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 This study was done with outdated measurement values that were actually much too conservative, so in reality the number of participants who would now be diagnosed as hypothyroid would be much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If we extrapolate this percentage into the general population, even using these outdated conservative measurements, it would mean that over 30 million Americans are hypothyroid.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:
• Impaired memory
• Increased sensitivity to cold
• Dry skin
• Unexplained weight gain
• Puffy face
• 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.