Underactive thyroid function is becoming alarmingly common — and the condition is horribly under-diagnosed.
The good news is that once it is diagnosed, it can be very easy to treat in ways that can save your life in addition to making life much more worthwhile.
The thyroid gland, located in the neck area, is the body's gas pedal. It regulates our metabolic speed.
If the thyroid gland produces insufficient amounts of thyroid hormones, metabolism decreases and a person gains weight. Other symptoms of hypothyroidism (thyroid deficiency) include intolerance to cold, fatigue, achiness, confusion, and constipation.
Unfortunately, the current blood testing misses the majority of people who need thyroid hormone treatment. Worse yet, many physicians don’t know that the testing is unreliable, and continue to treat the tests instead of the person.
Holistic physicians know how take both your symptoms and labs into account. Anyone with even two of the above symptoms should consider a trial of natural prescription thyroid.
In the U.S., low thyroid problems mostly occur because the thyroid is being attacked by our own immune system (an autoimmune process called "Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis" — diagnosed by having an elevated anti-TPO antibody which is a simple blood test).
A resurgence of iodine and selenium deficiencies is also contributing to thyroid problems. Having the problem is no big deal — as long as you get treated properly with natural thyroid hormone.
• More than 30,000 preventable deaths occur each year from heart attacks. Women with untreated hypothyroidism are more than twice as likely to have a heart attack.
• More than 4,600 miscarriages occur each year after 15 weeks of pregnancy — countless more before. Six percent of miscarriages are associated with hypothyroidism. And in moderate to severely hypothyroid mothers, babies are over sex times more likely to die soon after being born.
• Children born to hypothyroid mothers have a lower IQ (by an average of 7 points). They are almost four times as likely to have an IQ under 85, and more than twice as likely to have learning difficulties.
• Hypothyroidism contributes to millions being unnecessarily disabled. More than 6 million Americans have fibromyalgia and tens of millions more have chronic muscle pain. Undiagnosed or inadequately treated thyroid disorders contribute to these unnecessarily disabling conditions.
• Hypothyroidism is a major cause of gaining and being unable to lose weight. It also causes fatigue, dry hair, coarse skin, depression, and "brain fog." Americans are currently treating hypothyroidism, which is often confused as being depression, with Prozac! This is an even bigger problem in the elderly who are being misdiagnosed with depression or Alzheimer's disease when what they have is hypothyroidism.
While only lab testing can determine with certainty that you have hypothyroidism, you can perform a simple at-home self-examination called the "Neck Check" to help you detect if you have an enlarged thyroid gland and should speak with your doctor about further testing.
For step-by-step instructions on how to perform the Neck Check, visit the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
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