Hypothyroidism is one of those words you hear tossed around over water-cooler conversations as coworkers discuss their last visit to the doctor. While the term may be familiar, a full understanding of the condition is often limited. Low thyroid function affects approximately 27 million Americans, with more than half going untreated. Detecting thyroid symptoms is often difficult because the signs so closely mimic those associated with aging.
Thyroid disease affects more women than men, as it is classically related to hormonal shifts that occur throughout life, such as pregnancy, menopause and andropause. These hormonal fluctuations can lead to disturbances in the function of the thyroid gland and impair the delicate balance of the hormones it regulates. Thyroid symptoms may include inexplicable weight gain or loss, dry skin, fatigue, low energy levels, hair loss, insomnia, and depression, but are often mistaken for signs of aging and go untreated.
And to make matters worse, if you do seek treatment you will find that many forms of thyroid testing used in general practice don’t appropriately assess all factors that can accurately diagnose a thyroid disorder. Many traditional healthcare providers recognize a broad range of normal when it comes to thyroid testing, and even fewer go on to test other hormones affected by thyroid disorders. In many cases, general practitioners will only check TSH and/or T4 levels and report that the numbers are “normal.” Yet, you still have thyroid symptoms—an inability to lose weight, exhausted, cold, hair loss, etc. The trouble is that T3 needs to be tested, too, as it plays a much larger role in thyroid function—nearly 75 percent of all activity.
Detecting thyroid symptoms can be accomplished through testing that can assess for thyroid function. There are many treatments available for the various types of thyroid disorders and solutions. Seek physicians who specialize in hormone balance to help you develop a treatment plan to address your thyroid issues and find solutions by getting to the very root of the problem.
Tips for Combatting Thyroid Disorders Naturally
- Avoid goitrogens. Goitrogens can interfere with your thyroid’s ability to produce hormones and are found in certain foods such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, etc.), peanuts and soybeans.
- Supplement. Talk to your doctor about a supplement regimen that can support your treatment plan and improve thyroid function.
- Selenium and zinc maintain a healthy thyroid gland
- Vitamin A as beta-carotene helps the body convert thyroid hormones
- Vitamin C and vitamin E (with tocopherols and tocotrienols) protect against heart disease triggered by hypothyroidism
- B vitamins help prevent mood and cognitive problems of low thyroid function
- Vitamin D3—most people with hypothyroidism are often deficient
Talk to your doctor about iodine-rich kelp supplements, which can have a good or bad effect on your thyroid function, so dosage is important
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