Symptoms of Low Thyroid – While most people are aware that the thyroid plays an important role in controlling their weight and metabolism, they aren’t aware of everything else it affects. From chronic fatigue and Fibromyalgia to PMS, irritable bowel syndrome, autoimmune disorders, heart disease, and depression, any of these conditions can signify a problem with your thyroid.
The most common signs of a sluggish thyroid are pretty well known. They include cold hands and feet, dry skin, brittle nails and hair, hair loss, weight gain, constipation, and fatigue. However, there are a number of conditions associated with your thyroid including:
The truth is that your thyroid has a role in almost every physiological process, which means that when it’s out of balance, you are too. This is why understanding how your thyroid works is so important, as well as what causes it to run off course.
Unfortunately, almost half of the people suffering from hypothyroidism are never diagnosed. Those who are diagnosed often receive inadequate treatment, which keeps them from achieving a full recovery.
Anyone with hypothyroidism has an under active or sluggish thyroid. As a result, there it is producing too little of the thyroid hormone. When a person suffers from Subclinical hypothyroidism, they do not have obvious symptoms and lab tests are only slightly abnormal.
Unfortunately, thyroid problems are becoming increasingly more common. The same factors adding to the higher rates of cancer, diabetes, and obesity, such as too little physical activity, environmental toxins, and too much processed foods and sugar, are main contributors.
In the US, over 10 percent of the general population and 20 percent of women over 60 years old have subclinical hypothyroidism, yet only a small percent are receiving treatment.
A large part of this is related to the misinterpretation and misunderstanding of lab tests, especially thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). The majority of doctors believe that a TSH value in “normal” range means your thyroid is fine. However, an increasing number of doctors are realizing that the TSH value is not a reliable way to diagnose hypothyroidism.
Even worse, the “normal” TSH range is forever changing.
In 2003, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) revised the “normal” TSH range to 0.3 to 0.342, in an effort to improve the diagnosis of thyroid disorders. In the past, the range was 0.5 and 5.0. As a result, only the worst cases of hypothyroidism were red-flagged.
However, there’s still a big problem. It’s impossible to identify one “normal” TSH value for everyone, regardless of age, health, or other factors. Despite this, most physicians who regularly track this condition recognize that any TSH value over 1.5 is a strong indicator of an underactive thyroid.
Keep in mind that your TSH value is just a small part of the story. Additional crucial considerations include genetics, heath history, lifestyle, physical findings, and symptoms. The only way to truly make headway against thyroid disease is for doctors to learn to treat the patient, instead of just the lab test results.
Located in the front of your neck, the thyroid gland is a part of your endocrine (hormonal) system. The thyroid produces the master metabolism hormones that manage ever y function in your body. Thyroid hormones interact with all other hormones, including cortisol and insulin, as well as sex hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone.
It is because all these hormones are linked together and constantly communicating with one another that a poorly functioning hormone is related to so many diseases and symptoms.
The small gland is responsible for producing two significant thyroid hormones: T4 and T3. Approximately 90% of the hormones produced are T4, the inactive form. Your liver, along with an enzyme, is responsible for converting T4 to T3, the active form.
The thyroid gland also produces T2, which is currently the least understood thyroid hormone and is currently being studied.
Thyroid hormones work in a constant reaction loop with your brain, especially the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, to regulate the release of thyroid hormones. Your pituitary gland produces thyroid releasing hormone (TRH) and your hypothalamus makes TSH. When everything works, as it should, your body makes what is needed and you have the appropriate amounts of T3 and T4. This is crucial because T3 and T4 control the metabolism of every cell in the body. Unfortunately, allergens, infections, nutritional imbalances, stress, and toxins can easily disturb their fragile balance.
If there is an insufficient amount of T3 in the body, whether it’s because of inadequate production or converting improperly from T4, your entire system will suffer. This is because T3 is critically important. It informs the cell’s nucleus when to send messages to your DNA to turn up your metabolism by burning fat. This is why T3 helps you stay lean, reduces cholesterol levels, and regrows hair.
It’s impossible to deny that it’s hard to identify hypothyroidism. The symptoms frequently overlap with other conditions or are very vague. It’s not unusual for doctors to miss a thyroid disorder because they depend on such a small number of tests to diagnose the condition. In additional, clues often go unnoticed.
Fortunately, you can provide the missing clues.
The more attentive you are to your own risk factors and symptoms, the easier it will be for your doctor to make the correct diagnosis. Look out for the following symptoms:
Your family history is also a risk factor. Family history that suggests an increased risk for hyperthyroidism includes:
If you believe that you may have symptoms of a low thyroid, please see a healthcare provider who can assess your condition.