Underactive thyroid function is becoming alarmingly common—and is horribly under-diagnosed. The good news is once it is diagnosed, it can be very easy to treat, and treatment can save your life in addition to making life worth living!
The thyroid gland, located in the neck area, is the body’s gas pedal. It regulates the body’s metabolic speed. If the thyroid gland produces insufficient amounts of thyroid hormones, the metabolism decreases and the person gains weight. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include intolerance to cold, fatigue, achiness, confusion and constipation.
Unfortunately, the current blood testing misses the majority of people who need thyroid hormone treatment. Sadly, many physicians don’t know that the testing is unreliable, and continue to treat the tests instead of the person. Holistic physicians (visit The American Board of Holistic Medicine to find one) know how to treat taking both your symptoms and labs into account. Anyone with even two of the above symptoms should consider a trial of natural prescription thyroid (e.g., Armour Thyroid).
Low thyroid problems are increasing in frequency. In the U.S., they mostly occur because the thyroid is being attacked by our own immune system (an autoimmune process called “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis” — diagnosed by having an elevated anti-TPO antibody which is a simple blood test). A resurgence of iodine and selenium deficiencies is also contributing to thyroid problems. Having the problem is no big deal — as long as you get treated properly with natural thyroid hormone.
What is the cost of missing hypothyroidism?
- Over 30,000 preventable deaths occur each year from heart attacks. Women with untreated hypothyroidism are more than twice as likely to have a heart attack.
- Over 4,600 miscarriages occur each year after 15 weeks of pregnancy — countless more before. Six percent of miscarriages are associated with hypothyroidism. And in moderate to severely hypothyroid mothers, babies are over six times as likely to die soon after being born.
- Children born to hypothyroid mothers have a lower IQ (by an average of seven points). They are almost four times as likely to have an IQ under 85 and over twice as likely to have learning difficulties.
- Hypothyroidism contributes to millions being unnecessarily disabled. Over six million Americans have fibromyalgia and tens of millions more have chronic muscle pain. Undiagnosed or inadequately treated thyroid disorders contribute to these unnecessarily disabling conditions.
- Hypothyroidism is a major cause of gaining and being unable to lose weight. It causes fatigue, dry hair, coarse skin, depression, and “brain fog” as well. Americans are currently treating hypothyroidism, which is often confused as being depression, with Prozac! This is an even bigger problem in the elderly who are being misdiagnosed with depression or Alzheimer’s disease when what they have is hypothyroidism.
While only lab testing can determine with certainty that you have hypothyroidism, you can perform a simple at-home self-examination called the “Neck Check™” to help you detect if you have an enlarged thyroid gland and should speak with your doctor about further testing. For step-by-step instructions on how to perform the Neck Check, visit the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists at www.aace.com.