Hypothyroidism – A serious under-diagnosed endemic
According to Dr. Broda O. Barnes, author of Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness, one out of 3 people may be affected by this condition – a low functioning of the thyroid gland affecting cellular functions and metabolism causing symptoms such as: lethargy, constant fatigue, constipation, heavy menstrual flow, mood swings, brittle nails, sensitivity to cold, cold hands and feet, extremely dry skin, loss of hair, puffy face, weight gain without overeating, painful menstruation, acne, menstrual irregularities, etc.
Furthermore, the second most commonly diagnosed endocrine disorders are those of the thyroid gland (the first is diabetes). Ultrasound studies have shown thyroid nodular disease in at least 40% of healthy adults. In addition, about 10% of the US population at large shows circulating thyroid antibodies which are important predictors of autoimmune thyroid disease.
Evaluating Thyroid Function
- Blood Test – studying levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), T3 and T4 (total and free fractions)
- Basal Body Temperature Recording – evaluating your metabolic activities by measuring your temperature daily in the morning. Temperature readings lower than 97.4 for more than 7 days indicate low thyroid functions.
- Thyroid Function Assessment – please see the Thyroid Function Assessment to determine if you exhibit any of the hypothyroid symptoms.
Known causes of low thyroid functioning (hypothyroidism)
- Autoimmune disorder – production of antibodies to the thyroid gland inhibiting the hormone production
- Chronic illness
- Chronic stress (high cortisol hormone level from the adrenal glands)
- Nutritional deficiencies (selenium and zinc deficiency)
- Poor nutrition (low protein intake, poor diets)
- Toxic metals (cadmium, mercury, lead)
- Chronic drug use (pharmaceutical drugs such as beta blockers)
- Liver and kidney disease
- Carbohydrate intake restriction
- Too much estrogen(s)
Treatment of hypothyroidism at Methow Valley Wellness Center
- First, you will be evaluated for all symptoms of signs of hypothyroidism from questionnaires, interviews, and physical examination
- Next, your hormone levels (TSH, T3 and T4, thyroid antibodies) will be measured in the blood to confirm the diagnosis of hypothyroidism
- We will then discuss the uses of synthetic thyroid medication and natural desiccated porcine thyroid medication and determine which medicine is most suitable for you. Synthetic thyroid medications mostly contain T4 (Synthroid, Levoxyl, Thyroxine, etc…) while natural thyroid medications contain both T3 and T4 (Armor Thyroid, Nature throid, etc…)
- We will also discuss whether or not you have a thyroid conversion problem (inability to convert the weak and less active T4 hormone to the more metabolically active T3 hormone) – many factors have been identified to interfere with this conversion and once identified, we can effectively restore your metabolism and thyroid gland functions.
- Blood levels are then taken again 4-6 weeks after the initial treatment (thyroid medication) to monitor and adjust the doses of medication.
Not wanting to take thyroid hormones? – Not to Worry! Dr. Sierra can help boost thyroid function by only using the appropriate essential nutrients and herbs to correct the imbalances. There are a lot of research showing how nutrition, nutrient supplements, and herbal medicine can help support the thyroid gland.
The Principles of Naturopathic Medicine
1. First, do no harm.
2. Act in co-operation with the healing power of nature.
3. Address the fundamental causes of disease.
4. Heal the whole person through individualized treatment.
5. Teach the principles of healthy living and preventive medicine.