If you have unexplained chills, fatigue, hair loss, cold feet, cold hands, brain fog, depression, hot flashes, constipation, nervousness, mood swings, loss of appetite, anxiety attacks, weight changes, irregular heart rate, decreased energy, high blood pressure, blight burning sensations, side effects from your meds
…then your thyroid might be trying to tell you something.
Any one or a combination of the above could mean that your thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormone, which is called hypothyroidism. Yes, any one of these can mean anything, (and for you women, these even sound like menopause, don’t they?), but if you have tried just about everything out there, and you are still a medical mess, your thyroid could be trying to whisper something in your ear.
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is inflammation of the thyroid gland, which damages the gland’s cells.
Autoimmune or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, is the most common example of this.
Some women develop hypothyroidism after pregnancy (often referred to as “postpartum thyroiditis”).
Other common causes of hypothyroidism include:
Certain drugs can cause hypothyroidism, including:
If not, consider having this done, rather than the traditional Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test.
The TRH test is a much more accurate test that will tell you:” yes, you are right, you do indeed have a low thyroid.”
Many times the traditional TSH test will tell your doctor that your thyroid level is fine, when it really isn’t!
Basically, a TSH test is just a simple blood test – and many times it is inaccurate.
The TSH test measures the serum levels of thyroid related hormones. This is a static test because it measures the hormones at the instant in time that the blood is drawn.
But, as an endocrine regulatory organ, hormone levels are constantly changing as the body requires. In fact, the hallmark of endocrine health is the ability to change hormone levels for moment to moment physiologic needs.
With a static blood test, we do not know if the results represent the usual state of the hormone levels.
Depending on the timing of the tests, the health condition of the individual at the time, or even psychological stressors, one may miss significant underlying imbalances.
The TRH Stimulation Test, however, is a much more sensitive test because it evaluates how well the hypothalamus, pituitary and thyroid glands are functioning and communicating together at the same time, and in in real time.
Ask for that TRH test!
Now, to better understand the thyroid itself…
…so you can see if there could be a connection between it and the way you are feeling right now, let’s start with some of the most asked questions.
Your thyroid gland is in your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. It’s fairly flat, so you normally can’t feel it, unless there’s a problem.
To make this less complicated, the main job of your thyroid is to put out a hormone to control your metabolism.
Think of your thyroid putting out hormones as a car that needs gas to run. Gas gets burned in the engine, which ultimately turns the wheels of the car so you can drive over here to see us at the Salerno Center.
The speed of the car depends on how much gas is let in the engine to be burned. The more gas, the more the engine revs. The carburetor, or the fuel injectors, are the parts of the car that control the amount of gas going to the engine, telling the engine how high to rev.
In the same way, the body needs fuel for you to do things, like getting out of your car to yell at the other driver (ok, maybe not that).
It also needs energy to keep the heart beating, the lungs breathing, and the spleen, well, spleening away. The burning of energy to do all of these things is called the – metabolism.
Thyroid hormone is much like the carburetor. Low thyroid hormone levels make the body burn less energy, whereas high levels make the body burn more energy.
Now, we know what some of you are thinking…that does NOT mean that high thyroid levels help you run faster! Oh, don’t you wish.
But it does mean that people with overactive thyroid glands tend to have:
This is called hyperthyroidism.
People with under-active thyroid glands, on the other hand, have:
That is called hypothyroidism.
Children use much of their energy to grow, so children with hypothyroidism don’t grow well.
Well, some doctors do give extra thyroid hormone supplements to help people lose weight, but that is a big mistake because hyperthyroidism is actually more dangerous than hypothyroidism. Besides, what do you think the pituitary gland does when you take extra thyroid hormone? It lowers the TSH, which makes the thyroid gland put out less of its own hormones.
Hormones are a liquid chemical that are produced by glands. Much like sweat secreting from our pores, the hormones secrete from these glands.
They drip, if you will, into the bloodstream where they travel to the distant tissues and organs, where they then bind to the tissues’ and organs’ specific cell sites called receptors.
By binding to receptors, hormones send messages (commands, if you will) to your body to do certain functions, to keep itself healthy:
Simply put, think of hormones as the “prime movers” of your physical and mental well-being.
Every time you:
your body is responding to hormones.
That’s because hormone levels can impact virtually every major system and organ in your body.
Many of you already know how hard it is to find a good doctor: One who will listen to you without thinking it’s all in your head. One who thinks outside the box in figuring out what exactly is wrong with you. One who will not give up on you after just so many visits…
In fact, Dr. Salerno asks all his patients the following questions, especially if you feel you’ve already adopted a healthy lifestyle.
Questions such as:
Quick Health Fact!
Did you know that adding to many cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, and soy products, to your diet can exacerbate thyroid problems? Fortunately, Dr. Salerno can put together an effective diet program that’s easy to follow, and sure to give you the results you’re looking for.
This simple at home self-help thyroid check may help identify if your thyroid is trying to tell you something – a possibly good sign that you may need further examination by a doctor.
Your thyroid could be trying to tell you something – listen!