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
What Are Thyroid Nodules
A thyroid is a swelling in one section of the thyroid gland. The nodule may be solid or filled with fluid or blood. You may have just one thyroid nodule or many.
Thyroid nodules are common and affect four times as many women as men. Researchers do not know why nodules form in otherwise normal thyroids.
Reason #8 You Have A Blood Sugar Problem
Dont Overlook the importance of Healthy Blood Sugar. Healthy Thyroid Function is absolutely dependent on healthy blood sugar levels. Blood Sugar problem are rampant among Americans, but they pose a special problem to those of you suffering with Hypothyroidism and Hashimotos Thyroiditis. Its important to understand that whether you have high or low blood sugar, you probably have some degree of insulin resistance. Insulin is a fat storing hormone that takes sugar in the blood and shuttles it into the cells. Insulin resistance occurs when the insulin receptors on the cell fail to respond and consequently your blood sugar stays elevated. Elevated Insulin levels are at the root of many disease processes such as Heart disease, PCOS, Fibroids, Hormonal imbalances, Leptin Resistance, and of course Cancer.
Elevated blood sugar as in the case of Insulin resistance or Diabetes is a contributing factor to thyroid conversion problems. If you have fasting blood sugar levels over 100 and elevated triglycerides theres a good chance you are the 1 in 3 Americans with insulin resistance and doesnt know it.
What Does The Thyroid Do
Your thyroid has an important job to do within your body releasing and controlling thyroid hormones that control metabolism. Metabolism is a process where the food you take into your body is transformed into energy. This energy is used throughout your entire body to keep many of your bodys systems working correctly. Think of your metabolism as a generator. It takes in raw energy and uses it to power something bigger.
The thyroid controls your metabolism with a few specific hormones T4 and T3 . These two hormones are created by the thyroid and they tell the bodys cells how much energy to use. When your thyroid works properly, it will maintain the right amount of hormones to keep your metabolism working at the right rate. As the hormones are used, the thyroid creates replacements.
This is all supervised by something called the pituitary gland. Located in the center of the skull, below your brain, the pituitary gland monitors and controls the amount of thyroid hormones in your bloodstream. When the pituitary gland senses a lack of thyroid hormones or a high level of hormones in your body, it will adjust the amounts with its own hormone. This hormone is called thyroid stimulating hormone . The TSH will be sent to the thyroid and it will tell the thyroid what needs to be done to get the body back to normal.
Treating An Underactive Thyroid
Treatment for an underactive thyroid involves taking daily hormone replacement tablets, called levothyroxine, to raise your thyroxine levels.
You’ll initially have regular blood tests until the correct dose of levothyroxine is reached. This can take a little while to get right.
Once you’re taking the correct dose, you’ll usually have a blood test once a year to monitor your hormone levels.
You’ll usually need treatment for the rest of your life. However, with proper treatment, you should be able to lead a normal, healthy life.
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If You’re Still Feeling Depressed Tired And The Scale Won’t Budge You’d Be Surprised How These Small Tweaks Can Get Your Tsh Levels Normalized
For about one in seven of the 10 to 12 million Americans with an underactive thyroid gland, conventional treatment with the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine just isnt enough.1 If you continue to feel sick, tired, depressed or have symptoms like stubborn weight gain, its worth talking with your doctor about the best solution for treating your hypothyroidism. But in the meantime, these tips might be just what you need to help you get the most out of your levothyroxine:
#2. Practice patience and ask for tests. Some people start feeling more energetic and alert within a week or two of starting thyroid hormone but not everyone. It could take a month or two to feel better. And you may have to see your doctor several times for tests of your blood levels of thyroid stimulating hormone and adjustments to your levothyroxine dose to get it just right. 2
Early research from Chicagos Rush University suggests that a genetic mutation could be responsible, preventing enzymes from making the conversion. But more studies are needed.9
Testing T3 levels in people with lingering symptoms is also controversial. In one new study, published in April 2017 in the European Thyroid Journal, researchers found that combination therapy helped 24 out of 37 people in this situation. But it didnt seem to matter whether they had low T3 levels beforehand or if their levels rose during treatment. 11
What Blood Tests Do Doctors Use To Check Thyroid Function
Doctors may order one or more blood tests to check your thyroid function. Tests may include thyroid stimulating hormone , T4, T3, and thyroid antibody tests.
For these tests, a health care professional will draw blood from your arm and send it to a lab for testing. Your doctor will talk to you about your test results.
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Reason #1 Vitamin Deficiency
Most patients with Thyroid disease find themselves with many vitamin deficiencies not only vitamin D or B12. While I highly doubt that a deficiency in any one singular vitamin is causing your thyroid to stop working, multiple vitamin deficiencies and mineral deficiencies increase your odds. Some of the most deficiencies seen in thyroid disease include Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin K Zinc, Selenium, Iron, Iodine, and your B- complex vitamins .
Vitamin A is needed for improving cellular sensitivity
Oral Contraceptives/natural Hormone Replacement Therapy
This is a really well-known and straightforward consideration, but it remains one that is often missed by people.
Your body makes a blocking protein called thyroid-binding globulin. It is in proportion to how much estrogen can be found in your system.
If you are a menstruating woman, this is one of the reasons that your levels change throughout the month.
But, when you are adding in an oral contraceptive , it can radically change your bodys response to thyroid medication.
This is essentially true with any form of hormone replacement, or even if you start and stop things like these. If you are changing your estrogen levels, you are potentially compromising your medications ability to work effectively.
When a doctor is adding or removing estrogen, it is advisable to plan ahead of time.
In cases like these, you may need a boost or a decrease in the amount of medication that you are taking in line with your hormonal needs.
At Integrative Health, for instance, our doctors actively adjust these things to make sure we are always one step ahead. It starts with a small amount, and then we re-check and give it some finetuning as needs arise and change.
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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Thyroid Surgery
It will take your body a few weeks to recover after your thyroid is surgically removed . During this time you should avoid a few things, including:
- Submerging your incision under water.
- Lifting an object thats heavier than 15 pounds.
- Doing more than light exercise.
This generally lasts for about two weeks. After that, you can return to your normal activities.
Are There Different Types Of Thyroid Removal Surgery
If your healthcare provider determines that your thyroid needs to be removed, there are a couple of ways that can be done. Your thyroid may need to be completely removed or just partially. This will depend on the severity of your condition. Also, if your thyroid is very big or has a lot of growths on it, that could prevent you from being eligible for some types of surgery.
The surgery to remove your thyroid is called a thyroidectomy. There are two main ways this surgery can be done:
- With an incision on the front of your neck.
- With an incision in your armpit.
The incision on the front of your neck is more of the traditional version of a thyroidectomy. It allows your surgeon to go straight in and remove the thyroid. In many cases, this might be your best option. You may need this approach if your thyroid is particularly big or has a lot of larger nodules.
Alternatively, there is a version of the thyroid removal surgery where your surgeon makes an incision in your armpit and then creates a tunnel to your thyroid. This tunnel is made with a special tool called an elevated retractor. It creates an opening that connects the incision in your armpit with your neck. The surgeon will use a robotic arm that will move through the tunnel to get to the thyroid. Once there, it can remove the thyroid back through the tunnel and out of the incision in your armpit.
- Are not at a healthy body weight.
- Have large thyroid nodules.
- Have a condition like thyroiditis or Gravess disease.
Reason #4 Untreated Or Undiagnosed Adrenal Dysfunction Due To Stress
Chronic Stress is no stranger to those who suffer with thyroid disease. But its the stress hormones like cortisol and DHEA that have a tremendous impact on thyroid function. Too much cortisol, too little cortisol or too little DHEA pose huge problems for proper thyroid function.
If you have weakened adrenals, due to chronic stress, fluctuating blood sugar levels, or inflammation, youll need to support your adrenals.
Remember your adrenals are your FIGHT/FLIGHT glands- any amount of stress on them can have far ranging effects on the body, including digestion.
Life Without Your Thyroid
If your doctor recommends thyroid removal or youve already had your thyroid removed, you must partner with your doctor to optimize thyroid hormone replacement. This involves routinely checking your thyroid hormone levels to avoid overtreatment and undertreatment.
The body must have just enough thyroid hormone. Too much or too little causes symptoms. It can take some time to find the optimal dose and stabilize your symptoms. However, thyroid hormone replacement therapy is fairly straightforward.
Aside from having your thyroid levels tested regularly and taking medication daily to give your body the thyroid hormone it needs, people without a thyroid live an otherwise normal life.
Adjusting to life without your thyroid means taking medication and checking in with your doctor. Most people adjust easily. The most important aspect is making sure to take your medication each day.
If you have your thyroid and have symptoms, Dr. Morayati can perform a comprehensive thyroid evaluation. If you need replacement therapy, we can help. To learn more, and schedule an appointment with Dr. Morayati at our Burlington, North Carolina office to discuss your thyroid health. Here at Burlington Medical Center, we offer in-person andtelehealth appointments.
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When Your Thyroid Medication Isnt Working
Health Tips / When Your Thyroid Medication Isnt Working
Lets start with two thyroid facts:
The diagnosis of hypothyroidism is missed by most physicians. Patients arrive with obvious symptoms of hypothyroidism every doctor learned in medical school, among them sensitivity to cold, weight gain, dry skin, fatigue, and constipation. The doctor listens, sometimes attentively, and then orders a TSH blood test. TSH does not come from the thyroid itself, but rather from the pituitary, a Wizard of Oz sort of gland that controls your thyroid from behind its curtain.
Understand that a high TSH test result indicates low thyroid function. Think of your pituitary churning out the hormone in an attempt to stimulate your thyroid. If your TSH is within normal range , youre told that low thyroid is not a problem and youre sent on your merry way, tired, cold, sluggish, and depressed, thinking I thought it was my thyroid.
What your doctor should be measuring are your actual thyroid hormones, T3 and T4, and testing you for the common thyroid autoimmune disease called Hashimotos thyroiditis. She also should know that many endocrinologists now believe any TSH test result above 2.5 should be treated as an indicator of low thyroid. Probably 20% to 30% of adults drag around with their TSH higher than 2.5.
Feeling Conflicted About Thyroid Medication
You need to be involved in the decisions regarding your care, and how you feel about your medication and its effects are of central importance. With a thyroid condition, your symptoms can be a good reflection of how well the medication is working. But the constellation of symptoms and side effects associated with thyroid disease can make it difficult to know whether you feel better overall with or without your thyroid medication.
Since you may be conflicted about your thyroid medication, it is a good idea to think about your reasons for feeling so conflicted, to discuss these reasons with your doctor, and to fully understand the consequences of untreated thyroid disease.
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Who Is More Likely To Develop Hyperthyroidism
Women are 2 to 10 times more likely than men to develop hyperthyroidism.2 You are more likely to have hyperthyroidism if you
- have a family history of thyroid disease
- have other health problems, including
- pernicious anemia, a condition caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency
- primary adrenal insufficiency, a hormonal disorder
Is Hyperthyroidism During Pregnancy A Problem
Thyroid hormone levels that are just a little high are usually not a problem in pregnancy. However, more severe hyperthyroidism that isnt treated can affect both the mother and the baby. If you have hyperthyroidism, be sure your disease is under control before becoming pregnant. Learn more about causes, diagnosis, and treatment of hyperthyroidism during pregnancy.
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How Is Thyroid Disease Treated
Your healthcare providers goal is to return your thyroid hormone levels to normal. This can be done in a variety of ways and each specific treatment will depend on the cause of your thyroid condition.
If you have high levels of thyroid hormones , treatment options can include:
- Anti-thyroid drugs : These are medications that stop your thyroid from making hormones.
- Radioactive iodine: This treatment damages the cells of your thyroid, preventing it from making high levels of thyroid hormones.
- Beta blockers: These medications dont change the amount of hormones in your body, but they help control your symptoms.
- Surgery: A more permanent form of treatment, your healthcare provider may surgically remove your thyroid . This will stop it from creating hormones. However, you will need to take thyroid replacement hormones for the rest of your life.
If you have low levels of thyroid hormones , the main treatment option is:
- Thyroid replacement medication: This drug is a synthetic way to add thyroid hormones back into your body. One drug thats commonly used is called levothyroxine. By using a medication, you can control thyroid disease and live a normal life.
The Lowdown On Thyroid Slowdown
Hypothyroidism can cause a host of health problems. Fortunately, an underactive thyroid can be easily diagnosed and treated.
Midlife can bring subtle changes in our skin, hair, energy, weight, and even mental outlook. Before writing them off as products of aging, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re not the result of an underactive thyroid.
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Too Much Thyroid Hormone Medicine
Some people who take thyroid hormone medicine for hypothyroidism may take too much. If you take thyroid hormone medicine, you should see your doctor at least once a year to have your thyroid hormone levels checked. You may need to adjust your dose if your thyroid hormone level is too high.
Some other medicines may also interact with thyroid hormone medicine to raise hormone levels. If you take thyroid hormone medicine, ask your doctor about interactions when starting new medicines.
The Wrong Potency Dispensed
Over the years, I have learned the importance of assuming as little as possible.
Thats because I have witnessed so many times, someone coming in and saying I was on what you prescribed and it wasnt working well.
Following that statement, I would always ask people to bring in their medication when they came in for an appointment. The results were always eye-opening.
In fact, youd be surprised how often I would look at the prescription bottle and the potency was not at all what the patient was supposed to be getting.
There are also times where it may say the potency, but the tablets do not line up with the potency that it is supposed to have.
Any tablet that you have, based upon the code imprinted upon it, as well as the color and the scoring , you can put that code into Google and determine what you have.
The thing to know is that there are times where the label may say one thing, and the tablets themselves are something completely different.
Those things happen, and they matter. It may seem like an obvious thing, but it is always a good idea to double-check and make sure.
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