THYROID INFORMATION AND THYROID SYMPTOMS
WHAT IS THE THYROID GLAND AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the front base of your neck that produces thyroid hormones T4 and T3 and releases them directly into the bloodstream. These chemicals regulate the functioning of virtually all cells in your body. Thyroid hormones disperse throughout your body to regulate metabolism and most bodily functions. In your brain, T3 and T4 regulate neurotransmitters implicated in mood, appetite, sexual function, and emotions.
The manufacture of thyroid hormones requires several micro-nutrients including iodine and selenium. Selenium is a trace element, which is crucial for adequate thyroid hormone production. Twenty-percent of the T3 hormone that your body produces comes from your thyroid gland, and the remainder comes from the conversion of T4 to T3 in your organs.
The thyroid gland is regulated by the pituitary gland, or “master gland.” The pituitary gland delegates how much thyroid hormone the thyroid should produce. It emits signals to the thyroid gland using the right amount of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is the hormone that makes the thyroid gland produce thyroid hormone.
WHERE CAN THYROID FUNCTION GO WRONG?
Thyroid Disorder Symptoms
So many factors can alter your thyroid hormone levels. This includes depression, being overweight, medications, and improper nutrition. But the most common reason for having abnormal function of thyroid is an immune attack, causing the gland to slow down or to work excessively. This is called autoimmunity, meaning that the immune system views your thyroid as a foreign organ. Autoimmune thyroid conditions are the most common autoimmune diseases in mankind.
Important trace elements such as selenium, zinc, and other antioxidants are crucial for thyroid hormone to work efficiently in your body and brain. You need the exact right amount of thyroid hormone in your system for your body and mind to function optimally.
Autoimmune thyroid disease is much more common that type I diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, or rheumatoid arthritis. In autoimmune thyroid disorders, antibodies start attacking your thyroid. In one form of autoimmune thyroid disorders called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the thyroid no longer produces hormones normally, so it leads to hypothyroidism (low thyroid). In the opposite form, Graves’ disease, the antibodies stimulate the gland and make the thyroid produce too much T3 T4. Often a genetic predisposition causes autoimmune disorders of the thyroid, but many other factors, like some bacterial or viral infections, radiation or vitamin deficiencies and stress can trigger an autoimmune attack.
The frequency of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis begins to rise significantly around puberty. At menopause women become even more vulnerable to this autoimmune disorder, and this explains why nearly 10-15% of postmenopausal women become hypothyroid. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is quite common, affecting 10% of the population and women are 5 to 7 times more affected than men. Many patients suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis have normal thyroid function and never become hypothyroid. However, they are at a high risk for becoming hypothyroid at any point in their lives.
Graves’ disease is also an autoimmune condition that typically results in overactive thyroid and affects one to two percent of the population. The antibodies that attack the thyroid, (thyroid stimulating antibodies) stimulate the thyroid gland and make it produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. The damaging antibodies of Graves’ disease can also attack the eyes. Graves’ eye disease, also called thyroid Orbitopathy, a thyroid eye disease is the result of inflammation of the structures around the eyes, including the eye muscles. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism in both men and women is Graves’ disease. Graves’ disease is also 5 to 7 times more common in women than men.
The conventional way to diagnose an underactive thyroid or overactive thyroid is through blood testing of levels TSH, T4, and T3 but a TSH test may be enough as a first step. TSH is the pituitary hormone that makes the thyroid gland function properly. When the gland becomes sluggish, TSH levels become higher in an attempt to restore thyroid function to normal.
The TSH test shows high numbers when your thyroid is not working well. The higher your TSH level is, the more severe your hypothyroid condition is. In contrast, when the gland is overactive or when there is too much thyroid hormone in your system, the TSH level is low.
You may be suffering from hypothyroidism even though your TSH test is still within the normal range (learn more about covert hypothyroidism in The Thyroid Solution). When the TSH test is normal but the T3 and T4 levels are normal the low thyroid is low grade or subclinical. Subclinical hypothyroidism and covert hypothyroidism are quite common and can cause symptoms.
In hyperthyroidism T3 and T4 levels are usually high but some patients suffering from hyperthyroidism have high T3 levels but their thyroxine (T4) levels may be normal.
Other useful tests to diagnose thyroid disease:
– Anti-TPO antibody= the best marker for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
– TSI= (Thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin) immune blood marker for Grave’s Disease.
– Thyroglobulin= blood test marker for thyroid cancer
– Calcitonin= blood test marker for medullary thyroid cancer
– Ultrasound= useful to diagnose thyroid nodules and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and for detection of abnormal lymph nodes in patients with thyroid cancer.
COMMON RISK FACTORS FOR THYROID DISEASE YOU CAN CONTROL
Cigarettes contain thiocyanate, a dangerous chemical that can adversely affect the thyroid gland because it acts as an anti-thyroid agent. It increases severity and side effects of hypothyroidism for people who suffer from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
Iodine deficiency has been directly linked to increasing the risk of hypothyroidism and goiter. Since iodine is added to salt, iodine deficiency is more common among people who restrict their salt intake. Too much iodine in contrast imaging procedures or some supplements, can increase the risk of autoimmune thyroid disease and hypothyroidism.
Too much soy has been shown to contribute to hypothyroidism because it can interfere with thyroid hormone absorption in some people. The second is any food high in goitrogens. Giotrogenic foods include radishes, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. This is an issue when these foods are eaten raw and in large quantities and too frequently because they contain a chemical which can promote goiter and potentially cause hypothyroidism.
It has been reported that women are 6 to 8 times more likely to develop thyroid disease than men.
As you age, your risk for thyroid disease continually increases.
A family history of having any autoimmune disease will increase your risk of thyroid disease.
During pregnancy and during the first year postpartum, the risk of developing an autoimmune thyroid disease and temporary thyroiditis increases.
Major stress factors such as death, divorce, economical hardship, loss of a job, or a physical stress such as an automobile accident can trigger autoimmune thyroid disease especially Grave’s disease which causes hyperthyroidism.
MORE AUTOIMMUNITY IN THYROID PATIENTS
Having Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or Grave’s Disease makes a person become more vulnerable to having immune attacks on several parts of your body including the adrenal glands, the connective tissue (i.e. joints), muscles, pituitary, skin, GI tract and even the brain.
• Immune attacks on the adrenals can cause adrenal insufficiency
• Vitiligo is a loss of pigmentation of the skin. It is the result of an attack of the immune system on the skin.
• Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity, autoimmune reactions, causing inflammation in the GI tract and in your body are caused by sensitivity to gluten. They are much more common in patients with thyroid disease than in the general population
Other autoimmune disorders which are much more common among thyroid patients are:
– Type I Diabetes (immune attack on beta-cells of the pancreas)
– Multiple Sclerosis
– Pernicious Anemia
– Rheumatoid Arthritis
– Sjogrens Syndrome
– Crohn’s Disease
– Ulcerative Colitis
– Autoimmune Hypophysitis (attack on the pituitary gland)
What Causes Hypothyroidism?
You can become hypothyroid as a result of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the autoimmune condition that can destroy your gland over time and make your T3 and T4 levels decline gradually. You can also become hypothyroid as a result of the treatment of Graves’ disease. An underactive thyroid can also be caused by surgical removal of part or all of the thyroid gland. It can also be caused by other types of inflammation of the thyroid, such as subacute thyroiditis (a viral illness that can damage the thyroid gland), and silent thyroiditis (another form of immune attack on the thyroid gland). Postpartum thyroiditis, radiation to the head and neck, deficiency of iodine, and deficiency of important nutrients, such as selenium, can also make your thyroid slow down. Some medications and disorders of the hypothalamus, or pituitary gland, can also result in hypothyroidism.
Most Common Physical Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:
• Weight Gain
• Aches and pains in joints and muscles
• Dry and itchy skin
• Brittle hair
• Hair loss, including loss of eyebrow hair
• Feeling cold even in warm temperatures
• Milky discharge from breasts
• Heavy Menstrual Periods
Most Common Mental Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:
• Mental sluggishness
• Increased sleepiness
• Emotional instability
• Inability to focus and pay attention
Hypothyroidism and Menopause
Menopause is defined as the end of the menstruation cycle in women, typically in their late 40’s or early 50’s. Levels of estrogen in the body fall during this time and this fall of estrogen can result in symptoms such as decreased libido, night sweats, hot flashes, depression, and mood swings. Having hypothyroidism, even low-grade, while going through menopause or after menopause can make menopausal symptoms worse. Menopausal women are also more likely to become hypothyroid than women in their reproductive years. In fact, research has shown that as many as 10 to 15 percent of menopausal women have hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism symptoms and menopause symptoms can be similar. For this reason, any women going through menopause that has symptoms and lower quality of life should be tested for hypothyroidism. Menopause can also make symptoms of hypothyroidism worse. It is also more likely for thyroid patients to experience more menopausal symptoms than non-thyroid patients.
Hypothyroidism in Children and Adolescents
Children and adolescents can be affected by hypothyroidism as well. The symptoms are more or less the same as in adults; however, pay attention to concentration and attention issues, low-grade depression and weight gain. It is interesting that at puberty, the occurrence of hypothyroidism in girls increases. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in children and adolescents. As a mother, if you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, you should have your child tested if they start experiencing any symptoms suggestive of low thyroid. Research has shown that children and adolescents of mothers diagnosed with hypothyroidism are more likely to be hypothyroid than children and adolescents of mothers with normal thyroid. For more accurate diagnosis, the upper limit of the normal range for TSH levels should be lower in children and adolescents.
Subclinical Hypothyroidism in Children
Around 2% of the population’s children is affected by subclinical hypothyroidism. Children with subclinical hypothyroidism may progress to more severe hypothyroidism and therefore experience delayed growth and brain development. It may be beneficial to start the child on thyroid medication if they have symptoms. If they do not have any symptoms then treatment may not be necessary.
Thyroid Function in Small Newborns
Delayed growth of newborn babies can result from decreased levels of thyroid hormone. These babies are described as small gestation age. These infants are born with lower T4 levels than healthy infants. For these babies it is important to begin thyroid medication to normalize the growth rate and prevent hypothyroidism.
How to Detect and Treat Congenital Hypothyroidism
Congenital hypothyroidism, or a baby born with hypothyroidism due to improper thyroid gland development or no thyroid gland development, is a condition that causes delayed mental and physical development. Screening is typically done a few days after birth to prevent any permanent damage. Treatment with levothyroxine needs to begin promptly at diagnosis of congenital hypothyroidism. With treatment, the child should develop normally and not suffer any lasting effects.
Most Common Physical Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism:
• Weight loss
• Feeling hot and becoming intolerant of warm temperatures
• Hair loss
• Eye irritation
• Increased sweating
• Rapid heartbeat
• Irregular menstrual periods
• Decreased fertility
• Increased frequency of bowel movements
Most Common Mental Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism:
• Panic attacks
• Aggressive behavior
• Emotional withdrawal
• Emotional mood swings
What Causes Hyperthyroidism?
Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. In this condition, the immune system sends signals to the thyroid to make it produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. Other causes of hyperthyroidism are autonomous thyroid nodules (nodules that take over the function of the gland and produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormones) and multinodular toxic goiters (several hyperactive nodules that produce too much thyroid hormone. Silent thyroiditis and subacute thyroiditis thyprically cause high thyroid hormone levels for a few weeks due to release of performed T3 and T3 caused by the inflammation. The transient hyperthyroidism is typically followed by underactive thyroid and then restoration of normal thyroid function in most people. Many patients with subacute thyroiditis or silent thyroiditis will continue to have some deficiency in thyroid hormone, often minimal, that can affect them.
Subacute thyroiditis occurs when a viral infection temporarily destroys the thyroid gland, resulting in transient hyperthyroidism. You can often see characteristics of this condition: fever and pain in your neck area and possibly as far as your ears. The common cold, mumps, and measles, amongst other viruses can cause subacute thyroiditis.
Silent thyroiditis is a temporary immune attack on the thyroid gland that causes hyperthyroidism, which is often mild and only lasts for a few weeks. In some cases the hyperthyroidism can continue for as long as three months. Sometimes hypothyroidism follows the initial stage of hyperthyroidism.
Nearly 5 to 8% of pregnant women suffer from a thyroid imbalance after delivery of their baby. Most women who suffer from postpartum thyroid conditions begin to experience transient state of hyperthyroidism for two to three months before they switch into a state of hypothyroidism. In most cases, hypothyroidism goes away after a few weeks to a year, but sometimes women continue to suffer from thyroid imbalance. What happens to a woman’s body after giving birth is a drop in estrogen and progesterone, and this provokes low mood or further depression. As the depression worsens, and the responsibilities of motherhood stress out the woman, the immune reactions heighten. This is why women sometimes experience autoimmune attacks in the postpartum stage. When the thyroid antibodies initially attack, the thyroid starts releasing too much hormone in the blood stream, later the thyroid cannot produce enough thyroid hormone. Some women have a higher chance of an autoimmune attack in the postpartum period, because they already have some thyroid antibodies throughout pregnancy. Postpartum thyroid issues need to be addressed to ensure that the temporary imbalance does not become a permanent issue. The ideal treatment for postpartum thyroid imbalance needs to include supplementation with antioxidants, in particular selenium, and should address postpartum stress and depression.
Treatment of Hypothyroidism
The conventional treatment of hypothyroidism is synthetic T4 or Levothyroxine. In the right amount, Levothyroxine will normalize your thyroid levels. The body can convert T4 to T3 which is the most active form of thyroid hormone but not T3 to T4. When you try to correct your underactive thyroid with levothyroxine pills (T4) the conversion of T4 to T3 may not be optimal and you will end up missing some T3. That’s why you may not get rid of all your symptoms by just taking thyroxine tablets. There are 13 strengths of Levothyroxine tablets. They range from 12.5 mcg to 300 mcg. Try to stick to the name brand when you are treated with levothyroxine. Examples of levothyroxine are Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid, and Unithroid. You may do better with Armour Thyroid, as long as the amount of T3 in the dose prescribed is right for you. Armour thyroid is a combination of T4 and T3 and comes in several different strengths. Regardless of the treatment you are using, the dose of thyroid hormone needs to be adjusted and monitored over time.
Lingering Thyroid Symptoms
For hypothyroidism, your doctor will typically aim at normalizing your TSH level, which is the pituitary hormone that regulates the thyroid gland. A normal TSH indicates that you are getting the right amount of medication. However, despite achieving and maintaining normal blood tests, you may continue to suffer from fatigue, low grade depression, and weight gain. The reason could be that you are missing some T3 hormone.The solution may be the use of a well balanced combination of the two thyroid hormones T4 and T3, in the right amounts. T3 treatment can help patients achieve the right T3 levels, but it is not enough to treat the hypothyroidism alone.
Is taking the right thyroid treatment enough for Hypothyroidism?
Treating an underactive thyroid with thyroid medication is an important component of the Arem Thyroid Program. However, having perfectly normal thyroid levels in your blood is not necessarily enough. For optimal wellness, you need to make sure that thyroid hormone is working efficiently in your body and you need to do everything that helps support the health of the remaining thyroid gland and to support the immune system since your thyroid condition is likely to be immune mediated and related to an immune attack on the thyroid.There are additional things that need to be done:
• Healthy nutrition and avoiding saturated fats. The best diet for thyroid health is a higher protein, low-glycemic, high fiber, Mediterranean diet such as the Protein Boost Diet.
• Stress management, practicing relaxation techniques and regular exercise.
A comprehensive supplementation program which includes:
• A well-balanced mix of trace minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and other ingredients that support the health of your thyroid gland, thyroid hormone efficiency, immune system health and metabolism (i.e. ThyroLife Optima).
• Omega 3 fatty acids
• Calcium (at least 4 hours after taking thyroid medication)
• Vitamin D in the right amount
How to select the best thyroid supplement to optimize thyroid health and thyroid hormone efficiency?
There are many thyroid supplements out there that you can get over the counter or online. Some of them contain herbs of unknown efficacy or safety, others have incomplete or imbalanced compositions and many of them have been designed by people who lack knowledge in thyroid and metabolism. Ideally you should select a thyroid supplement that will provide you with a complete spectrum of ingredients that will help your metabolism and that will reduce free radicals and inflammation in your body for optimal weight loss if you are overweight. You need to know that the best thyroid helpers are thyroid supplements that should be clean mixes that include well balanced amounts of the following:
• Specific minerals and trace elements (iodine, selenium, zinc, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, magnesium, vanadium-all important for optimal thyroid health, for optimal metabolism)
• Vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin C (uniquely beneficial for thyroid health)
• Adequate and appropriate amounts of B vitamins (Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pyrodoxine, Folic Acid, vitamin B12 and PABA, Biotin, Pantothenic Acid)
• Other potent antioxidants such as: Co-Enzyme Q10, Lycopene, Turmeric, Alpha Lipoic Acid, L-Glutathione and Quercetin
• Vitamin D (so important for thyroid autoimmunity and metabolism)
• Inositol (important for TSH signaling)
ThyroLife Optima is viewed by many health professionals as one of the best supplements for thyroid patients and multivitamin, antioxidant mix because it includes, in a balanced way, all of the micronutrients mentioned above that help thyroid gland health, the immune system, thyroid hormone efficiency and metabolism. This supplement will also make weight loss easier when a person follows the right diet. It is calcium-free, gluten-free and iron-free and you can take it right at the end of breakfast, even if you are taking thyroid medication. To learn more, click here.
You need to know that thyroid supplements, including ThyroLife Optima, are not intended to treat or cure your thyroid condition but to provide you with the ingredients necessary to maintain a healthy thyroid system and metabolism. Do not be misled, there are no supplements on the market that will replace your thyroid treatment or that will treat or cure your thyroid condition.
Treatment for Hyperthyroidism
There are three types of treatments available for patients with Graves’ disease: Radioactive Iodine, medications, (PTU or methimazole) and surgical removal of a big portion of the gland. The treatment choice offered by your doctor should be tailored according to your specific clinical situation. Do not follow stereotypic recommendations!
The two most widely used medications used to treat Graves’ Disease are PTU (propyl- thiouracil) and methimazole. These medications block the manufacture of thyroid hormone. The doses needed depend on how severe the hyperthyroidism is, and typically the doses are adjusted based on symptoms and thyroid testing to maintain normal thyroid levels. These medications are generally used until remission of Graves’ Disease is achieved, and this could happen in a few months to a few years. The major adverse effect to watch for while taking these medications is low white blood cell count, a dangerous but uncommon adverse effect that can lead to serious infections. Another rare but serious side effect of medication is liver damage. More common side effects are itching, urticaria (hives), skin rash, joint pains, fever, upset stomach, and metallic taste. Before starting methimazole or PTU, please become acquainted with these side effects and others. The overall remission rate of hyperthyroidism with the use of these medications is roughly 30-50%.
Radioactive iodine treatment is by far the most favored form of treatment of hyperthyroidism because it is more definitive and will eventually lead to hypothyroidism as a result of the gradual destruction of the thyroid gland. Most patients require one treatment; however, some patients may remain hyperthyroid after a few months and they may require a second or even a third dose of radioactive iodine.
Subtotal Thyroidectomy (surgical removal of a big portion of the thyroid gland)
This method of treatment is not recommended as often as medications or radioactive iodine. It could be the best option if you have a very big thyroid gland or if you have experienced side effects from medications and you are reluctant to receive radioactive iodine treatment. Always select a surgeon who has a great deal of experience with thyroid surgeries.
Nodules, or “lumps” in the thyroid gland, are quite common. Lumps that can be felt by your doctor during an examination are found in at least five percent of people. Most nodules are benign and only fifteen percent are cancerous. There are two types of nodules – the ones that do not pick up radioactive iodine on a thyroid scan are called “cold” and do not cause thyroid imbalance. However, these are the nodules that would be more likely to be cancerous.
Hyperactive thyroid nodules or “hot” nodules are much less common than cold nodules. They tend to cause hyperthyroidism and are almost never cancerous.
If you have a thyroid nodule and your TSH is normal, that indicates that most likely you have a cold nodule and the next step should be an ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration biopsy. You are at a higher risk of having thyroid cancer if you received radiation treatment to the neck or if you were exposed to radiation when you were a child. Men with a thyroid nodule have a higher chance of thyroid cancer than women. If your thyroid nodule increases over time, this could be an indication that you have thyroid cancer.
New Guidelines for nodules and differentiated thyroid cancer management
The American Thyroid Association has updated and revised the guidelines for managing patients with thyroid nodules and differentiated thyroid cancer. For individuals with thyroid nodules the guidelines have now been updated and include ultrasound criteria, managing benign thyroid nodules, and initial evaluation. For thyroid cancer, several new guidelines are provided pertaining to surgery management, suppression therapy, radioiodine remnant ablation, and laboratory testing as well as ultrasound surveillance.
My 10 Important Thyroid Facts
- Iodine is essential for the manufacture of thyroid hormone and for thyroid health. Therefore, you need to avoid iodine deficiency and make sure you are taking the right amount of iodine in your diet. Even better, incorporate iodine supplementation in your supplement program whether you are pregnant or not to avoid iodine deficiency. However, do not take excessive amounts of iodine because that can negatively affect thyroid function and can even promote autoimmune attacks on your thyroid. To be on the safe side, take a supplement that contains 100-200 mcg of iodine, by doing so you will avoid deficiency and excess.
- Selenium, a trace element found in nature and potent antioxidant is essential for optimal thyroid function, for thyroid hormone efficiency in the cells of the body, and crucial for immune system support. Selenium supplementation improves the immune system attack on the thyroid. For this reason, if you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease, it is important to include selenium as part of your daily supplements. A supplementation of 100-150 mcg is highly recommended. Thyrolife Optima; a complete, comprehensive, and well-balanced thyroid supplement includes selenium in the right amount
- Several antioxidants besides selenium are essential to clear your body from the buildup of free radicals caused by your thyroid disorder. Free radicals impair the efficiency of thyroid hormone in your body and can damage your thyroid. They also can weaken the immune system. The antioxidants also help your brain function and improve your mood. The vitamins and antioxidants that promote thyroid gland health and thyroid hormone efficiency in your body as well as boosting your metabolism and your immune system are selenium, zinc, beta-carotene, vitamin B2, B3, B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, and many other ones that are included in the Thyrolife Optima.
- You need to pay attention to your vitamin D level and take adequate vitamin D supplementation if you have an autoimmune thyroid condition such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease. Vitamin D deficiency can promote autoimmune attack on the thyroid and vitamin D supplementation is crucial for support of your immune system. Vitamin D supplementation also has benefits on the cardiovascular system, on bone health, mood and cognition, and metabolism. An average thyroid patient requires 10,000-20,000 units of vitamin D3 weekly. You could take this as vitamin D3 liquid 1 dropper (10,000 IU) 1-2 days per week and the amount of supplementation needs to be adjusted based on your 25-OH vitamin D level. In addition to vitamin D, you may need to increase your calcium intake but do not exceed 1000 mg of calcium per day. Calcium should be taken at least 4-5 hours after taking your thyroid medication.
- Do not neglect low-grade thyroid imbalance called subclinical hypothyroidism or subclinical hyperthyroidism. These minor imbalances can affect your overall health and even your cardiovascular system.
- There are many names for levothyroxine medications used to treat hypothyroidism. The most popular ones are Synthroid, Levoxyl, and Tirosint. Some generic levothyroxine products may have different contents of the active thyroid hormone, even though the label indicates the same strength. Because of these differences, it is recommended to stay on the same product. But if you do change, have your thyroid tests repeated 6-8 weeks later to avoid bad effects. When you are treated for hypothyroidism with thyroid medication whether it is Armour thyroid, synthetic levothyroxine, or T4/T3 combination treatment, make sure that you do not become overmedicated or undermedicated since this can result in deleterious health effects.
- Autoimmune thyroid disease and hypothyroidism tends to become more common around menopause and after menopause. Ten to fifteen percent of menopausal women have low thyroid. Thyroid imbalance in menopausal women can cause or exacerbate menopausal symptoms and menopausal symptoms can mimic low thyroid symptoms. So if you are feeling depressed, more anxious, or you are having sleep problems and troublesome menopausal symptoms or depression, you need to have your thyroid tested and any imbalance treated.
- Thyroid disease can cause a wide range of GI symptoms but what is often overlooked is that people suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease are more likely to have Celiac disease, or gluten sensitivity and other autoimmune gastrointestinal disorders such as pernicious anemia with vitamin B12 deficiency, autoimmune liver disease, and inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
- You need to know that being overweight can make your immune system start attacking your thyroid gland causing a thyroid imbalance and that having a thyroid imbalance can affect your metabolism and promote weight gain. This can become another vicious cycle, so if you are overweight you need to have your thyroid meticulously tested and if you have a thyroid imbalance, even minor, make sure it is meticulously treated (see Dr. Arem’s thyroid program).
- Thyroid disease can cause or contribute to infertility, miscarriage, preterm birth, postpartum depression, and postpartum thyroiditis. So it is important to test your thyroid before you contemplate becoming pregnant and during pregnancy, you need to be tested as well. If you have hypothyroidism and you become pregnant, you need to know that the dose of your thyroid medication needs to be adjusted and often increased and your thyroid levels monitored on a regular basis throughout pregnancy for optimal outcome and to prevent bad effects on the baby, on the pregnancy, and on you.