Why Millions of People With “Normal” Thyroid Tests Still Have a Thyroid Problem!
What You’re Not Told, and How to Find Out
First and foremost: it’s important to know where you thyroid gland is, the basics of what it does, and how it functions.
The thyroid gland rests in the lower neck. It’s responsible for controlling and regulating the body’s overall metabolism at a cellular level. This overall metabolism is reflected in the body’s temperature. Deficiencies in thyroid hormones and/or their ability to stimulate cellular metabolism can result in one or many troubling symptoms, such as:
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- Loss or thinning of eyebrows
- Low sex drive
- Abdominal bloating
- Dry or thinning hair
- Cold intolerance
- Cold hands or feet
- Joint or muscle pain
- Lethargy and fatigue
Hypothyroidism is a relatively common hormonal disorder with research estimating a prevalence as high as 1 out of 10 people. Interestingly, a considerable number of people don’t even know they may have low thyroid levels, and often suffer with most of the symptoms above without knowing how to pinpoint the source.
The most common ways people try to treat these issues is by trying (without knowing) fad diet(s), over exertion during exercise, and even antidepressant pills, all with no help or results. Many people are advised to try a Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) blood tests, however, a TSH test is virtually useless because they do not various levels, making the results very broad, often resulting in the ‘normal’ range. when the present broad range of “normal” is used.
Studies have shown that people with ‘normal’ TSH levels who also have the symptoms listed above most likely have much lower levels of the actual circulating thyroid hormones. Some individuals using thyroid medication are often under-treated if TSH alone is used to measure progress.
Medications, stress, and other hormone imbalances have been shown to lower the effectiveness of thyroid hormones in the body by upsetting the balance between the weaker T4 hormone and the stronger T3 hormone. This is especially prevalent in women using birth control pills, hormone replacement pills, and even women with PMS or abnormal periods. Again, these individuals will likely have a ‘normal’ blood TSH, BUT abnormally low circulating thyroid hormone levels.
In my practice, all my patients with any of the classic hypothyroid symptoms listed above, are tested for thyroid hormones (saliva testing) in addition to TSH. I frequently check the patient’s testosterone, cortisol, estrogen and progesterone for an imbalance as suboptimal levels of these hormones will affect thyroid function. Once diagnosed with hypothyroidism, patients are given small doses of thyroid hormones to take daily in order to balance out their metabolism and overall well being. Symptoms noticeably improve within a few weeks, and as far as maintenance – we only test a few times a year to monitor progress.
Hope this helps and remember, when in doubt – do not self-diagnose and strain your physical and mental health! Visit a doctor who has vast knowledge and experience in hormonal health for longevity!
Book your consultation with Dr. Simran Sethi today!