong optimal hormone balance, increased vitality and longevity.
End Hormone Havoc!
Attend her “End Hormone Havoc” seminar offered monthly to learn about specialized thyroid, adrenal and bioidentical female hormone testing and customized hormone treatments to achieve lifelong optimal hormone balance and increased vitality and longevity. Learn more.