The Rest of the Underactive Thyroid (Hypothyroid) Story.
Most people realize that their thyroid is important for controlling their metabolism and body weight. Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid is a MAJOR roadblock to your fat burning efforts.
But did you know that depression, heart disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, PMS (premenstrual syndrome), menopausal symptoms, muscle and joint pains, irritable bowel syndrome, or autoimmune disease could actually indicate a problem with your thyroid?
The classic signs of a sluggish thyroid gland include weight gain, lethargy, poor quality hair and nails, hair loss, dry skin, fatigue, cold hands and feet, and constipation — and these symptoms are relatively well known.
However, some of the conditions you might not associate with your thyroid include:
- High cholesterol
- Irregular menstruation
- Low libido
- Gum disease
- Fluid retention
- Skin conditions such as acne and eczema
- Memory problems
- Poor stamina
And there are, in fact, many more conditions that can be associated with poor thyroid function. Your thyroid plays a part in nearly every physiological process. When it is out of balance, so are you. This is why it is so important to understand how your thyroid gland works and what can cause it to run amok.
The sad fact is, half of all people with hypothyroidism are never diagnosed. And of those who are diagnosed, many are often misdiagnosed and/or inadequately treated, resulting in partial recovery at best.
Hypothyroidism: The Hidden Epidemic
Hypothyroidism simply means you have a sluggish or underactive thyroid, which is producing less than adequate amounts of thyroid hormone. “Subclinical” hypothyroidism means you have no obvious symptoms and only slightly abnormal lab tests. These tests are a source of great confusion for patients, as well as for many health practitioners.
Thyroid problems have unfortunately become quite common.
The same lifestyle factors contributing to high rates of obesity, cancer, and diabetes are wreaking havoc on your thyroid – sugar, processed foods, stress, environmental toxins, and lack of exercise are heavy contributors.
More than 10 percent of the general population in the United States, and 20 percent of women over the age of 60, have subclinical hypothyroidism. But only a small percentage of these people are being treated.
Why is that?
Much of it has to do with misinterpretation and misunderstanding of lab tests, particularly TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). Most physicians believe that if your TSH value is within the range of “normal,” your thyroid is fine. But more and more physicians are discovering that the TSH value is grossly unreliable for diagnosing hypothyroidism.
Your TSH value is only part of the story, and your symptoms, physical findings, genetics, lifestyle, and health history are also important considerations. Only when physicians learn to treat the patient and not the lab test will they begin to make headway against thyroid disease!
Do you STILL have thyroid symptoms, even if your lab tests are “normal”?