thyroid & adrenal health
- Approximately 20 million Americans and 10% of Canadians have thyroid disease
- Women are 5-8 times more likely than men to have thyroid problems
- 12% of Americans are diagnosed with a thyroid disorder in their lifetime, and likely the numbers are double to triple that if we include ‘sub-clinical hypothyroidism’
- Types of thyroid disorders include hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s or postpartum), thyroid cancer, Graves’ disease and nodules
- Symptoms of hypothyroidism are fatigue, weight gain, constipation, brain fog/memory concerns, dry skin, hair loss, low libido, etc.
- Symptoms of hyperthyroidism: insomnia, palpitations, excessive sweating, diarrhea, eye protrusion, etc.
- TSH is the lab test often used to assess thyroid health, however many experts agree this test alone is insufficient. Thyroid testing should include THS, fT3, fT4, thyroid antibodies (Anti-TPO antibodies), and thyroglobulin antibodies (TgAb).
- Some experts recommend taking your basal body temperature three hours after you wake as a way to determine thyroid health. Body temperature below 98.6F may be an indication of poor thyroid function
- Thyroid health is related to stress and hormone changes and should be monitored during these times if thyroid symptoms appear
- When treating thyroid the adrenal glands should also be supported
- Adrenal glands are small glands that sit above your kidneys and are responsible for producing glucocorticoid (cortisol etc. for stress response), mineralocorticoids (aldosterone etc. for salt water balance), androgens (sex hormones) and epinephrine/norepinepherine (adrenalin )
- You can have frank autoimmune disease against the adrenal gland resulting in Cushing’s disease and Addison’s disease. Both of these diseases require pharmaceutical intervention for survival.
- Many functional medicine/integrative doctors observe that you can also have an imbalance in the adrenal leading to underactive or inappropriate release of cortisol, termed adrenal fatigue.
- Adrenal fatigue causes symptoms such as:
> Sleep-wake cycle disturbance
> Weight gain
- Generally adrenal fatigue occurs after periods of prolonged stress. Unfortunately there is minimal science backing this theory up and thus it is based on observation.
- Cortisol and thyroid are intricately connected. Cortisol binds to thyroid receptors, downregulating thyroid production.
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