Thyroid hormones control the body’s metabolism. The brain produces thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which triggers the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones which include T4 and T3.
In hypothyroidism, the body has low levels thyroid hormones. Symptoms may include fatigue, constipation, dry skin, inability to lose weight, brittle nails, menstrual irregularities, sensitivity to cold, depression, and hair loss.
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.
Thyroid problems can lead to imbalances in relation to other hormones because every cell of the body is affected by thyroid hormones.
Thyroid Assessment and Treatment
Assessment of basic thyroid function is done through blood testing of TSH, free T3, free T4, rT3. In some cases, iodine and antibodies are also tested for. Most medical professionals only test TSH but this is simply too indirect of an indicator of thyroid function, and the “normal” values for TSH are too wide. You may have a “normal” TSH and have symptoms of thyroid disease. This is why we use symptoms first and labs second. Labs are a useful guide for measuring the severity of thyroid imbalance and to manage treatment.
Treatments for thyroid management depend upon the severity of the illness. Herbs and supplements may boost an underfunctioning thyroid and give you all the support you need. In most cases, thyroid supplementation is needed using natural thyroid such as Armour or Naturethroid, or synthetic forms such as Synthroid and Cytomel (T3).