The signs and symptoms of Hypothyroidism are legion. Many feel that their thyroid has been underactive and they they are suffering from Hypothyroidism. Traditional medical education stresses the importance of getting a Thyroid Stimulating Hormone(or TSH for short) as the sole means of evaluating the thyroid. The thought process is that if the TSH is "normal," then a patient can't have Hypothyroidism. Literature has shown that if TSH is the sole marker for evaluating the thyroid, it is wrong > 80% of the time.
Many of my patients have seen a primary care doctor and even an endocrinologist with clear cut signs and symptoms of Hypothyroidism, only to be told that "nothing is wrong." For most of these patients 1 or maybe 2 tests were done, and based on this, the patients were sent on their way to live with their symptoms.
Functional Medicine seeks to look deeper, and to explore the root cause of illness. In my practice at OptiHealth Institute I get 8 different tests that help me to identify thyroid disease. There is not one test that makes or breaks the diagnosis -it is looking at all the tests together that we formulate a diagnosis.
Keep in mind that just because your blood test is "normal" doesn't mean that your thyroid is functioning optimally. Lab normals are based on tens of thousands of patients, many of whom are sick. Functional Medicine Physicians use optimal levels of lab tests as a more accurate way of assessing thyroid function.
Hypothyroidism can present with a myriad of symptoms, which can sometimes mimick other disease states. The most common complaints are constipation, difficulty losing weight, gaining weight easily, brain fog, thinning of the eyebrows, cold hand/feet, cold intolerance and depression.
Once an in depth history is taken, this is combined with a very extensive questionnaire, and extensive lab testing to formulate a plan. If Hypothyroidism is suspected, Functional Medicine looks to find find out why the thyroid isn't functioning well. Food sensitivities, heavy metal intoxication, autoimmune illness, and stress are some of the common precipitants of thyroid disease.
Thyroid health can be augmented in many ways. I look to first start with the diet, as many foods are known to have a negative impact on the thyroid. We then look at lifestyle interventions, such as mitigating stress. The thyroid often works hand in hand with the adrenal glands(tiny glands on your kidneys that help to deal with stress through the release of Cortisol, a stress hormone). Supporting adrenal health is key to reversing thyroid disease. There are a variety of natural supplements in the forms of herbs, botanicals and vitamins that have been medically proven to support thyroid function. Lastly, thyroid hormone may be necessary to help restore balance for what the thyroid gland cannot produce on its own.
Come see me at OptiHealth Institute so we can begin working as a team to find out how your thyroid is functioning.