Do you have an underactive or overactive thyroid?
The thyroid is part of the endocrine system (the system that secretes hormones) and is responsible for healthy cell function. It produces the thyroid hormone which controls all the processes in the body that use energy such as:
Since the thyroid plays a huge role in the body it is important to determine whether or not it is functioning properly. The thyroid can develop several abnormalities, but the two most common conditions are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Although these conditions are closely related they do have several imperative differences that completely change the diagnosis and treatment options.
What is Hypothyroidism?
The medical prefix “hypo” means below or less than normal. If the thyroid is in a hypo state, it not functioning to its full capacity, meaning its either not producing enough of the thyroid hormone or not enough of that hormone is being converted to the form that the body can actually use.
The symptoms pertaining to hypothyroidism vary depending on the person, but if left untreated they can become worse. The most common symptoms of an underactive thyroid/hypothyroidism are:
- Low body temperature
- Cold hands and feet
- Slow metabolism
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Brian fog
What is Hyperthyroidism?
The term “hyper” refers to excessive or above normal. When the thyroid is functioning in this state it is producing too much thyroid hormone. This causes the metabolism to speed up and creates restlessness and extreme excitability in a person. If left untreated, the overstimulation will eventually lead to fatigue and exhaustion. The most common symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Hair loss
- High blood pressure
- Irregular menstrual period
- Rapid heartbeat
How to be Diagnosed
Many doctors order “standard” thyroid tests (TSH- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), but, unfortunately, they are not performing the most important and accurate tests. It is crucial to know what tests should be performed to determine if the thyroid is actually functioning well or if it is in a hyper (excessive or above normal) or hypo (below or less that normal) state.
When dealing with a dysfunctional thyroid there is not one full-proof test. Instead, it is a combination of tests that paint the full picture. These tests are:
Vital Signs- Pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight.
Important Blood Tests
- Free T4
- Free T3
- Reverse T3
- Anti-Thyroglobulin Antibody
- Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody (TPO)
- Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)
- Other diagnostic testing – Thyroflex (reflex test), BMR Test (Basal Metabolic Rate), and Urine Iodine Test
How to Improve Your Levels
After an evaluation of symptoms and a review of the thyroid test results, a qualified doctor may decide to start a protocol that includes compounded medication. One of more of the following bioidentical preparations may be used with varying ratios of T3 and T4:
-Compounded, Sustained-Release T3 (Triiodothyronine)
-Compounded T4 (Levothyroxine)
-Liothyronine (Instant Release T3 [Cytomel])
-Desiccated porcine T4/T3 combinations (Armour or Naturethroid)
Many individuals that suffer from thyroid dysfunction are already on some type of medication, but are not feeling the effects and are still suffering the same (maybe even worse) symptoms. A good correction for this would be an adjustment of the dose through an increase or decrease. This is a process and it can take 6 months or longer for the symptoms to subside and to begin feeling completely well. During this time it is imperative to keep in contact with the doctor to inform them of any changes (good or bad).
It’s important to remember that if this condition has been ongoing for a long period of time, your immune system may have become compromised. The immune system is greatly affected by any disruption in the body including a dysfunctional thyroid. A lowered immune system can be incapable of protecting against various infections, bacteria, or viruses. Ensure that the doctor is addressing this condition, as well. The doctor may require certain tests such as the C4a, C3a, C-Reactive Protein, or other tests to check the performance of the immune system. A healthy immune system can only take place when the thyroid is functioning well. With a clearer overall picture, the doctor will be more equipped to diagnose and treat the ailments.
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About Holtorf Medical Group®
Kent Holtorf, MD is an American physician and entrepreneur. He is a board examiner of the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine (ABAAM). He is the founder and medical director of Holtorf Medical Group, a practice of five centers that reports to specialize in the treatment and management of medical conditions and disorders including fibromyalgia, adrenal fatigue, complex endocrine dysfunction, hypothyroidism, age management, chronic fatigue syndrome, low libido, Lyme disease, migraines, PMS, perimenopause and menopause. His practice focuses on alternative therapies that are not yet standard practice with mainstream doctors, maintaining that mainstream medicine tends to be an average of 17 years behind the emergence of new and advanced treatments. Holtorf Medical Group was founded on the belief that every patient deserves to have the highest quality of care, compassion, and understanding when striving for a better quality of life. We practice this belief every day as we treat thousands of patients who suffer from chronic conditions, have been treated by multiple doctors and some that have even lost hope. There is a solution! Check out their website HoltorfMed.com, for more information and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.