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Depressed, Tired & Overweight: Is It You Or Your Thyroid?

Normal and healthy thyroid hormone levels are essential for optimum brain and body health. Low thyroid function, called hypothyroidism, can cause many physical and mental problems including obesity, diabetes, depression, poor memory, high cholesterol, fatigue, and more.

Low Thyroid Function Is Highly Under-Diagnosed

Hypothyroidism is much more common than people – including many in the medical field – think it is. In fact, it is at epidemic proportions: In 2000, the Colorado Disease Prevalence Study, consisting of over 25,000 participants, found that nearly 10% of those in the study were hypothyroid, including people already on thyroid medication. This study was done with outdated measurement values that were actually much too conservative, so in reality the number of participants who would now be diagnosed as hypothyroid would be much higher.

Furthermore, over 40% of the participants who were already on thyroid medication were undertreated and remained hypothyroid.

If we extrapolate this percentage into the general population, even using these outdated conservative measurements, it would mean that over 30 million Americans are hypothyroid.
Hypothyroidism often goes undiagnosed, and is probably one of the most under-diagnosed medical problems in the United States. There are several reasons for this but the biggest problem is the way that thyroid levels are tested. There is a minimum of three tests that should be conducted; for a more comprehensive look at the thyroid that number goes to at least five tests. Unfortunately, many physicians use just one or two tests, which can be very misleading.

Low Thyroid Function

Patients with low thyroid function, even if it’s not severe, can have problems with mood, cognitive function, and memory loss. Patients with depression tend to have higher rates of hypothyroidism than those of the general population, and women seem to be more likely affected than men.

Why is low thyroid so common?

There are many factors contributing to the prevalence of hypothyroidism and we believe a lot of them are environmental. There are three main types of thyroid hormones: TSH, T-3, and T-4. T-3 is by far the most important active thyroid hormone in the body. However, in order to make active T-3 the body has to convert inactive T-4 via an enzyme process, and therein lies the problem. It turns out that this enzyme process is highly susceptible to interference from things like stress, depression, dieting, environmental toxins like plastics and heavy metals, and other disease states. So, unless you’re perfectly healthy and happy living in a toxin-free environment, you may have some degree of thyroid dysfunction.

Autoimmune problems, when the body literally attacks itself, can also cause low thyroid function. Autoimmune thyroiditis, also known as Hashimoto’s disease, can be detected when ordering thyroid antibody level tests. A good starting point for a more accurate assessment of thyroid function includes TSH, free T-3, free T-4, thyroid antibodies and TPO antibodies. For patients that are really having difficulty with detecting or treating thyroid problems we can order a test called reverse T-3.

Effective, Natural Treatment

The biology circle of The Amen Clinics Method includes investigation into thyroid and other hormone function, which is a critical piece of the picture when treating patients for depression, mood issues, fatigue and memory problems. Even if your doctor has told you your thyroid tests are “normal,” your signs and symptoms may still point to low thyroid function and need to be evaluated more closely.

Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

• Fatigue
• Depression
• Impaired memory
• Increased sensitivity to cold
• Constipation
• Dry skin
• Unexplained weight gain
• Puffy face
• Hoarseness
• Muscle weakness
• Elevated blood cholesterol level
• Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
• Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
• Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
• Thinning hair
• Slowed heart rate

We Can Help

At Amen Clinics, we offer bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) as part of our Integrative Medicine program that brings together conventional medicine with complementary and alternative therapies. If you suffer from hypothyroidism, proper testing and hormone replacement therapy may dramatically improve your quality of life. Call to inquire at 888-288-9834 or tell us more online about your symptoms.

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COMMENTS

  1. Kathleen Jacques says:

    In The Brain in Love, Dr. Amen describes the ugly appearance of a SPECT scan of the brain of someone who is hypothyroid. Can you please send me more information on this topic?

  2. Susan Laughrin says:

    I am on a lowered dose of levothyroxine…75mcg……..was always on 88mcg. Dr. wanted to see if my own thyroid would function. Saw an endocrinologist who told me to take the medication at least 1 hour before eating so it could absorb better. It is now a 3 months later and I still have fatigue, depression, memory problems, and many of the other symptoms. I know how delicate the balance is….,…was in ER twice with PVCS’ and I don’t want that to happen again.

    I am a 77 year old female, overweight and tired of it. HELP!

    • Bill says:

      My wife had PVCs for years, recently our BP machine reported an irregular heartbeat.
      We called the doctor’s office, they said go to the ER immediately.
      Tests showed she had very low levels of potassium.
      After getting four bags of pot she felt much better.
      Pot = potassium… Just saying.
      She hasn’t had a PVC nor a report of irregular heartbeat since.
      Sometimes we have a serious problem with an easy answer.
      Doctor took her off of her diuretic gave her some potassium pills and suggested bananas as snacks.
      A friend of mine was very low in magnesium that resulted in developing a-fib.
      Two ablations later he is OK.
      We have been youtubing our way through different ways to take care of electrolytes and minerals.
      Maybe you can get a blood test concentrating on potassium, etc?

    • Kristine York says:

      Susan Laughlin, I highly recommend joining a group on Facebook called Adrenal Fatigue and Thyroid Care. We are all in the same boat as you, but many are further along and point you in the right direction. The admins are highly knowledgeable and can interpret your lab work. For starters, read the book Stop the Thyroid Madness by Janie A. Bowthorpe. Last but not least, you need a better doctor! But read the book first. There is hope!

  3. Eva Glik says:

    Can you help me?

    • Amen Clinics says:

      Hello Eva, yes we’d be happy to have a Care Coordinator reach out to directly via email. Thank you.

  4. Marivi Wolfe says:

    I had Thyroid cancer and a complete Thyroidecyomy in 09 there Is no research (I can find) on long term effects of Synthroid and keeping your TSH super low. What effects happen on synthetics. I am aware of the bone density effect. I am post menopausal since 2010, and all sorts of things are happening.
    Depression weight gain, pretty much everything in article

  5. Jen says:

    I’m taking armourthyroid 60 mg. I heard that levothyroxine is better. Can I have my dr switch me to l-thyroxine? If so what dose would I take that’d be equivalent to 60 mg armor thyroid. How often should I have thyroid levels tested?

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