What you need to know about Hypothyroid Symptoms.
Physical Signs of Hypothyroidism: What a doctor or YOU can see or feel on your body:
- Low Pulse and Low Blood pressure
- Basal Body Temperature below 98 (your oral temperature taken before you get out of bed in the morning).
- No sweating when you exercise or are in hot weather
- Swelling all over the body
- Brittle nails
- Loss of, or thinning body hair
- Hair problems: poor quality brittle hair, thinning all over the head, slow hair growth and constant shedding
- Weight Gain when you eat normally
- Swelling, and puffiness around the eyes
- Distended and bloated abdomen
- Goiter or swelling in the neck
- Extremely dry skin, may look like cobblestones
- Loss of the lateral Eyebrows (the outer third of the eyebrows)
- Heart arrythmias and palpitations
- Cold hands and feet
If you have 3 or more of these signs you should be evaluated for hypothyroidism.
There are high risk factors that should alert you and your doctor that you are high risk to get Hypothyroidism:
- Being female
- Aging over 50
- Living in the Midwest
- Family history of Hypothyroidism
- Family history of Hyperthyroidism, Graves Disease and Hashimotos Thyroiditis.
- Allergy to Iodine
- Poor diet, lack of vitamin A, vitamin D, Lack of Iodine and Zinc.
- Diagnosed with an autoimmune disease already
- Diagnosed with Depression
- Drink fluorinated water
If the patient is a woman, she is eight times more likely to have hypothyroidism than a man, and if she lives in the northern Midwestern US, the Goiter Belt, she has a very high risk of the hypothyroid epidemic that affects most women in that area. This high rate is the result of a lack of iodine in the ground and water sourced in the Midwest that causes hypothyroidism.
Overall, hypothyroidism causes the human metabolism to slow to a standstill. And slow the production of energy in the cells, and store that energy as fat. Low thyroid slows growth hormone, which thins the hair and makes it frizzy and fall out in large amounts.
Thyroid hormone is meant to keep the body temperature between 98 and 98.6 by stoking the metabolic fire and keeping the body warm enough for enzymes to work, and cells to work as well. We are “warm blooded” for a reason and “warmth” is accomplished by thyroid hormones effect on each cell in our body. When we have hypothyroidism from inability to secrete enough thyroid hormone, or if we aren’t given enough thyroid replacement our body’s enzymes and chemical reactions slow down and stop, causing us to gain weight, feel fatigues and sick. Thyroid is the thermostat and our cells including muscles and other organs make energy out of our food.
Thyroid hormones also stimulate the intestines to work and absorb the food that gives us energy. Without thyroid our intestines come to a standstill and we are constipated! I contend that the great number of drugs on the market to help constipation would be unnecessary, if every person had enough thyroid hormone and iodine to make their gut work!
Fatigue can take many shapes, but hypothyroidism causes a patient to have the feeling of exhaustion that stems from malfunction of the smallest cells throughout the body that cannot turn blood sugar into energy. Lake of thyroid makes organs made of those cells slow down to a virtual stop. It is in that way that the effect of inadequate thyroid hormone on the cellular level, makes the whole mechanism of the human body slow to a virtual stop, and we “feel” exhausted. This is terrible for the human body and we cannot live well without adequate thyroid hormone.
Depressed mood is a very common diagnosis in the US ad often the depressed mood comes from low levels of thyroid, testosterone and or estrogen (in women). Anti-depressants don’t generally completely cure depression in these cases because anti-depressants don’t fix low thyroid.
Inability to think and concentrate is common in 39% of patients with untreated hypothyroidism. Before worrying about having a degenerative disease or “getting old” get your thyroid checked and replace the thyroid with an appropriate amount of thyroid hormone.
I have treated many infertile patients with thyroid replacement in my GYN practice for the first 29 years of my medical practice, and it was unbelievably effective! Normal thyroid is necessary to get pregnant, and infertility doctors rarely look at this very common cause of infertility, when it is very common.
The Bottom Line: If you have 3 or more of the symptoms described above then have your thyroid checked with at least 5 different tests: Free T4, Free T3, TSH, and reverse T 3. If your Free T4 is less than 1.0, your free T3 is less than or equal to 3,0 and your reverse T3 is greater than 20 then you probably have hypothyroidism. You should first take Iodoral 12.5 mg per day with a pinch of salt and find a doctor who will replace your thyroid and listen to your symptoms. Once you are treated then you should find a doctor to increase your dose to the point where all of your symptoms are gone, your lab tests are normal and your basal body temperature is 97.9 degrees F, or greater.
Type of Thyroid Replacement Medication:
Women do much better with a combination of T3 + T4 thyroid replacement called porcine thyroid, or Armour Thyroid, Naturethroid, or WP thyroid. Men are fine on the synthetic thyroid, Synthroid, or levothyroxine most of the time
Post replacement thyroid testing:
After replacement with thyroid, your blood tests should be drawn, on an empty stomach before you take your morning thyroid, and your TSH should be 1.0 or less, your free T3 should be 3.0 or more, and your Free T4 should be 1-2.0. If it is lower, you need more thyroid hormone or a different kind.
Dosage Adjustments of Thyroid hormone replacement changes:
In winter your need an increase in your dose to keep your warm! The dosage should decrease when the weather gets warm. Altitude requires more thyroid hormone replacement, so an increase in dose when you are in the mountains during any season.
Supplements that assist your body in metabolizing thyroid hormone:
- Iodoral: 12.5 mg per am with food and a pinch of salt
- Magnesium Glycinate 200-400 mg per day to prevent palpitations
- Vitamin A 20,000 iu/day
- Vitamin C 500-1000/day
- Vitamin D 2000-5,000/day
- Vitamin E 400 mg/day
Goal of Therapy:
I think that symptoms are the most reliable measure of how adequate your thyroid dose is. If your symptoms are gone and you have no side effects like anxiety or palpitations, then your dose should not be lowered. Lack of symptoms is a sign of success, not a reason to decrease your dose and make you sick again!
This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author, with Brett Newcomb, MA., LPC., Family Counselor, Presenter and Author. www.BioBalanceHealth.com.