A Note From Paloma Health
The information shared in this article is intended to empower you with the information you need to treat your thyroid condition and feel your best! Work with a thyroid doctor to determine the best treatment plan for your specific needs, including medication, nutrition, and lifestyle modifications.
Signs And Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism
Thyroid disorders are common. In fact, about 12% of people will experience abnormal thyroid function at some point during their lives.
Women are eight times more likely to develop a thyroid disorder than men. Also, thyroid problems increase with age and may affect adults differently than children.
At the most basic level, thyroid hormone is responsible for coordinating energy, growth and metabolism in your body.
Problems can occur when this hormones levels are too high or low.
Hypothyroidism, or low levels of thyroid hormone, slows your metabolism and decreases growth or repair of many parts of the body.
What Low Tsh And Low T3 Truly Means
Hi Dr. C,My functional medicine doctor says my T3 is too low but when he raises my dose my TSH gets too low but my T3 does not go up. What can I do?Lorraine
Great question Lorraine,We can take a step back and ask if your T3 really is too low. You can read more about that here How High Should My T3 Be?
The rest of this blog will answer your question assuming your T3 is too low.
The issue of low TSH and low T3 comes up a lot. Youd think that adding more T3 would work as a low T3 treatment, but thats not the case.
Lets discuss the in-depth reasons behind this complicated process to help you make sense of what your TSH and free hormone levels truly mean.
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Can Hypothyroidism Go Away On Its Own
In some mild cases, you may not have symptoms of hypothyroidism or the symptoms may fade over time. In other cases, the symptoms of hypothyroidism will go away shortly after you start treatment. For those with particularly low levels of thyroid hormones, hypothyroidism is a life-long condition that will need to be controlled with medication on a regular schedule. It can be controlled very well and you can live a normal life with hypothyroidism.
Weakness And Aches In Muscles And Joints
Low thyroid hormone flips the metabolic switch toward catabolism, which is when the body breaks down body tissues like muscle for energy .
During catabolism, muscle strength decreases, potentially leading to feelings of weakness. The process of breaking down muscle tissue can also lead to aching .
Everyone feels weak once in a while. However, people with hypothyroidism are twice as likely to feel more weak than usual, compared to healthy people (
One study in 35 individuals with hypothyroidism showed that replacing low levels of thyroid hormone with a synthetic thyroid hormone called levothyroxine improved muscle strength and decreased aches and pains, compared to no treatment .
Another study showed a 25% improvement in the sense of physical well-being among patients receiving thyroid replacement .
Weakness and aches are normal following strenuous activity. However, new, and especially increasing, weakness or aching is a good reason to make an appointment with your physician.
Summary: Low levels of thyroid hormone slow down your metabolism and can cause painful muscle breakdown.
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Can You Switch From Levothyroxine To Armour Thyroid
Transferring from levothyroxine to Armour requires dose adjustments. If you are switching from levothyroxine or Synthroid over to Armour thyroid then you must consider how to adjust your dose during the transition. Unfortunately, its not as easy as just saying well, Im taking 100mcg of levothyroxine so I will need 100mg of Armour thyroid.
What You Should Do When The Levels Are Low
When your TSH levels are low, it is vital to consult your doctor to find the underlying cause of the abnormality. For there, your doctor will prescribe the appropriate medication and other recommendations, which includes the following:
Doctors will typically prescribe an anti-thyroid drug to increase your levels caused by hyperthyroidism. Depending on the severity of your condition, surgery may be necessary. This type of surgical procedure has a high chance of success for complete recovery.
For patients with hypothyroidism, your doctor may prescribe hormone replacement therapy to boost your TSH level.
- Diet Changes
A dietary change is essential to increase your TSH. The most valuable minerals for hyperthyroidism are selenium and iodine. You have to include foods that are rich in these two minerals. The common sources of iodine are sea vegetables, cranberries, and yogurt. For examples of selenium-rich foods, you can eat beef liver, chicken, halibut, and Brazil nuts.
In addition, a low TSH can also be a result of abnormal blood sugar levels. Your doctor will prescribe a medication to balance this abnormality. You also have to follow a diet plan that will help regulate your blood sugar levels.
How Can I Treat A Thyroid Imbalance
Dr. Tates holistic approach to healthcare treats your imbalanced thyroid as an essential part of the entire body rather than an isolated concern. She works to understand the root cause of the imbalance to ensure you receive the best care.
At Grassroots Healthcare, we work to recommend a course of treatment that alleviates symptoms while improving the health of your thyroid. Depending on your symptoms, test results, and health history, Dr. Tate may recommend nutritional supplements, a healthy eating plan, medications, and changes to your lifestyle.
If youre experiencing symptoms of an imbalanced thyroid, the caring team at Grassroots Healthcare in Tulsa, Oklahoma, can help. Schedule your appointment today by visiting us here.
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Is Hypothyroidism During Pregnancy A Problem
Left untreated, hypothyroidism during pregnancy can affect both mother and baby. However, thyroid medicines can help prevent problems and are safe to take during pregnancy. Many women taking thyroid hormone medicine need a higher dose during pregnancy, so contact your doctor right away if you find out youre pregnant.
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Can Hypothyroidism Cause Erectile Dysfunction
In some cases, there can be a connection between untreated hypothyroidism and erectile dysfunction. When your hypothyroidism is caused by an issue with the pituitary gland, you can also have low testosterone levels. Treating hypothyroidism can often help with erectile dysfunction if it was directly caused by the hormone imbalance.
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What Is The Thyroid And What Does It Do
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. It is a thyroid hormone factory! Thyroid hormones control everything your body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism, weight. They even affect how your skin, hair, and nails behave.
Your thyroid gland takes iodine from your blood to make the hormone thyroxine or T4. The 4 is because it has four iodine molecules. Another thyroid hormone is T3 with three iodine molecules. More on the iodine later.
Your thyroid is in constant communication with your brain. Your brain sends out a signal called thyroid stimulating hormone . TSH tells the thyroid when the factory needs to up its production. When the body has enough thyroid hormone, the brain relaxes. It sends out less TSH telling the thyroid to make less hormones. Hows that for teamwork?
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What Is Hypothyroidism And What Causes It
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormone to meet the bodys needs. It affects about 4.6% of the population, or almost 5 out of every 100 people . People over the age of 60 are at especially high risk. Other important risk factors include:
Medications: Certain medications can affect your thyroid hormone levels. Some common ones are:
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How Do I Know If I Have Hypothyroidism
With Hashimotos thyroiditis, the onset of symptoms is usually very gradual, evolving over months to years. Usually the disease is detected when the patients symptoms are mild, before any profound changes develop. Many people are diagnosed by a blood test before they are even symptomatic. When symptoms do develop, they commonly include low energy, weight gain, intolerance to cold, muscle aches, joint aches, and constipation. Women may note a change in their menstrual periods.
More advanced symptoms include a slowed heart rate, low body temperature, and changes in the skin and nails . The lateral portions of the eyebrows may thin and there may be swelling of the tissues around the eyes.
Rarely, under stress such as a severe acute illness, patients with untreated or inadequately treated hypothyroidism may develop a severe condition called myxedema coma. Often occurring in hypothyroid patients exposed to cold or an infection, these patients experience hypothermia, hallucinations, severe swelling, and slow heart rate. This is a potentially life-threatening condition that must be treated in an intensive care unit.
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Symptoms Of Low Tsh Levels
Thyroid hormones act on a feedback loop. The pituitary gland is signaled to stop producing TSH when there is enough thyroid hormones, like thyroxine and triiodothyronine , in the blood. When something other than the pituitary gland causes excess thyroid hormone production, TSH levels will drop.
The conditions associated with low TSH levels produce a lot of symptoms, including:
- Diarrhea and frequent bowel movements
Will I Have The Same Dose Of Medication For Hypothyroidism My Entire Life
The dose of your medication can actually change over time. At different points in your life, you may need to have the amounts of medication changed so that it manages your symptoms. This could happen because of things like weight gain or weight loss. Your levels will need to be monitored throughout your life to make sure your medication is working correctly.
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How Is Hypothyroidism Treated
In most cases, hypothyroidism is treated by replacing the amount of hormone that your thyroid is no longer making. This is typically done with a medication. One medication that is commonly used is called levothyroxine. Taken orally, this medication increases the amount of thyroid hormone your body produces, evening out your levels.
Hypothyroidism is a manageable disease. However, you will need to continuously take medication to normalize the amount of hormones in your body for the rest of your life. With careful management, and follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to make sure your treatment is working properly, you can lead a normal and healthy life.
What Is Low Tsh
The endocrine system is responsible for regulating the function of organs in your body. The pituitary gland produces thyroid stimulating hormone . TSH stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones.
If the pituitary gland is not functioning to produce TSH as it should, then the thyroid will not make the level of hormones it should be. This reduction of hormones from the thyroid can lead to many health problems.
Low TSH levels can affect your health, quality of life, and your relationships. The signs of the conditions caused by a low TSH level are essential to know so that you can recognize that you might have a health issue and discuss it with your doctor to get the proper treatment.
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Changes In Your Metabolism
When your metabolism slows, many things can happen. Youâll probably feel tired and sluggish, be constipated, and you may gain weight, explains Adrian Dobs, MD, an endocrinologist at Johns Hopkins.
âSome people feel very sick, but thatâs not common,â she says.
As for those extra pounds, they can be tough to shed, according to Marilyn Tan, MD, chief of the Stanford Endocrine Clinic. Treatment alone wonât reverse the weight gain, she says. âYou really have to work at it.â
What Causes An Overactive Thyroid Gland
The thyroid gland is found in the neck. It produces hormones that are released into the bloodstream to control the body’s growth and metabolism. These hormones are called thyroxine and triiodothyronine.
They affect processes such as heart rate and body temperature, and help convert food into energy to keep the body going.
In hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland produces too much thyroxine or triiodothyronine, which speeds up the body’s metabolism.
There are several possible underlying causes, the most common being Graves’ disease, in which the body’s immune system targets the thyroid gland and causes it to produce too much of the thyroid hormones.
Diagnosing An Underactive Thyroid
Its very important that an underactive thyroid is diagnosed as soon as possible.
Low levels of thyroid-producing hormones, such as triiodothyronine and thyroxine , can change the way the body processes fat.
- are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
- have just given birth
- have another health condition, such as heart disease, which may complicate your medication
- are taking a medication known to cause a reduction in thyroid hormones, such as amiodarone or lithium
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Side Effects Of Too Little Thyroid Med
- 4 Aug 2010 by oldwoman.703
Old symptoms pre-diagnosis returning or synthroid just isnt working well.
Added 19 Aug 2010:
Its seems at times that symtoms are in my mind. I take 10 mg Lipitor 1x, Synthroid 75 mc. 1x, Metoprolol 25 mg. 2x Xanax .25 1/2 2x if needed Aspirin 81mg 1x. long story i day while cutting grass pulse was 120 and would not go down , happened afew more times had tests sinus tachycardia, 1st Metop dose,with Xanax as needed. Kept happening heart rate jump, occasionally 2nd Metroprolol pill.. My B.P. seems normal Systolic is in the 90-100 range. My watch has a pulse monotor , question can resting heart rate while dreaming increase over a 100,its mid 70s when retiring. Seeing primary Sept. 1. Heart rate what is normal ? with or without meds.Thankyou. Im not nuts.
Added 8 Oct 2010:
Saw Primary FT4 was .86 tsh 4.93 Changed to Bystolic 5mg and lexapro 10mg..Still wont change Synthroid.Feeling older by the minute. Heart rate down considerably ,stopped Xanx except for emergancy situations. Still shaking and shivering and achy allover.
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Controversy Over Optimal Tsh
While most laboratories define a normal TSH as between roughly 0.5 mU/l and 5.0 mU/l, some experts argue that the upper limit of a normal TSH should be loweraround 2.5 mU/l.
The reasoning behind this is that the vast majority of adults without thyroid disease have a TSH value between 0.45 and 4.12 mU/l.
In addition, some physicians believe older patients should have a TSH level that is greater than 4.0 mU/l or 5.0 mU/l, since TSH normally increases with age.
Doctors can avoid some of this controversy simply by looking at each person as an individual. For example, a person who still has significant symptoms of hypothyroidism at a TSH of 4.0 mU/l may do better with a goal TSH of around 1.0 mU/l.
In contrast, someone who has health riskssuch as heart disease or osteoporosismay benefit from having a goal TSH that is higher, perhaps around 5.0 mU/l or 6.0 mU/l.
In pregnancy, TSH should not be allowed to rise above 3.0 mU/l for the health of both the baby and mother.
How To Make Sure Sure You Are On The Right Dose
If you have hypothyroidism, you must find the right type and dose of thyroid medication for you. Your doctor will determine your starting dose based on your age, underlying health conditions, and blood test results. Starting doses may vary. For example, some people begin at a full replacement dose of 1.7 mcg/kg/day. In contrast, others are started at low doses between 25mcg-50mcg/day and titrated up as necessary. It can take several weeks to determine if the amount is therapeutic or not.
Once you find the right dose of thyroid medication, is it essential that you stay on that same dose and take it every day. You will also want to use the same brand continuously. Switching between generic and brand medications can change how your body responds to each type of medication. To remain stable on your thyroid medication, make sure that you know about things that can affect thyroid medication absorption.
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How Is Hypothyroidism Diagnosed
It can actually be difficult to diagnose hypothyroidism because the symptoms can be easily confused with other conditions. If you have any of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, talk to your healthcare provider. The main way to diagnose hypothyroidism is a blood test called the thyroid stimulating hormone test. Your healthcare provider may also order blood tests for conditions like Hashimotos disease. If the thyroid is enlarged, your provider may be able to feel it during a physical exam during an appointment.
Synthroid Side Effects That Might Mean Your Dosage Is Way Off
If youre suddenly pitting out, thats not a good sign.
If youve never paid attention to your thyroid, put your hand on the front of your throat and swallow.
The bump that moves is the cartilage often called the Adams apple, and underneath that is where your thyroid sits. Your thyroid is basically the on-board computer for your bodythe hormones it regulates affect almost every system and as long as its doing its job you forget its even there. But when its not working properly? Hell, meet hand basket.
When the thyroid doesnt produce enough hormone, its called hypothyroidism, which can lead to symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, irregular periods, or a slowed heart rate.
The most popular medication used to to treat hypothyroidism and bump up those hormone levels: Synthroid.
Synthroid is the brand name for levothyroxine sodium, a synthetic thyroid hormone pill. Even though Synthroid is a lab-created hormone its identical to the kind produced naturally in the body, says Melanie Goldfarb, M.D., an endocrinologist and thyroid specialist at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Taking Synthroid replaces the hormones that your thyroid should be making but, for whatever reason, isnt.
Although there are about 1 percent of patients that wont respond to Synthroid at all and will need other treatment, the vast majority of people on it feel remarkably better within six weeks of starting it, she adds.
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