When To See Your Gp
Symptoms of an underactive thyroid are often similar to those of other conditions, and they usually develop slowly, so you may not notice them for years.
You should see your GP and ask to be tested for an underactive thyroid if you have symptoms including:
- being sensitive to the cold
- dry skin and hair
- muscle aches
The only accurate way of finding out whether you have a thyroid problem is to have a thyroid function test, where a sample of blood is tested to measure your hormone levels.
Read more about testing for an underactive thyroid
How To Fix Thyroid Problems
If you suffer from thyroid problems, you may have one of many thyroid conditions that can complicate your health. The only purpose of the thyroid gland is to make thyroid hormones. According to the website Endocrineweb, This hormone has an effect on nearly all tissues of the body where it increases cellular activity. Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are the most common thyroid problems associated with abnormal hormone levels. Cancer, goiters, solitary nodules and thyroiditis are other complications. If you feel generally unwell, or exhibit a number of symptoms of one of these conditions, a visit to your physician is in order.
Things Youll Need
How to Fix Thyroid Problems
Tips & Warnings
- Symptoms are the most important factor when being diagnosed with a thyroid problem. Even if your blood tests are in what your doctor considers a normal range, you still may need treatment.
- Aetnas InteliHealth website advises that, calcium, iron tablets, iron in multivitamins and the cholesterol-lowering medications cholestyramine and colestipol can interfere with thyroid hormone absorption. You should take your thyroid pill on an empty stomach a few hours before taking anything else.
Treats Dry And Flaky Skin
Dry, flaky and itchy skin is a common problem associated with hypothyroidism. The slowed metabolism due to an underactive thyroid causes reduced sweating, thus leading to dry skin.
Coarse, rough and dry skin is the most common cutaneous feature in patients with hypothyroidism, according to a 2012 study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology.
To get rid of dry and itchy skin, coconut oil is highly effective. The fatty acids in it help restore the lost moisture and improve skin health.
Liberally apply warm coconut oil over your dry and itchy skin and massage for 10 minutes. Wait 30 minutes, then take a bath. Do this daily.
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How Is Graves’ Disease Diagnosed
Graves’ disease is diagnosed based on a visit with a doctor who will review the symptoms and examine the patient.
It’s important to do lab tests too, because many people can have some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism for other reasons. Sometimes the blood tests aren’t enough to be sure of the diagnosis and other tests are needed, like a thyroid scan or ultrasound.
What Is The Thyroid
The thyroid gland is a small organ thats located in the front of the neck, wrapped around the windpipe . Its shaped like a butterfly, smaller in the middle with two wide wings that extend around the side of your throat. The thyroid is a gland. You have glands throughout your body, where they create and release substances that help your body do a specific thing. Your thyroid makes hormones that help control many vital functions of your body.
When your thyroid doesnt work properly, it can impact your entire body. If your body makes too much thyroid hormone, you can develop a condition called hyperthyroidism. If your body makes too little thyroid hormone, its called hypothyroidism. Both conditions are serious and need to be treated by your healthcare provider.
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Food Intolerances Are Different Than Food Allergies
Food allergies are mediated by the IgE part of the immune system, take effect immediately and are often called True Allergies by medical professionals. However, this terminology is a misnomer and suggests that only IgE allergies exist and that reactions mediated by different parts of the immune system are nonexistent. Allergy Testing I looked back at my immunology notes, and guess what? There are at least two other parts of the immune system that react to foodsthe IgA and IgG branch. Testing for food intolerances can be extremely helpful. The tests to focus on are tests that look at the IgA or IgG response to foods through a blood test. In contrast, IgE testing is used for food allergies, that are anaphylactic in nature and usually consists of testing the skins reaction to the foods. Elimination Diet If one cannot afford to test, elimination diets are the gold standard for food intolerances. Basically, the person should cut out the suspected foods for 3 weeks and introduce the foods in one at a time every 4 days.
How To Diagnose Hyperthyroidism At Home
Ari Whitten: Interesting, maybe we can get into that a little bit later. I want to step back a little bit because were talking about some of these advanced diagnostic tests. But beyond actually getting these tests, is there a way, through symptoms, that someone could start to maybe suspect that they might have hypothyroidism?
Dr. Izabella Wentz: Oh, definitely. The only word of caution here is that the symptoms can be very non-specific. So, thyroid hormones have receptors in every cell in our body. So we end up having anxiety could be a symptom, whereas that could be a symptom of a dozen other things.
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What Natural Home Remedies And Supplements Treat Thyroid Problems
Supplements that contain large amounts of iodine such as seaweed can make thyroid hormone levels go very high or very low if you have nodular goiter and a history of an autoimmune thyroid condition such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease.
There is no scientific evidence that herbal supplements, yoga poses, natural thyroid treatments, or natural thyroid remedies improve thyroid health and function. Dietary supplements are not regulated by any agency and therefore there is no quality control of these supplements. It is not recommended that any supplement be taken for thyroid health.
Don’t take supplements for your thyroid problem without consulting a doctor.
How Nutrient Deficiencies Can Trigger Hashimotos Hypothyroidism
Ari Whitten: We dont have too much more time here so I want to just try and walk a couple more questions what do you think about nutrient deficiencies in the context of Hashimotos, are there some nutrient deficiencies that can contribute to the problem?
Dr. Izabella Wentz: Absolutely, so thats a very well-known root cause, and the most common nutrient deficiencies are going to be selenium, thiamin, vitamin D, B12, ferritin, as well as magnesium. So these are the things that I recommend looking into. Vitamin D, ferritin, B12, you want to test for. The others, I actually recommend supplementing with regardless of doing a test that shows the deficiency, because you might still benefit. And most of them youre not going to see them on a blood test.
Ari Whitten: I think there was an impressive study on thiamin. or not thiamin or riboflavin, I know youve talked about it in relation to the fatigue in people with Hashimotos.
Dr. Izabella Wentz: Yes, thiamin is to me its one of the best things you can do for thyroid fatigue. When I was in pharmacy school I was taught that thiamin deficiency was only in alcoholics, but thats the furthest thing from the truth. Truth is that really high thiamin deficiency is going to be in alcoholics. That we can have subclinical thiamin deficiency when we have any kind of gut issues. So, people with Hashimotos, Crohns disease, irritable bowel syndrome, they could be at risk for this.
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What Is Thyroid Disease
Thyroid disease is a general term for a medical condition that keeps your thyroid from making the right amount of hormones. Your thyroid typically makes hormones that keep your body functioning normally. When the thyroid makes too much thyroid hormone, your body uses energy too quickly. This is called hyperthyroidism. Using energy too quickly will do more than make you tired it can make your heart beat faster, cause you to lose weight without trying and even make you feel nervous. On the flip-side of this, your thyroid can make too little thyroid hormone. This is called hypothyroidism. When you have too little thyroid hormone in your body, it can make you feel tired, you might gain weight and you may even be unable to tolerate cold temperatures.
These two main disorders can be caused by a variety of conditions. They can also be passed down through families .
What Is The Function Of The Thyroid Gland
The thyroid is hailed as the master gland of our complex and interdependent endocrine system. Put another way, its the spoon that stirs our hormonal soup. It produces several hormones that transport energy into every cell in the body and are vital for feeling happy, warm and lithe. The thyroid gland also acts as the boss of our metabolism. Which is why symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain and fatigue as well as constipation, depression, low body temperature, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, edema , hair loss, infertility, joint aches and light sensitivity.
Which is why symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain and fatigue as well as constipation, depression, low body temperature, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, edema , hair loss, infertility, joint aches and light sensitivity.
In part because these symptoms are so common, the thyroid is too often the last place medical practitioners look for a problem. When doctors do choose to run labs, they routinely operate under the misguided conviction that hypothyroidism can be diagnosed via a single blood test of thyroid stimulating hormone , which ultimately reveals little about overall thyroid function. And even when a TSH test is relevant, the interpretation of the results is often incorrect.
Its no wonder thyroid patient and activist Janie Bowthorpe, MEd, author of Stop the Thyroid Madness , has nicknamed TSH thyroid stimulating hooey.
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How Does Thyroid Disease Affect Pregnancy
Pregnancy-related hormones raise the level of thyroid hormones in the blood. Thyroid hormones are necessary for the baby’s brain development while in the womb.
It can be harder to diagnose thyroid problems during pregnancy because of the change in hormone levels that normally happen during pregnancy. But it is especially important to check for problems before getting pregnant and during pregnancy. Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause problems for both mother and baby.
Hyperthyroidism that is not treated with medicine during pregnancy can cause:
- Premature birth
- a serious condition starting after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia causes high blood pressure and problems with the kidneys and other organs. The only cure for preeclampsia is childbirth.
- Thyroid storm
- Fast heart rate in the newborn, which can lead to heart failure, poor weight gain, or an enlarged thyroid that can make it hard to breathe
- Low birth weight
What Happens If You Dont Treat Hypothyroidism
Without treatment, hypothyroidism can lead to serious mental and physical health problems. It can also make it harder to get pregnant. During pregnancy, insufficient thyroid hormone can be dangerous for both the mother and the baby.
Hypothyroidism affects your mind as well as your body. It can slow your thoughts, make you forgetful, and affect your ability to concentrate. In fact, hypothyroidism is one of the reversible causes of dementia.
Not having enough thyroid hormone puts a damper on your emotional well-being, too. You could experience more mood swings and irritability. People with hypothyroidism might be more likely to have anxiety and depression. If you already suffer from depression, being hypothyroid can make it harder to treat.
An underactive thyroid might become enlarged we call this a goiter. Goiters are usually painless lumps in the front of your neck. They can cause you to cough, make your voice hoarse, and affect your breathing and swallowing. If the goiter is small and doesnt cause symptoms, it may not need to be treated. Treatment, if necessary, usually consists of medication or surgery.
Fertility and pregnancy
Hypothyroid women who do get pregnant have a higher risk of miscarriage. They are also at risk of other pregnancy complications like:
High blood pressure
It all sounds scary, but relax! The risks to moms and babies are avoidable with the right treatment.
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How Infections Can Trigger Hypothyroidism And Hashimotos
Since were limited on time, I want to ask you to just talk about one. Can you tell me a little about infections in Hashimotos?
Dr. Izabella Wentz: Yeah, so infections can trigger Hashimoto through a few different pathways. Molecular mimicry is one, and then the other one is going to be through if theyre inside the thyroid gland through the bystander effect. But some of the more common ones, are going to be the Epstein-Barr virus, blastocystis hominis, H. pylori is very common and then were looking at various yeast and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth and Ive seen a whole host of various parasites that are in the gut, and they lead to gut permeability.
I know there are studies that show that these kinds of parasites are also present in people with chronic fatigue syndrome, and Im not surprised to hear that. The good news is once we find them and we get rid of them, we start feeling better, and we get we get our energy back, digestion improves, antibodies reduce.
Ari Whitten: Interesting. So you mentioned molecular mimicry. Im sure there may be a few people who know what that is, but can you just explain it real quick, so people understand what that is and how it relates to autoimmune Hashimotos?
The bystander effect is when the infection is within the thyroid gland and then the immune system tries to attack the infection and tries to blow up its home which happens to be, the thyroid gland.
Is There A Higher Risk Of Developing Thyroid Disease If I Have Diabetes
If you have diabetes, youre at a higher risk of developing a thyroid disease than people without diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. If you already have one autoimmune disorder, you are more likely to develop another one.
For people with type 2 diabetes, the risk is lower, but still there. If you have type 2 diabetes, youre more likely to develop a thyroid disease later in life.
Regular testing is recommended to check for thyroid issues. Those with type 1 diabetes may be tested more often immediately after diagnosis and then every year or so than people with type 2 diabetes. There isnt a regular schedule for testing if you have type 2 diabetes, however your healthcare provider may suggest a schedule for testing over time.
If you have diabetes and get a positive thyroid test, there are a few things to you can do to help feel the best possible. These tips include:
- Getting enough sleep.
- Taking all of your medications as directed.
- Getting tested regularly as directed by your healthcare provider.
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How Is Hyperthyroidism Diagnosed
Contact your doctor if you have symptoms of an overactive thyroid. He or she will check for an enlarged thyroid gland, rapid pulse, moist skin, eye changes, and a slight tremor in your fingers or hand. Your doctor also will do a blood test to measure the amount of thyroid hormone in your blood. This confirms the diagnosis.
Your doctor may do a thyroid scan to find the cause. If your entire thyroid is affected, you have Graves disease. Or the doctor will look for thyroid nodules or an inflammation.
Your doctor also may do a radioactive iodine uptake test. This test measures your thyroids ability to take up iodine. A high uptake of iodine means your thyroid gland may be producing too much hormone. This indicates Graves disease or a hyperfunctioning thyroid nodule. A low uptake of iodine indicates thyroiditis as the cause.
Can I Live A Normal Life With A Thyroid Disease
A thyroid disease is often a life-long medical condition that you will need to manage constantly. This often involves a daily medication. Your healthcare provider will monitor your treatments and make adjustments over time. However, you can usually live a normal life with a thyroid disease. It may take some time to find the right treatment option for you and control your hormone levels, but then people with these types of conditions can usually live life without many restrictions.
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What Causes Thyroid Disease
The two main types of thyroid disease are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Both conditions can be caused by other diseases that impact the way the thyroid gland works.
Conditions that can cause hypothyroidism include:
- Thyroiditis: This condition is an inflammation of the thyroid gland. Thyroiditis can lower the amount of hormones your thyroid produces.
- Hashimotos thyroiditis: A painless disease, Hashimotos thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition where the bodys cells attack and damage the thyroid. This is an inherited condition.
- Postpartum thyroiditis: This condition occurs in 5% to 9% of women after childbirth. Its usually a temporary condition.
- Iodine deficiency: Iodine is used by the thyroid to produce hormones. An iodine deficiency is an issue that affects several million people around the world..
- A non-functioning thyroid gland: Sometimes, the thyroid gland doesnt work correctly from birth. This affects about 1 in 4,000 newborns. If left untreated, the child could have both physical and mental issues in the future. All newborns are given a screening blood test in the hospital to check their thyroid function.
Conditions that can cause hyperthyroidism include: