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How do you know if you have undiagnosed low or hypothyroid or if your thyroid medication is working? 

The most common symptoms of low thyroid or hypothyroid, whether you are taking medication or not:

  • Fatigue, persistent, life changing
  • Weight gain, despite weight loss and exercise efforts
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Sensitive to cold temperatures, indoors or outside
  • Cold hands
  • Cold feet
  • Sleep way too much and/or too often
  • Poor digestion, which may include gas and/or bloating
  • Itchy, dry skin
  • Hair falling out too easily and too much
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Low body temperature

Additionally, here are some additional symptoms that are more characteristic of Hashimoto's Disease, which can be experienced in combination with the symptoms above:

  • Heart palpitations, feeling your heart beating hard
  • Inward trembling
  • Heart rate fast or racing, even at rest
  • Nervousness and emotional distress, without reasonable cause
  • Insomnia
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss, or difficulty losing weight

Maria was in her early forties. She had been very active, working full time, running and taking care of two teenage boys. Without warning, she suddenly began to experience incredible fatigue, weighing her down, taking her life away. She had never had trouble with her weight, but in a short time her weight gain was over 15 pounds and it would not budge. She was taking more days off from work due to needing to sleep too much.

Obvious thyroid issues, right? Yes, Maria, was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and was quickly prescribed thyroid hormone. She felt better for a while, but her symptoms slowly returned, the weight still wouldn't budge and the chronic fatigue came back just as bad as before.

For some perspective on how common this is, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists suggests that more than 27 million Americans suffer from hypothyroidism and about half of these people suffer and have not been diagnosed. Among the people who have been diagnosed, it is estimated that half of these are suffering from Hashimoto's, an autoimmune condition. For doctor's like myself who focus on functional diagnosis, the number of people suffering from autoimmune thyroid conditions is close to 90 percent of our hypothyroid diagnosis's. This means that the thyroid is being attacked by the person's own immune system. The question that I ask, and every doctor should ask when working with people with autoimmune thyroid conditions, is why is the immune system doing this?

As it turns out, Maria's hypothyroid condtion was autoimmune Hashimoto's disease.

There are certain essential diagnostic criteria in evaluating low thyroid and autoimmune conditions. These include ordering the correct blood tests to properly diagnose the condition, health history and symptoms. If you feel lousy, who cares if your blood tests are normal. We find the root cause and help to correct the underlying problem.

Do you take thyroid hormones yet still suffer from symptoms or are you concerned that you have low thyroid and are not diagnosed? If so, you are not alone, there are millions of Americans who or undiagnosed or, despite normal test results, suffer low thyroid symptoms because they are misdiagnosed or mismanaged.

Treating  low thyroid function or Hashimoto's with medication is often ineffective. There are six patterns of low thyroid function, one of which has the indication to use thyroid hormones to treat. The problem with treating using thyroid replacement hormones is when your thyroid condition is not in that one pattern that needs hormone replacement.

The secret to success is to find the root cause of the problem, and why it doesn’t show up on a standard blood test.

Some of the these underlying factors include

  • Immune system dysfunction, autoimmunity, causes a majority of hypothyroid problems
  • Thyroid replacement hormones such as Synthroid, Armour, and Cytomel–may normalize TSH, but they do not manage the underlying autoimmune dysfunction
  • Gluten intolerance and other immune triggers overactivate the immune system with Hashimoto’s
  • Pituitary and adrenal function play a role in underactive thyroid symptoms
  • Thyroid hormone resistance such as, underconversion to T3, overconversion to T3, and other metabolic problems cause hypothyroidism symptoms


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