An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid dysfunction, according to the American Thyroid Association, and up to 60% of those people are unaware of their condition. Research shows that women are eight times more likely to develop thyroid issues in their lifetimes than men. Undiagnosed thyroid disease may put patients at risk for certain serious conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and infertility. Many times the symptoms are ignored, or are attributed to other medical conditions and not fully addressed.
What are symptoms of hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, can cause a variety of symptoms in patients. Some of these include:
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness
- Elevated blood cholesterol level
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
- Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
- Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
- Thinning hair
- Slowed heart rate
- Impaired memory
- Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)
These symptoms typically develop slowly, over years, and are often ignored until they are very troublesome. If you are having any of these symptoms it is important to have a thorough assessment of your thyroid function and address any imbalances.
How is hypothyroidism assessed?
It takes a simple blood panel to assess the levels of thyroid hormones in your body, and a physical exam to assess for any swelling or nodules on the thyroid. Sometimes an ultrasound may be ordered to further assess the size of the thyroid.
Many traditional providers only check TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels, and if that level is “normal” then they deem the thyroid to be functioning fine. There is so much more that goes in to assessing thyroid function! TSH is only a small piece of the picture and using only this level results in many hypothyroid cases being missed.
At Vitality Wellness Center, we take a more comprehensive approach to assessing and treating hypothyroidism, and have great results from our treatment. We check TSH, T4, T3, reverse T3, and antibody levels when we are assessing the thyroid’s function. Each of these hormones are important in the hypothyroid picture and a full assessment can’t be completed without them.
How is hypothyroidism treated?
Treatment for hypothyroidism depends on the reason for the dysfunction. Some cases can be dramatically improved with only the use of diet and supplements, while other cases require lifelong treatment.
At Vitality Wellness Center we customize thyroid care to each patient, and we work to fix any underlying factors that contribute to the dysfunction. We often use NTD (natural desiccated thyroid), but also utilize standard prescriptions, depending on the situation. Patients who are currently on thyroid medications can still feel poorly and not see the expected results because they aren’t being treated to optimal levels. We treat for optimal function and strive to eliminate troublesome symptoms for our patients. Call today to schedule your free consultation and see how we can help you!
Vitality Wellness CENTER
10415 Hickory Path Way #102 Knoxville, TN 37922
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