Thyroid Health

An estimated 20 million Americans have some sort of thyroid disease.

Up to 60% of those are unaware of their condition. (American Thyroid Association).

Dr. Kimberly Brown is wonderful. She diagnosed a thyroid problem that my doctor had missed entirely. She truly cares about the wellbeing of her patients.

Laura B.

Schedule Consultation

What is Hypothyroidism?

Thyroid Health - What is Hypothyroidism?Are you always complaining that you’re tired? Is focusing hard, like you’re in a perpetual fog? Is weight loss impossible? Do you often feel aches and pains for no reason? Is your hair falling out?

Do you have slow digestion and feel cold all the time? Are you perimenopausal/menopausal or recently pregnant and suddenly experiencing hypothyroid-like symptoms? Do you have a family member with hypothyroidism?

If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, you could be suffering from hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is a disorder caused by too little thyroid hormone. Perhaps you’ve gone to your doctor convinced you have hypothyroidism but been told you do not. You may have asked yourself how is it you can have almost every symptom of hypothyroidism and yet your doctor tells you that you do not.

Hypothyroidism is often underdiagnosed because standard “normal” ranges in labs are far too wide and there has been an overdependence on diagnosing hypothyroidism simply based on labs and not symptoms.

To quote Dr. John Midgley, a thyroid specialist and researcher, “ The paradigm of the TSH-FT4 relationship is wrong, especially in treatment. The whole conceptual thinking behind diagnosis thyroidology and the importance of personal diagnosis based on the patient rather than whether the numbers fall in or out of the normal range is fatally flawed. For the moment mechanical thinking has traduced medical diagnosis.”.

Essentially, what he is saying is, diagnose based on symptoms, not lab values. As the old saying goes, ‘If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.’.

I often see patients who have every sign and symptom of hypothyroidism, but because their lab values are and have been “normal”, they are told that their thyroid is fine. They go years feeling exhausted, constipated, losing hair, feeling cold, and gaining weight.

Who gets Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is far more common in women than in men, and the chances that you will become hypothyroid increases with age. In fact, women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems. One woman in eight will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime (American Thyroid Association).

Hypothyroidism also seems to be genetic.

If you have a family member who has any type of thyroid dysfunction, you are more likely to develop hypothyroidism. Women are more likely to develop hypothyroidism because of changes in estrogen. Increased estrogen levels deplete thyroid hormones.

Female teens, pregnant women, and women in their 40s/50s (perimenopausal/menopausal) are all experiencing changes in estrogen. Women who have recently started birth control or hormone replacement therapy with estrogen are also at increased risk of developing hypothyroidism. Women who are “estrogen dominant” are also at increased risk.

Schedule Consultation

Do Men Get Hypothyroidism?

Do Men Get Hypothyroidism?

Although less likely, men can have hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism in men can depress testosterone levels causing symptoms of low testosterone. Men who have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism are at increased risk of low testosterone syndrome.

What Are All the Symptoms of Hypothyroidism?

If thyroid hormones are low, symptoms include: fatigue, constipation, dry skin, joint and muscle pains, inability to lose weight, brittle nails, menstrual irregularities, sensitivity to cold, depression, anxiety, and/or hair loss.

Is Hypothyroidism An Autoimmune Disorder?

It’s possible that all thyroid disorders have an autoimmune nature but not all people with hypothyroidism have increased thyroid antibodies. It’s likely that there are antibodies that we presently cannot test for. People who have increased thyroid antibodies and no thyroid dysfunction are at increased risk of hypothyroidism.

Are you Already on Thyroid Medication But Still Feel Hypo?

This is usually because your doctor is treating your lab results and not your symptoms, or you are not on the right type of medication and support. At San Jose Integrative Medicine, we perform a full thyroid panel at least once per year on all her hypothyroid patients, and more often if they are still having “hypo” symptoms.

In addition, we choose from all medications and supplements available. There is more than just levothyroxine that can be used to treat hypothyroidism. Perhaps you need natural dessicated thyroid medication like Armourthyroid, Naturethroid, or NP thyroid. Perhaps you need compounded thyroid medication in a sustained release capsule, or you may need liothyronine.

In addition, we look at the cofactors that support your thyroid. There are numerous vitamins and minerals needed for proper thyroid function. Adrenal health and stress also affects thyroid function. Exogenous estrogens deplete thyroid hormone. We consider all of the other hormones when we see someone with hypothyroidism.

Schedule Consultation

Are There Long Term Health Impacts to Untreated or Undertreated Hypothyroidism?

Left untreated or undertreated, hypothyroidism can do significant organ damage over many years. It is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease, increased cholesterol, nerve injury, infertility, and in rare cases, death.

What Can Be done?

First, see a doctor who will assess both your symptoms and lab results, and order a comprehensive thyroid panel versus solely screening TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), along with other lab work. Once diagnosed with hypothyroidism, we may use prescriptive natural thyroid like Armourthyroid, Naturethroid, or NP thyroid, or bioidentical thyroid hormone. In addition, we use natural supplements to support your overall wellness and thyroid.

What About Hyperthyroidism?

An overactive thyroid, hyperthyroidism, is a less common condition that exists when excess thyroid hormones are present. Symptoms may be weight loss, anxiety, diarrhea, sweating, weakness,increased heart rate, fatigue, and insomnia. Although natural treatments exist, Dr. Kimberly Brown, ND may advise medications.

There are some cases when someone’s labs will appear hyperthyroid yet they have “hypo” symptoms. We refer to this as the “rise before the fall”, before the thyroid is completely drained of all its strength, ie thyroid hormone, and hypothyroidism incurs.

If you’d like to discuss your symptoms and how we can help, give us a call at (408) 357-3422 or book a complimentary phone consultation.

Schedule Consultation