The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped organ located in the front of the neck. It mainly regulates the production of thyroid hormones, which control the body’s metabolic rate. Thyroid imbalance can arise from the thyroid being underactive (hypothyroidism) or overactive (hyperthyroidism).
Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is produced by the pituitary gland, within the brain. TSH signals two main thyroid hormones, Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). T3 is converted from T4. T3 is the most active thyroid hormone and if levels are low, then conversion from T4 is not taking place.
Testing for thyroid problems are complex because there are many factors that can influence thyroid function. Iodine, zinc and selenium deficiencies can result in an underactive thyroid. Stress is a major factor which influence the thyroid and result in poor conversion from T4 to T3 causing reverse T3 dominance.
An underactive thyroid can be the hidden cause of many health problems and is very common. It is frequently under diagnosed in our healthcare system.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include susceptibility to cold, fatigue, weight gain or difficulty to lose weight, lowered stress resistance, recurrent infections, depression, dry skin and hair, brittle nails, thinning of hair, heart palpitations, hoarse voice, infertility, poor concentration and menstrual problems. It can also influence cholesterol negatively which in turn causes coronary artery disease.
Subclinical hypothyroidism is often missed with standard blood testing only measuring TSH and T4. To sufficiently test thyroid function, further blood and urine testing is required. This will give a more reliable picture.
Treatment options ranges between synthetic T4 and bioidentical T3/T4 preparations. Many people do well on synthetic T4 preparations. If a person is not feeling much different or improved on synthetic T4, then it is worth considering using bioidentical T3/T4.
For further advice and to arrange an appointment please call the Medical Clinic on 01243 771455.