More than 40 million Americans are suffering from this untreated condition. The small gland located in the front of the neck just above the notch in the collarbone is your thyroid. This powerhouse organ is responsible for your metabolism. It regulates your ability to maintain a warm body temperature and to convert the food you eat into energy. While most of the these endocrine imbalance are associated with women, but men can have low thyroid conditions too.
Mild, or subclinical hypothyroidism, is missed by routine medical testing. If you have a normal TSH and a normal FT4 level, most doctors are reluctant to treat you, even if you have every symptom of low thyroid. Normal laboratory tests can leave many without appropriate thyroid therapy.
These are the most common symptoms of low thyroid. Here are some of the most common symptoms of low thyroid:
1. Fatigue. This is defined as fatigue that keeps you from normal functioning. Feeling exhausted when you wake up, feeling as if 8 or 10 hours of sleep a night is insufficient or being unable to function all day without a nap.
2. Difficulty in losing weight. You may be on a low-fat, low-calorie diet with a rigorous exercise program, but are failing to lose or gain any weight. Or you may have joined a diet program or support group, such as Weight Watchers, and you are the only one who isn’t losing any weight.
3. Cholesterol Issues. It has been estimated that 20% of people who have an elevated cholesterol level that are unresponsive to diet, exercise or cholesterol-lowering medication, have an under treated thyroid condition. An unusually low cholesterol levels may be a sign of hyperthyroidism. In addition, subclinical hypothyroidism is an important independent risk factor for heart disease in women.
4. Menstrual Irregularities and Fertility Problems. Heavier, more frequent and more painful periods are frequently associated with hypothyroidism, and shorter, lighter or infrequent menstruation can be associated with hyperthyroidism. Infertility can also be associated.
5. Bowel Problems. Severe or long-term constipation is frequently associated with hypothyroidism, while diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is associated with hyperthyroidism.
6. Hair/Skin Changes. Hair and skin are particularly vulnerable to thyroid conditions, and in particular, hair loss is frequently associated with thyroid problems. With hypothyroidism, hair frequently becomes brittle, coarse and dry, while breaking off and falling out easily. With hyperthyroidism, severe hair loss can also occur, and skin can become fragile and thin.
7. Neck Discomfort/Enlargement. A feeling of swelling in the neck, discomfort with turtlenecks or neckties, a hoarse voice or a visibly enlarged thyroid can all be signs of a “goiter” — an enlarged thyroid gland that is a symptom of thyroid disease.
A More Complete Assessment
Undiagnosed and under treated low thyroid conditions affect millions of people, especially women. Osteomed goes beyond routine thyroid tests – usually only a TSH and T4 test – to assess your thyroid health. In addition, our practitioners use a much more specific, much narrower range for a “normal” TSH test.
In 2004, a consensus report regarding the treatment of hypothyroidism published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) acknowledged that there was a “paucity of evidence-based data” to determine what the normal range should be for the TSH test. The report maintained that the upper limit of TSH should remain at 5.5 mIU/L. In addition, the authors recommended neither routine testing for nor routine treatment of subclinical disease. The paper concluded that the “available data” was not convincing enough to recommend that Endocrinologists should routinely use T4 (thyroxine) therapy and treating patients with clinical symptoms and even treating a TSH between 4.5 and 10 mIU/L “is not warranted.”
A Different Point of View
There is another school of thought about this issue. In 2002, the American College of Clinical Endocrinologists (the AACE) made the recommendations for the Evaluation and Treatment of Hypothyroidism. These are the guidelines used by Tenpenny Integrative Medical Center:
The laboratory TSH range is currently 0.4 to 4.0 mIU/L for a normal individual, even though a population study in 2003 suggested that this range should be reset to 0.5 to 2.5 mIU/L. An upper limit of normal for TSH is 2.5 IU/L. We believe the ideal range for the TSH should be between 1.0 and 1.5 IU/mL.
Thyroid antibodies should be measured in all patients having symptoms of hypothyroidism and this information should be used as a clinical tool in deciding upon treatment.
AACE guidelines recommend treatment of patients with symptoms compatible with hypothyroidism to improve outcomes with fertility and maintaining pregnancy.
The guidelines recommend that the physician who has performed a comprehensive history and physical examination should decide on treatment of each individual patient.
The measurement of TSH is considered to be the most reliable test to diagnose all forms of hypothyroidism. We have seen too many success stories doing things differently.
Narrowing this range allows many who have been told there is “nothing wrong” to get the help and treatment that the need. This is the position that we take at TIMC when we assess and treat your thyroid.