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Thyroid Imbalance

What are Thyroid Hormones?

Thyroid hormones are the hormones produced by the thyroid gland. Their main purpose is to direct metabolic activity in the body. For this very reason, a properly regulated thyroid is necessary to effectively run many chemical processes in the body. Even mild thyroid dysfunction can cause symptoms to occur before testing ever shows levels that are ‘abnormal’.

Symptoms of Thyroid Imbalance

  • Weight Gain or Loss
  • Fatigue
  • Irregular bowel habits
  • Hair Loss
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Water Retention
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Infertility
  • Dry/brittle hair and nails
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Heat or cold intolerance
  • Muscle and Joint Pain

Why is this Important to Me?

Did you know that hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is more common than most people realize? In fact, some estimate that as many as 1 in 7 adults are suffering with hypothyroidism. Many people who have low thyroid symptoms are tested and told their levels are ‘normal’ and that there is no problem with their thyroid. This is because conventional medicine indicates only TSH levels should be evaluated, and the normal cut-off levels for that are often not the most up-to-date. The Society of Endocrinologist stated in 2002 that standard testing ranges for TSH were inaccurate, leaving many people with hypothyroidism undiagnosed and suffering with symptoms.

In order to fully evaluate thyroid function, several thyroid tests should be done, including TSH, free T3, free T4, and thyroid antibodies. Even with normal TSH or T4 levels, a low T3 level may cause symptoms.  This is why conventional treatment with synthetic T4 may not always work to alleviate thyroid symptoms or correct thyroid imbalance.  In addition, it is important to rule out the possibility of an auto-immune thyroid disorder, which cannot be determined by TSH testing alone.

The effectiveness of thyroid hormones in the body can also be affected by interactions with other hormone systems, particularly estrogens and cortisol, as well as some nutritional deficiencies. If your hormone levels are imbalanced, it’s possible it could be affecting your thyroid function. If you suspect your thyroid is not functioning the way it should, proper testing is often worthwhile to evaluate your levels.