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What is Hypothyroidism

Concerned about your thyroid?
Read on this information may change or even save your life.

Have you ever woken up feeling sluggish and more tired than when you went to sleep?
Do you find your muscles and joints sore all over, aching and stiff?
Are you suffering from low energy and depression and the joy of life just gone…
Are you having problems concentrating and being irritated and forgetful?
Are you having difficulties loosing or controlling your weight and your sex drive is slowly diminishing.

Most often when you approach your physician with these problems you get responses such as you are depressed and
"eat less and exercise more" or  "this is all part of the aging process?" Even your blood tests are negative for hypothyroidism.

Left untreated, thyroid dysfunction can lead to serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, anxiety and depression. Early diagnosis is important. Thyroid disorders for the most part are treatable;
however, untreated thyroid disease can produce serious results in other parts of the body

Thyroid disease affects more than 1 million Canadians and many don't know they have it.

The thyroid gland is a tiny gland, located in front of the windpipe, that regulates every organ in the body through its hormones. When it's not functioning properly you know something is wrong. Unfortunately, you may not know you have a thyroid disorder.

Often the signs and symptoms of thyroid disease can mimic many other conditions. Diagnosis may be clear only after several of the symptoms become apparent.

In Canada thyroid disorders are estimated to affect one in twenty. Most thyroid disorders are 5-7 times more common in women.

There are many types of thyroid disease. However, the main conditions present in most thyroid illnesses are Hypothyroidism (thyroid under activity) and Hyperthyroidism (thyroid over activity).

Symptoms of Low Thyroid:

Hyperthyroidism:

Each person's experience of thyroid illness differs depending on a number of factors; a patient will not necessarily have all the above symptoms.

Hyperthyroid patients often feel unusually nervous or irritable.
Hypothyroid patients can feel unusual fatigue or depression.

Diagram showing the Larynx, Thyroid Gland and Windpipe

 

Thyroid Hormones
The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones. These are peptides containing iodine. The two most important hormones are tetraiodothyronine (thyroxine or T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones are essential for life and have many effects on body metabolism, growth, and development.
(the "3" and the "4" refer to the number of iodine molecules in each thyroid hormone molecule).
Iodine plays an important role in the function of the thyroid gland. It is the chief component of thyroid hormones, and is essential for their production.
The thyroid gland is influenced by hormones produced by two other organs:

  1. The pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain, produces thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)
  2. The hypothalamus, a small part of the brain above the pituitary, produces thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH).
    Low levels of thyroid hormones in the blood are detected by the hypothalamus and the pituitary. TRH is released, stimulating the pituitary to release TSH. Increased levels of TSH, in turn, stimulate the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormone, thereby returning the level of thyroid hormone in the blood back to normal.
    The three glands and the hormones they produce make up the "Hypothalamic - Pituitary - Thyroid axis."
    Abnormalities of the thyroid gland are common and affect one in twenty (1 in 20) of the Canadian population

How can I determine if I am affected?
Take your basal body temperature (under your arm) first thing in the morning right after you get out of bed.
Additionally, monitor closely of how you feel and keep check of your sense of well-being.

Thyroid hormones control metabolism and organ function, directly affecting your weight loss or gain, your energy levels, skin condition, memory, heart rate, cholesterol levels and menstrual regularity, as well as many other functions. When a thyroid is either underactive, nonfunctioning, or has been all or partially surgically removed, you may have a medical condition called hypothyroidism. Diagnosis and treatment is generally made by your physician or naturopathic doctor.

If you are experiencing one or more low thyroid symptoms, or If you suspect you have a thyroid problem, you should request a test. Dr Zoya (905) 274-6400.

The good news is that when discovered and treated properly, a thyroid disorder can be controlled, allowing you to resume a normal, healthy and active life. The most common treatment for hypothyroidism is prescription medication in order to replace the T4 hormone, a hormone naturally produced by the body.

Specific Vitamins and Minerals are Also Important to Keep Your Thyroid Functioning Properly.
The thyroid requires specific nutritional support for optimal health and function, so a healthy diet is an important factor in thyroid health. Proper thyroid function requires adequate amounts of B-Vitamin Compounds, Zinc, Iodine, Copper, Manganese and Molybdenum. The amino acid L-tyrosine is also required for the production of neurotransmitters that are associated with normal hormone production. If you feel your diet may lack proper amounts of these vitamins, supplementation may be helpful.

How is hypothyroidism diagnosed?
A diagnosis of hypothyroidism can be suspected in patients with fatigue, cold intolerance, constipation, and dry, flaky skin. A blood test is needed to confirm the diagnosis.

When hypothyroidism is present, the blood levels of thyroid hormones can be measured directly and are usually decreased. However, in early hypothyroidism, the level of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) may be normal. Therefore, the main tool for the detection of hyperthyroidism is the measurement of the TSH, the thyroid stimulating hormone. As mentioned earlier, TSH is secreted by the pituitary gland. If a decrease of thyroid hormone occurs, the pituitary gland reacts by producing more TSH and the blood TSH level increases in an attempt to encourage thyroid hormone production. This increase in TSH can actually precede the fall in thyroid hormones by months or years (see the section on Subclinical Hypothyroidism below). Thus, the measurement of TSH should be elevated in cases of hypothyroidism.

However, there is one exception. If the decrease in thyroid hormone is actually due to a defect of the pituitary or hypothalamus, then the levels of TSH are abnormally low. As noted above, this kind of thyroid disease is known as "secondary" or "tertiary" hypothyroidism. A special test, known as the TRH test, can help distinguish if the disease is caused by a defect in the pituitary or the hypothalamus. This test requires an injection of the TRH hormone and is performed by an endocrinologist (hormone specialist).

The blood work confirms the diagnosis of hypothyroidism, but does not point to an underlying cause. A combination of the patient's clinical history, antibody screening, and a thyroid scan as well as a Thermography screening (416-569-1766) can help diagnose the precise underlying thyroid problem more clearly.

Hypothyroidism is a precursor for breast cancer.
Clinical Thermography can determine if you are at risk.


Thyroid hormone regulation -- the chain of command
The thyroid itself is regulated by another gland that is located in the brain, called the pituitary. In turn, the pituitary is regulated in part by the thyroid (via a "feedback" effect of thyroid hormone on the pituitary gland) and by another gland called the hypothalamus.

The hypothalamus releases a hormone called thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH), which sends a signal to the pituitary to release thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). In turn, TSH sends a signal to the thyroid to release thyroid hormones. If a disruption occurs at any of these levels, a defect in thyroid hormone production may result in a deficiency of thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism).


Hypothalamus - TRH
thyroid
Pituitary- TSH
thyroid
Thyroid- T4 and T3

The rate of thyroid hormone production is controlled by the pituitary gland. If there is an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone circulating in the body to allow for normal functioning, the release of TSH is increased by the pituitary gland in an attempt to stimulate more thyroid hormone production. In contrast, when there is an excessive amount of circulating thyroid hormone, TSH levels fall as the pituitary attempts to decrease the production of thyroid hormone. In persons with hypothyroidism (thyroid hormone production is below normal), there is a continuously decreased level of circulating thyroid hormones. In persons with hyperthyroidism (thyroid hormone production is above normal), there is a continuously elevated level of circulating thyroid hormones.

To be monitored and warn early get a Thermography scan done.
Thermography is the earliest and safest scan available today for Canadian women.

Call 416-569-1766

For more info and for treatments call Dr. ZOya,
in Mississauga
(905) 274-6400