Hypothyroidism is an under active or low thyroid, meaning it isn’t naturally producing enough thyroid hormone for your body to metabolize properly. The most common causes of hypothyroidism include the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and iodine deficiency.
Hypothyroidism occurs more commonly in people, women specifically, over the age of fifty. Initially, you may not even notice any symptoms because they are similar to many of those unwelcome but inevitable symptoms of the natural aging process. After a while however we begin to realize that there is only so many symptoms that we can brush off as ‘natural aging’ and begin to want some understanding, answers and treatments.
So it’s normally not too serious in the beginning, but if left untreated or unrecognized altogether, you can end up dealing with some serious health issues down the road that aren’t reversible. This is why it is so very important to have yourself examined thoroughly, and that you understand all the symptoms and treatment options for this disease. You can then take action if necessary and control it quickly.
What conditions can trigger hypothyroid disease?
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis – This is a genetic disease of the immune system.
- Thyroiditis – Where your thyroid gland is swollen and this can lower hormone production.
- Dysfunctional Thyroid Gland – Found in thousands of newborns. If it isn’t corrected immediately, severe retardation will occur.
- Postpartum Thyroiditis – This is a temporary condition of pregnancy occurring after delivery in less than 10 percent of pregnancies.
Lower levels of thyroid hormones can affect the production of neurotransmitters and how well they are used in the brain and other parts of the body – this can lead to common low thyroid symptoms like depression, anxiety, poor memory, and insomnia. In this respect, it can also affect digestion because enzymes, just like neurotransmitters, do not function as they should when the body temperature is lowered – this can result in poor digestion of food, which can be manifested as gas, upset stomach, heartburn or constipation. The hormone insulin (responsible for regulating the level of sugar in the blood) is equally affected by lower temperatures in the body and explains why many patients with low thyroid often experience fluctuations in blood sugar like the yo-yoing effect of hypoglycemia. Some of these symptoms may need to be treated along with the low thyroid.
The 7 causes of hypothyroidism or low thyroid function
- Poor dietary habits – missing meals, high carbohydrate/low protein diets/poor vegetable intake
- Nutritional deficiencies –zinc, selenium, iodine, Vitamin D, Vitamin A
- Toxicity from halides (fluoride, bromide, chloride) and heavy metals
- Gluten intolerance and other food intolerances
- Adrenal fatigue /stress
- Poor methylation pathways/detox pathways
Some of the hottest health topics are closely related to Hypothyroidism. Statistics show that close to sixty-five percent of the developed world are obese or overweight. Having a thyroid that is malfunctioning often leads to excessive weight gain, which triggers diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, elevated blood cholesterol and high blood pressure. Studies show that up to fifty percent of depression is attributed to an undiagnosed thyroid condition. If left untreated thyroid issues can also cause serious mental conditions.
A patient had been following the paeliolithic diet. She was 15kgs overweight and for five years she was doing boot camps three times per week and walking for an hour every other day. She was still not losing this excess weight. We treated her with nutrients for two months and she lost some weight (approx 3 kg’s) but it really wasn’t moving as well as it should be, albeit improving for the first time in five years. We checked her reflex speeds and they were still too slow, indicating low thyroid function, so it was decided we would start her on whole thyroid extract to lift her thyroid function. Within a month she had shed 4 kg and is now at her ideal weight. She still eats very well and exercises, but no longer need to thrash herself at boot camps, and she feels fabulous.
The thyroid can behave like a tap, it can be gushing (Hyper), or dripping (Hypo) and we need it to have a steady flow (functioning properly)
“Among those who know they have thyroid problems, the majority don’t even feel well. Clearly, something needs to be done to help patients get diagnosed accurately and quickly, and once diagnosed, receive effective treatment”. Mary Shomon, Thyroid specialist and member of the Endocrine Society.
The upside? There are treatment options available, both medicinal and natural to treat this condition.