Many people experience symptoms caused by low thyroid function but are told by GPs their blood tests are 'normal'. Standard blood tests generally pick up the most severe cases of hypothyroid, but will frequently miss milder cases. Even moderate and subclinical hypothyroidism can cause debilitating fatigue and stubborn weight problems. Suboptimal thyroid function can cause the following symptoms:
- Fatigue / weakness
- Weight gain / hard to lose weight
- Tendency for constipation
- Tendency to feel depressed
- High intolerance to cold / cold hands and feet
- Coarse, brittle or lusterless hair / hair loss or thinning
- Dry, scaling/flaking or course skin (e.g. cracked heels)
- Rounded puffy face
- Puffy around eyes or droopy/baggy eyelids
- Thinning or loss of outer third of eyebrows
- Swollen/puffy ankles or legs
- Slow resting heart rate (less than 65)
Naturopaths at NatMed can assess your thyroid function in more detail and help you determine if your symptoms are related to thyroid function or to other issues.
GPs often measure only TSH levels. Other tests may need to be run such as free T4, free T3, reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies. Basal body temperature measurements may be suggested and urine iodine levels may also be performed.
Thyroid hormones are manufactured in our body out of the mineral iodine and the amino acid tyrosine. Key nutrients needed to support thyroid hormone production include iodine, tyrosine, selenium, vitamin A and zinc. In addition to these nutrients, a patients liver health and function should be considered. The liver is responsible for a large proportion of the conversion of the biologically inactive T4 into its active form, T3. Stress also has a detrimental influence on thyroid function and needs to be addressed.
IODINE STATUS IN THE AUSTRALIAN POPULATION
For over two decades the Australian Centre for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ACCIDD) has performed surveys of urinary iodine excretion (UIE) levels in Australia. Healthy levels of iodine in UIE are considered to be above 200microg/L. Research has determined that iodine deficiency is common in Australia.
Please call and book for a free telephone consultation with a degree trained practitioner to discuss whether this test may be relevant for you.