Hypothyroidism/Hyperthyroidism Diagnosis and Treatment
Thyroid dysfunction, especially among women, is becoming an epidemic in America! It seems like everyone can name at least one immediate relative or close friend with a thyroid problem. Sadly, most of them have probably been told by their PCP that medication is the only answer or that your diet and environment have nothing to do with the dysfunction. Thankfully, many patients are starting to take their health into their own hands, doing their own research and learning ways to help heal their thyroid. The first step in any thyroid concern is knowing the right testing. There are 6 important measurements for the thyroid in the blood that need to be investigated. Let’s start with the function of the thyroid. Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), free thyroxine (T4), free triiodothyronine (T3) and reverse T3 are foundational to understanding if the pituitary-thyroid connection is intact and whether the body is effectively converting the most active thyroid hormone that our body can use – T3. In addition to functionality, it is imperative to know if thyroid issues are due to an immune problem. This is why measuring thyroglobulin and thyroid peroxidase antibodies are necessary. This tells us if the immune system is targeting and attacking the thyroid tissue. Many cases of thyroid conditions go undiagnosed as Hashimoto’s or Grave’s disease because antibodies have never been tested. In these instances, appropriate treatment is also missed because the immune system must be addressed to help in healing! Many factors can be involved when the thyroid is functioning poorly due to an immune system problem. We now have so much more educational information available explaining the effects of gluten on the thyroid as well as chronic viruses like Epstein Barr Virus or toxicities like heavy metals or mold. It is important to know that every case is different and many factors should be evaluated to determine the cause of thyroid dysfunction. As always, first and foremost, the digestive system must be healthy!