I treat patients with thyroid issues in practice all the time. It can be a confusing gland to understand and the bloodwork to measure its function can be even more mind boggling. Here is an explanation and a checklist for you to see if you should have your thyroid investigated!
The thyroid is a gland in the neck that secretes hormones to regulate growth and metabolism – how the body uses energy. It gets its direction from the pituitary gland in the brain. It is routinely measured in the blood – TSH. This hormone can indicate if the thyroid is under functioning – hypothyroidism or over functioning – hyperthyroidism. The confusing thing is if the TSH value is low this means a hyperactive thyroid, and if the TSH value is high this indicates and under active thyroid. The thyroid gland uses iodine in the diet to make T3 and T4 which dictates how the body uses energy.
A true understanding of what the thyroid is doing is to get a ‘full thyroid panel’ done. This measures the hormones that stimulate the thyroid (TSH) and also the hormones that the thyroid secretes in response.
The symptoms of an underactive/Hypo thyroid are:
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Trouble sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Dry skin and hair
- Sensitivity to cold temperature
- Frequent, heavy periods
- Joint and muscle pain
The symptoms of an overactive/hyper thyroid are:
- Irritability or moodiness
- Nervousness, hyperactivity
- Sweating or sensitivity to high temperatures
- Hand shaking
- Hair loss
- Missed or light menstrual periods
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, book in for a consult. There are many beneficial herbs, supplements and acupuncture protocols that can be used to get the thyroid back in balance. I can also order blood work so that we can fully understand your personal thyroid picture.
Enjoy the rest of the sunny summer!
Dr. Kate Hunter, ND