Thyroid disease affects around 20 million Americans, and 1 in 8 women will experience a thyroid issue in her lifetime. Thyroid issues are so common that they can be treated with disregard.
However, if your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, nothing in your body will. This master gland located in your neck controls many facets of your health.
Here are the thirteen top signs indicating something is wrong with your thyroid:
- Weak bones
If you have weak bones, have your thyroid checked. Abnormal thyroid function decreases bone density. Serum calcium will typically be in the normal range, but outside of the functional, optimal range. I will dive into the difference between normal and optimal ranges later in this guide, so you’ll definitely want to stay tuned. Most of my patients find the difference incredibly eye-opening.
- Gut Problems
Thyroid issues can affect your intestinal movement, which is essential for healthy digestion. The ability of your body to absorb nutrients is also altered when your thyroid isn’t working well. Healthy thyroid function dampens gut inflammation, and low thyroid function is linked with gastric ulcers and a condition called leaky gut syndrome.
- Low Sex Drive
Many people think their low sex drive is due to aging, when in fact it may be a symptom of a bigger hormonal problem that’s anything but normal. Thyroid function affects the metabolism of estrogen and testosterone in the body and is linked with erectile dysfunction and low libido.
- Unexplained Weight Gain/Stubborn Weight Loss
When your thyroid hormones are low, your body will be less able to break down fat, creating a resistance to weight loss. Fad diets and exercise won’t fix the problem. Weight gain is just a sign of an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. You actually have to get your body healthy to lose weight, not lose weight to get healthy. When you deal with the underlying hormonal problem and heal the root cause, weight and fat loss is a natural byproduct.
- Low Energy
In addition to slowing your ability to burn fat, thyroid issues will decrease your energy, causing extreme and debilitating fatigue.
- Blood Sugar Problems
When you suffer from thyroid issues, your body’s ability to absorb glucose decreases. You need glucose to get properly in the cell to create ATP, your cellular energy source. Many struggling with thyroid problems can feel hypoglycemic, as if they have low blood sugar, because the cells are not getting the glucose they need. Therefore, you can feel hypoglycemic even with normal blood sugar labs. This vicious cycle of hormonal dysfunction can lead to metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance.
- High Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Thyroid issues can decrease the breakdown of cholesterol, leading to elevated total cholesterol and triglycerides. While high cholesterol alone is a poor predictor of heart attack and stroke, elevated triglycerides indicates an increased risk factor.
- Adrenal Fatigue
When you have thyroid issues, additional stress is placed on your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Because of the lack of glucose and energy getting to the cells, more cortisol is released in attempts to get energy to the cells. This increased production of cortisol leads to what we call adrenal fatigue.
- Toxin Overload
Poor thyroid health will lead to your liver and gallbladder not working well, which can significantly decrease your body’s ability to rid itself of toxins. I commonly see impaired detoxification pathways in patients dealing with thyroid problems.
- Estrogen Imbalances
Estrogen comes in the form of three metabolites: Estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). Estrogen balance is essential for your health, and when your thyroid isn’t working properly, your estrogen rations can become unbalanced.
- Brain Problems
Hypothyroidism is linked with poor neurotransmitter expression and an increased risk of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder as a predominance of thyroid receptor sites are found in the brain. One study found that people with depression had higher rates of thyroid conversion impairments, or low T3 syndrome.
- Hot Flashes or Shivers
When your thyroid hormone levels are low, it affects your body’s temperature control. This can cause you to feel cold all the time, or have night sweats and hot flashes.
- Hair loss
Since the thyroid determines your metabolism and absorption of nutrients, when your thyroid hormones aren’t functioning optimally this can lead to hair loss. Returning markers to optimal levels is essential to regaining hair health.
Now that you know the symptoms of the problem, let’s jump into why mainstream medicine still leaves unanswered questions.
What To Do Now
A properly functioning thyroid is critical to your overall health. Many instinctively know they have a thyroid problem despite having “normal” lab results.
The labs that are typically run in mainstream medicine are an incomplete look at your thyroid.
If you still show thyroid symptoms and your lab results are defined as “normal,” something is not being addressed.
The normal reference range is based on a statistical average of the population of that lab. Therefore, reference ranges will vary depending on the lab.
And, to add to the insanity, people who go to these labs are not statistically the healthiest. So, normal really means that you’re doing okay compared to everyone else. As the population gets sicker, normal starts to skew towards sicker.
In sum, normal is not ideal!
In our practice, we look at a different range, the functional or optimal range, where your body is functioning optimally and you feel great.
To determine the what’s really going on, you need to have a full functional thyroid panel run and properly interpreted. It’s also important to get a comprehensive hormone panel to uncover other factors that may contribute to your thyroid condition.
If you’re on a thyroid hormone replacement drug but still have thyroid symptoms, be sure to look at the reasons your medication may not be helping.
Suffering from Thyroid Disease? Ready to take control of your health? Schedule an appointment at our Coppell, TX office