Hypothyroidism is one of the most misdiagnosed conditions in this country. Typical blood labs used by most practitioners include only TSH, T4, T3 and perhaps free T3. TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone is produced by your pituitary gland and is activated to instruct your thyroid to release mostly inactive T4 which then converts into T3 in the liver, gastrointestinal tract and other various cells such as muscle, heart and nerve cells. Only about 60% of T4 ever becomes a usable form of T3.
There are many physiologic conditions that can hinder this process resulting in the lack of active T3 and therefore thyroid symptoms. Just a few include: gastrointestinal dysfunction, which is all too prevalent today and actually worsened with the “purple pill”; liver toxicity, which most Americans suffer at some level, especially those on toxic medications; and hormonal imbalance, predominately estrogen and progesterone.
Generally, Hashimotos is the most commonly diagnosed thyroid disorder.
Some researchers believe that the majority of Americans suffer from some form of autoimmune disorder, mostly undiagnosed. Autoimmune disorders attack your own body tissues due to imbalances in within our protective immune responses. When it comes to “Hashimotos” your own thyroid gland is attacked and destroyed over time. For many years this immune disorder can lay dormant, eventually waking to begin its’ destructive process, triggered by some form of stress.
Here is where the problem lies. When the autoimmune process is activated, thyroid tissue is destroyed and released into the blood often causing hyperthyroid symptoms such as anxiousness, nervousness, heart palpitations and even night sweats. This in turn activates a feedback system that tells your brain to turn off your thyroid. Within days your back to typical hypothyroid symptoms of feeling sluggish, tired and depressed. Because of this autoimmune process not only will your symptoms vary, but so will your blood labs. The typical blood panel to view TSH is simply of no help. In this scenario, TSH will move down when the autoimmune process is activated and back up when it is neutralized. At the time of your blood lab it could be low, high or normal. Unfortunately you lose no matter what. Here is why. In traditional medicine the protocol is to place you on thyroid medication whenever this marker is suggesting hypothyroidism, regardless of the possibility of “Hashimotos”. The problem with this protocol is that it will allow the autoimmune response to continue on its destructive tract and eventually destroy all of your thyroid tissue. Thyroid medication now becomes mandatory.
If you believe you may have thyroid problems, which is much more prevalent if your are a woman, you really should be evaluated properly to rule out autoimmune “Hashimotos” as well as any other conditions that inhibit the conversion of inactive T4 to active T3.
To learn more about your thyroid and other hormonal issues that affect your health, please call, (330) 360-0028 for my upcoming talk on “Stress, Hormones and Health”