5 Common Thyroid Problems

...that your doctor doesn't know!

Common Thyroid Problems

When a person goes to their doctor suffering with one or more of the hypothyroid symptoms their doctor will usually test them for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine (T4).

If the test results indicate that their levels are low then they will usually be given a prescriptionfor replacement T4 hormones without any further examination as to why the levels were low in the first place.

If, on the other hand, the levels are normal then people will sometimes be told they're fine and will be sent away with a prescription for an antidepressant!

The fact is that the physiology of thyroid functioning is extremely complex. There are several steps within the process of hormone production, conversion into active forms, and uptake into cells.

This means that overall thyroid functioning can be affected at any one of the steps throughout the process. Furthermore, different causes of thyroid problems require different treatments rather than a 'one-size-fits-all' approach.

Here are 5 common thyroid problems that most doctors aren't aware of:

1. Pituitary gland dysfunction.

This problem is often seen when the pituitary gland doesn't produce enough thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Even though the level produced may be low, it may not fall into the category of 'clinically low' and therefore will be said to be 'normal'.

Reduced TSH production is caused by one or several of the following factors:

  • Infection
  • Blood sugar issues (insulin resistance, hypoglycaemia)
  • Chronic stress
  • Pregnancy
  • In this case the thyroid gland will be functioning normally, but it simply won't be getting enough stimulus from the pituitary gland due to it being 'stressed' or 'fatigued'.

    TSH production can return to normal once the causes have been identified and addressed.

    2. Reduced conversion of T4 to T3.

    T4 is the 'inactive' form of thyroid hormone, whereas T3 (triiodothyronine) is the 'active' form. The majority of thyroid hormones are T4.

    The conversion of T4 to T3 occurs in the liver, kidneys, as well as in the cell membranes of other tissues around the body. Nutrient deficiencies, inflammation, and high cortisol levels (stress hormone) reduce the conversion of T4 to T3.

    When tested, TSH and T4 will be normal. However, if T3 is tested, even though it is rarely done, it will be low.

    3. Elevated Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG) levels.

    TBG is a protein that transports thyroid hormones around the body. However, when they are bound to TBG they are inactive.

    Elevate TBG levels mean that a greater proportion of thyroid hormones are inactive. Results from TSH and T4 testing appear normal but T3 will be low if tested.

    High TBG levels result from elevated oestrogen levels in the body.

    4. Thyroid resistance

    In the case of thyroid resistance both the pituitary and thyroid glands are functioning normally with normal levels of hormones being produced too.

    However, when the thyroid hormones reach the cells that they are supposed to act on they are unable to bind with the receptors resulting in hypothyroid symptoms.

    Thyroid resistance is caused by chronic stress, high homocysteine levels, and low TBG levels. It may seem counter-intuitive that low TBG levels lead to hypothyroid symptoms. However, since it results in elevated levels of 'active' thyroid hormones in the blood stream, the receptors on cell membranes become de-sensitised to the thyroid hormones.

    5. Elevated reverse T3 (rT3) levels.

    Circulating T4 may be converted into T3 or its mirror image reverse T3 (rT3) depending on various factors within the body. RT3 has the effect of blocking T3 receptors on cell membranes, making them ineffective.

    Conversion of T4 into rT3 occurs when cortisol levels are high and/ or there are nutrient deficiencies in the body.

    In order to overcome these little-known causes of hypothyroid symptoms, there are several steps you can take. [NOTE: Hypothyroidism caused by pregnancy or infection should be managed by your doctor.]

    Here are the steps to take if you are suffering with one of these common thyroid problems:

    Common Thyroid Problems 1. Reduce stress. Stress is a major cause of thyroid problems. In order to reduce your stress levels or the impact that stress has on your body, do the following: remove the stressor (if possible), use breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, meditation, undergo counselling, or use products like rhodiola rosea.

    2. Improve blood sugar levels. Since insulin resistance and hypoglycaemia cause thyroid problems, finding ways to stabilise your blood sugar levels will go a long way towards helping you overcome your thyroid problems. If insulin resistance is a problem for you then following a low-carb diet, even temporarily, will be beneficial. Perform regular exercise will also be beneficial as well as using glucose disposal agents (GDAs) like fenugreek or cinnamon.

    3. Reduce inflammation in your body. This is best achieved by avoiding foods that cause inflammation in your body (i.e. allergenic foods as well as foods that are known to cause inflammation in the body like dairy foods and gluten-containing foods). It may also be beneficial to supplement your diet with fish oil and turmeric-based supplements like, Relieve Turmeric Forte.

    4. Reduce oestrogen and homocysteine levels in your body. Certain products on the market are specifically-designed to remove oestrogen from your body and other assist with lower homocysteine levels. It is best to speak with your healthcare practitioner about these.

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    Here is the complete list of thyroid articles:

    Can You Get Off Thyroid Medication?

    T3 and T4 Thyroid Hormones

    Thyroid Disease Caused By Inflammation

    5 Common Thyroid Problems

    The Ideal Thyroid Diet For You

    Thyroid Diet Foods and Nutrients

    The Importance of a Healthy Thyroid Gland

    What Causes Thyroid Disease Symptoms?

    Do You Have Low Thyroid Symptoms?

    Alternative Thyroid Treatments

    How Stress Affects Your Thyroid

    What is Hashimoto Thyroiditis?

    Reverse T3- The Hidden Cause of Thyroid Problems

    Should You Use a Thyroid Supplement?

    The Causes of Thyroid Problems

    Underactive Thyroid and Nutritional Deficiencies

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