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The thyroid gland plays a vital role in countless functions. Hypothyroidism, or an under active thyroid is one of the most commonly diagnosed and medicated conditions in healthcare today. It can leave an individual feeling mentally fatigued, physically tired, constipated, unable to lose weight, abnormally cold, or plagued with dry skin, brittle nails and hair loss; to name a few.
This desperate individual turns to a doctor for help and is usually provided thyroid hormones without a blink of an eye. Right off the bat we are witness to a flawed system and an antiquated way of thinking when it comes to health and our bodies.
The thyroid gland, just like every other organ in our body, does not exist and function in isolation. As such, its function or dysfunction is normally a consequence of some sort of additional dysfunction somewhere within the interdependent matrix that is the human body. The practice of supplementing thyroid symptoms with thyroid hormones is no better than a stop gap at best, as the underlying dysfunction persists and a dependency or worse is created by the external source of thyroid hormones.
Traditional medicine currently listens to symptoms, measures TSH, perhaps some form of T3 and T4, and diagnoses and prescribes from there. It should be known that TSH alone is great at telling you something is off along the thyroid, pituitary access, but is useless as far as telling us what or why. Adding some measurement of T3 and T4 to the panel is superior to the former, but again comes up short in shining a light on the why.
When the option of a more illuminating, complete thyroid panel (blood work) can be ordered, one must ask why it isn’t? Even further, with the number one cause of hypothyroidism in this country being an autoimmune issue, why would a test for thyroid anti-bodies not be included in the standard testing?
Perhaps all resources aren’t utilized due to the fact that it doesn’t change the cookbook approach allopathic medicine has to offer. If thyroid symptoms are present and the limited blood markers ordered signify that the thyroid hormones are off, another thyroid hormone consumer is created and left to life long dependency and/or incremental increases in dosage. This shotgun approach is nothing less than reckless and a prime example of sick care. Perhaps the thyroid isn’t the main issue that need be addressed.
Perhaps the adrenal glands are on overdrive from constant stress (physical, chemical or emotional). Did you know hyper-functioning adrenal glands will dampen thyroid function?
Perhaps a leaky gut or gut infection is present. Did you know that ~20% of thyroid hormones are converted in the intestines to an active form the body can use, BUT only in the presence of a healthy gut and proper gut flora?
Perhaps liver function is hampered due to a high fructose diet, long term statin use or toxic overload. Did you know the majority of thyroid hormones are converted to the active form in the liver?
These are just a few common examples of what can lead to hypothyroid symptoms and a skewing of limited, tunnel visioned lab numbers.
The most intelligent approach to the thyroid puzzle should at the very least include a COMPLETE thyroid panel accompanied by an antibody test. Some practitioners may deem this medically unnecessary and refuse to order it, and to some aspect they may be correct.
It may very well be medically unnecessary if the goal is to simply stick a finger in the damn of dysfunction by flooding the body with thyroid hormones. However, from an intelligently formulated functional standpoint, the complete panel (in addition to a comprehensive history, and a few other additional tests) can guide those interested in identifying the source of the dysfunction and provide the practitioner with the information needed to construct a plan. If this is the goal, than it is no doubt medically necessary.
An eye opening example of this rests within the fact that the number one cause of an under active thyroid in America is due to immune dysfunction (Hashimotto’s Disease). That makes this an immune issue, not a primary thyroid issue. The immune system can be and must be addressed and balanced in order to halt the attack on the thyroid gland. This attack is what leads to the symptoms and can be identified by, amongst other things, a test for thyroid antibodies.
That is just one instance of how ordering the proper tests and not immediately resorting to medications can clear the path to true health and wellness. If you have a practitioner who refuses to order the tests you request, maybe it’s time to ask why, or find one who will.
Personally, my patients have been met with reluctance and sometimes outright refusal when the additional tests are requested. However, they can be done and it is your right as a proactive, educated patient to receive the tests you desire; as well as to work with a professional who is open minded and willing to work together when it comes to your health.
That is the model we strive to achieve and implement on a daily basis. If it sounds appealing and liberating to you, feel free to contact us at anytime.
We’re ready when you are.
Make health happen.