10 SIGNS YOU HAVE A THYROID PROBLEM AND HOW TO TREAT IT

Are you one of nearly half a million Australians with thyroid disease?
Did you know that 50% of us have no idea we even have it?
And for those with a diagnosis, treatment can be a real balancing act.

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A FREE Thyroid Handbook

10 signs that you could have a thyroid problem:

  1. Fatigue after adequate sleep
  2. Difficulty losing or gaining weight despite reasonable calorie intake.
  3. Mood issues such as PMS, anxiety or depression.
  4. Low libido.
  5. Muscle, joint aches and pains.
  6. Feeling cold when others are not.
  7. Constipation.
  8. Cognitive problems such as brain fog.
  9. Hair loss, dry skin or brittle nails.
  10. Bloating due to microbiome imbalance.

How does your thyroid work?

The thyroid is a small gland located just below your voice box. It produces iodine containing thyroid hormones, T3 and T4, which have a wide range of effects on your health. The thyroid hormones increase basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR influences metabolism and weight, bowel motion, absorption in the gut as well as the breakdown of fats and reduction of cholesterol. If your thyroid is not running optimally, then neither are you.

What is thyroid disease, why a diagnosis is challenging and how to treat it?

Thyroid dysfunction is usually caused by underactivity (hypothyroidism/too little thyroid hormone) or overactivity (hyperthyroidism). The vast majority of these present with sub clinical manifestations which often mean a simple thyroid blood test won’t pick it up. This often leads to being told fatigue or weight gain is due to stress or other causes, this can lead to the problem compounding over time.

Hypothyroidism

According to NatMed Clinic Director and Naturopath, Deborah Taylor, the most common cause of hypothyroidism in Australia is poor iodine intake.

‘The Australian National Health Measures Survey (NHMS), 2009, showed that 62% of pregnant women and 18.3% of women between 16 and 44 had low urinary iodine concentrations (UIC). (1)

Delayed diagnosis is common

It can be frustrating for people whose diagnosis is delayed or who are misdiagnosed. Many of the signs and symptoms of thyroid disease are common to other diseases, therefore blood tests are needed to confirm a diagnosis. It is alarming that a woman presenting to her GP with fatigue and weight gain can only access basic tests such as thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Medicare will not cover the deeper screening needed to uncover subclinical hypothyroidism or auto immune thyroid dysfunction.

Sub clinical thyroid dysfunction

Sub clinical thyroid dysfunction occurs prior to an abnormal TSH showing up on a routine thyroid health test. It causes the same symptoms of a fully blown thyroid problem but can be undiagnosed for many years because the TSH will look ‘normal’, thus the GP will often leave it and suggest the symptoms are due to lifestyle choices. This often leads to people presenting to us feeling frustrated with their health care, having visited several clinicians trying to address lingering symptoms that affect their quality of life.

Testing adequately is a priority

At NatMed we do several blood tests to screen for thyroid health and hundreds of women we’ve seen have tested with a normal TSH but are low in T3. T3 is the active thyroid hormone. Some have raised thyroid antibodies indicating an auto immune issue or Hashimotos. We can do a urinary iodine test to work out what dosage of iodine we need to supplement with, as iodine overdose can contribute to further thyroid issues. It’s a matter of doing a thorough exam and individual history to discern which tests are necessary. For example, in some cases an individual may have normal levels of all thyroid hormones but an excessive production of reverse T3 which will ‘switch off’ the active thyroid hormone. This occurs when there is inflammation in the system.

Treating thyroid disorders

It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach for people with an underactive thyroid. Supplementing with iodine and tyrosine (the T in T3) will often initiate a big change in energy and other patients need bio thyroid or T3. Some individuals require supplementation to ‘switch on’ or catalyse the conversion of T4 to T3. Hashimotos is more complex to treat, as it is an auto immune condition requiring extensive gut detoxification and healing.

At NatMed we use a multidisciplinary team and approach to ensure patients receive correct diagnosis and treatment plan.

(1) https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/Lookup/4364.0.55.006Chapter1202011-12

Symptoms of underactive thyroid may include:

  • weight gain
  • fatigue
  • intolerance to cold
  • joint pain
  • constipation
  • painful periods
  • dry and coarse skin and hair
  • pallor
  • slow pulse
  • swelling of the neck (called goitre).

Hyperthyroidism

Another autoimmune condition, Grave’s Disease, is responsible for 70% of cases of hyperthyroidism. It mostly affects women aged between 20 and 40 and is ten times more common among women than men. Excess thyroid hormone is produced, resulting in an overactive thyroid. It isn’t clear what triggers this autoimmune response, but it could be excess iodine.

Diagnosing Overactive Thyroid

In patients with overactive thyroid, blood tests show low or undetectable levels of TSH and elevated levels of T4 and/or T3. If your blood tests look normal but you’re still worried, get a second opinion.

Treating Overactive Thyroid

In about 50% of cases, Graves’ disease resolves without any treatment, according to Naturopath Deborah Taylor. “If it persists, you may be prescribed drugs to control the racing pulse and tremor. You may also be given a drug that interferes with the production of iodine,” she adds.
A 12 to 18-month course appears to offer the best chance of sustained recovery.

If drug treatment isn’t successful, or the patient is unwilling to take radioactive iodine, which is another form of treatment, surgery to remove the thyroid gland is sometimes performed if the thyroid is so enlarged it’s pressing on the windpipe. “However, surgical removal means taking thyroid replacement therapy for the rest of your life,” notes Naturopath Deborah Taylor.

Symptoms of overactive thyroid may include:

  • weight loss
  • heat intolerance
  • palpitations
  • racing pulse
  • breathlessness
  • anxiety
  • diarrhoea
  • tremor
  • muscle weakness
  • bulging eyes
  • goitre

10 treatments to improve your thyroid function:

  1. Make sure you are getting enough iodine, zinc, selenium, iron, vitamin D and B vitamins in your diet or through supplementation.
  2. Consider a tyrosine and iodine supplement.
  3. Remove fluoride, bromide and chlorine from your diet and environment.
  4. Go gluten-free.
  5. Focus on reducing stress and supporting your adrenal glands.
  6. Get 8 – 10 hours of sleep.
  7. Have a biological dentist remove any amalgam fillings.
  8. Reduce intake of cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts and similar leafy greens.
  9. Focus on improving your gut health.
  10. Look into available testing to find the root cause.

Why choose NatMed to empower your creation of good health?

For me, one of the main benefits of choosing the naturopathic path over a traditional medical path is that I feel in much more control of my own recovery. Deb has shared her extensive knowledge and expertise with me and as such I have learnt a great deal about my condition which in turn has empowered me to take responsibility for my own health.
—Sharon Elliot

Are you ready to learn more about how we can help you use natural medicine and the power of integrated medicine to help you regain your energy, prevent Thyroid Disease and achieve optimum health?

Deborah Taylor – We deliver outstanding health care.

I founded NatMed in 1999 to deliver truly outstanding health care. We believe in an integrated, best practice medicine model using both natural and general medical approaches. At NatMed, we have developed a strong alliance network of health providers across a wide range of services, from urologists and other specialists, to general practitioners, dentists and cranio-sacral therapists. I love what I do and my extended family of patients.

 

Please feel free to email or call if you have any queries about your care.
One of our experienced practitioners will be happy to help:

Tel: 08 9339 1999
Email[email protected]
Address: 89 George Street, East Fremantle, WA 6158
www.natmed.com.au

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