A thyroid condition can be easily overlooked and misdiagnosed, with symptoms attributed to stress, lack of sleep, poor diet or just general fatigue. Since the symptoms come on gradually, people can become so accustomed to feeling unwell that it becomes their new normal. I have seen many people diagnosed with depression, anxiety, stress, lack of sleep, aging, infertility and chronic fatigue because the thyroid wasn’t functioning as it should.
Common Thyroid Symptoms
The most common thyroid disease is called Hashimoto’s disease, which is an autoimmune condition causing thyroid cell destruction which then leads onto hypothyroidism. Getting checked is more and more vital if you are suffering with a few or more of these symptoms:
- Sluggish weight loss or unexpected weight gain
- Slow metabolism
- Feeling cold
- Feeling constant fatigue/exhaustion
- Mood disorders — depression/anxiety
- Muscle aches and pains
- Sluggish digestive system
- Dry hair and skin
- Thinning hair
- Poor memory
- Low libido
- Irregular period
- Eyebrows are shortening on the outer-sides (progressed condition)
- High Cholesterol
It can be a good idea to talk to your doctor about your symptoms and recommended thyroid function tests.
As you can see, the symptoms are vague and can easily be put down to a range of other issues. It is estimated that 20 million Americans suffer with a thyroid condition and 60 percent of people who have the condition don’t actually know that they have it. Untreated hypothyroidism can cause unnecessary suffering and lead to other longer-term health complications.
Diagnosing a Thyroid Condition
Here are the most common thyroid function tests that your doctor may order to determine a thyroid condition:
- TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) — An elevated TSH indicates the thyroid is under-functioning while a low TSH demonstrates over-activity. Normal parameters vary but they average around 0.3-4.0, although studies do demonstrate that a TSH above 2.5 may indicate that the person is experiencing some symptoms and has a higher chance of developing full blown hypothyroidism at some point in their lives. This is often called subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH).
- Free T3 & Free T4 – The hormone levels are also checked to see if they are too low or loo high.
- Thyroid peroxidase & thyroglobulin – This test reveals antibodies in the blood stream that indicate the immune system is attacking the thyroid gland. These are elevated long before the TSH becomes irregular. This can be useful to look for if the TSH is in the grey area and the patient is experiencing hypothyroid symptoms. This is also used for the true diagnoses of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
- Thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) – Can also be tested to determine Graves’ disease, which is a thyroid autoimmune disease that causes excess thyroid hormone production causing over-activity (hyperthyroidism).
Interestingly one of the reasons they haven’t changed the TSH parameters was a decision that too many Americans would then be diagnosed with a thyroid condition without any benefits seen. By improving your health to gain thyroid, gut and immune system health changes you can absolutely take important positive steps forward.
Hashimoto’s disease can also predispose a person to developing other auto-immune conditions, elevated LDL cholesterol and chronic weight issues that then can lead onto other weight related health problems such as diabetes, fatty liver, insulin resistance, cancer and heart disease. Getting your health in check and supporting a healthy immune system is vital for the bigger picture of your long-term health, as well as working on better health right now.
Medication helps, but while taking medicine reduces symptoms, many are still experienced. This is coupled with elevated systemic inflammation due to the immune system dysregulation and imbalance. A change of diet — adding more fruits and vegetables and avoiding pro-inflammatory foods — can be a powerful force toward improved health and well-being.
Get Help on the Path to a Healthy Lifestyle
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