Did you know that according to a recent study evaluating the prevalence of thyroid disease, there may be more than 13 million Americans who are unaware that they have a thyroid condition?
Common Hypothyroid Symptoms
Some of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism indicating the need for hypothyroidism treatment include:
• Loss of energy (malaise/fatigue)
• Difficulty losing weight
• Weight gain
• Fluid retention
• Enlarged tongue with teeth indentations
• Cold extremities and cold sensitivity
• Cold intolerance
• Difficulty concentrating and short term memory loss
• Decreased mental sharpness, “brain fog”
• Hair loss
• Dry skin
• Brittle fingernails with ridging
• Low basal body temperature
• Elevated cholesterol and triglycerides
• Depression or mood swings
• Muscle pain and cramps
• Joint pain
• Tiredness after a full night’s sleep
• Recurrent and chronic infections
• Menstrual irregularities
• Enlarged thyroid gland
At Hotze Health & Wellness Center, our approach to hypothyroidism is alternative and complementary and that is primarily why we are so successful in treating our patients.
A Different Approach to Hypothyroidism
The two main differences in our approach to hypothyroidism are:
We do not believe that blood tests are the primary way to diagnose hypothyroidism and look to the patient first, keeping in mind that lab tests may lie, but patients do not.
We treat hypothyroidism with bioidentical thyroid hormone that contains both the inactive thyroid hormone, thyroxine (T4), and the active form, tri-iodothyronine (T3).
The "Normal" Range
The "normal laboratory range" of thyroid hormone is an arbitrary value, defined statistically as plus or minus two standard deviations from the mean. This so-called "normal range" is as wide as the Grand Canyon and as tall as the Empire State Building. In practice, it means that approximately 90-95 percent of the population will always fall within the normal range. However, it's assured that 90-95 percent of the population does not feel healthy, well, or full of energy.
Leaving aside the problems of conflicting lab test results and variable definitions of what is "normal" there is another reason why lab tests should not be the sole factor in determining whether an individual has hypothyroidism: thyroid hormone levels decline with age, with predictable effects on energy and well-being. It is the relative decline in your thyroid hormone level that matters, not your level compared to some arbitrarily defined standard.
This is the approach that we take at Hotze Health & Wellness Center with our patients. We do perform blood tests, primarily to measure free thyroxine (T4) and to determine whether thyroid antibodies are present. We also look at the total cholesterol and LDL levels because these are often elevated in patients with hypothyroidism. However, the primary criterion for diagnosis and for evaluating the effects of treatment is how the patient feels. If the symptoms of hypothyroidism are present, we treat accordingly.
We treat with dessicated thyroid. Examples of brand names of dessicated thyroid are Armour Thyroid or Nature-Throid. Such desiccated thyroid preparations contain both the inactive and the active forms of thyroid hormone. Common synthetic thyroid preparations such as Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid, and other levothyroxine sodium products contain only a synthetic version of T4, the inactive form of thyroid hormone. This may work for you if your body is perfect at converting the inactive T4 to the active T3 that your body can actually utilize. Unfortunately, what many people have is a conversion problem or Hypothyroidism Type 2. Your body may make enough thyroid hormone, but not be able to assimilate it into the cells where it can actually do its job. This results in less than optimal function for you. There isn't a blood test that will tell you if you have a problem assimilating thyroid into your cells. We must rely on your symptoms to give us this piece of information.
Your discussions with us, combined with our medical examination and tests, determine if desiccated thyroid supplementation might be of benefit to you. If you come to our Center with symptoms of hypothyroidism, even though your thyroid hormone levels might be in the so-called "normal" range, we may offer you a therapeutic trial of bioidentical thyroid hormone replacement unless you have a health condition that precludes this. We will monitor you and incrementally adjust your dose, checking your thyroid lab values to assure that they are within safe ranges, until your symptoms of hypothyroidism are resolved.
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