Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism affects millions of Americans but in most cases but it goes undiagnosed by healthcare providers. A common thyroid disorder in subclinical hypothyroidism. This diagnosis is made when patients have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism but their testing falls within normal limits. A hallmark symptom of subclinical hypothyroidism is low body temperature less than 98 Fahrenheit. These patients are frequently cold even in warm temperatures.  Undiagnosed hypothyroidism can lead to secondary dementia or pseudodementia which is easily treated with T3.  Depression is also a common symptom of those suffering from subclinical hypothyroidism.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Decreased libido
  • Infertility
  • Weakness
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Coarse, dry hair and dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Muscle cramps and aches

Learn More About The Thyroid Gland

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located at the front lower part of the neck, below Adam’s apple and just above the collarbone. Despite its small size, it produces two very important thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), in response to the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which is released by the pituitary gland. The primary job of the thyroid hormone is to govern metabolism and energy production. Thyroid hormone (TH) also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain, influencing the levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters. There are more T3 receptors in the brain than any other tissue in the body. Too little T3 leads to decreased serotonin levels, which then causes depression.

 

hypothyroidismThe thyroid gland through the thyroid hormone regulates the pituitary and hypothalamus. The pituitary gland is controlled by the hypothalamus, which releases a hormone called thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). TRH stimulates the pituitary to release TSH. TSH then sends a message to the thyroid gland to release thyroid hormones. If there is an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone circulating in the body, the release of TSH is increased by the pituitary gland to stimulate thyroid hormone production. Conversely, when there are elevated levels of thyroid hormone, TRH and TSH levels fall to decrease the production of thyroid hormone. When a problem arises in communication between the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, a decrease or increase in thyroid hormone production may result in hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, respectively.

If there is an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone circulating in the body, the release of TSH is increased by the pituitary gland to stimulate thyroid hormone production. Conversely, when there are elevated levels of thyroid hormone, TRH and TSH levels fall to decrease the production of thyroid hormone. When a problem arises in communication between the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, a decrease or increase in thyroid hormone production may result in hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, respectively.

T3,  The Most Important Thyroid Hormone

T3 is the most active form of thyroid hormone but accounts for only 1% of active thyroid hormone. The remainder of the thyroid hormone exists in the form of inactive T4. Thyroxine (T4) has very little effect on the tissue and cells. The body uses two groups from the amino acid tyrosine and four iodine molecules to make T4. The liver and other tissues must remove a key iodine from T4 to make  T3. T3 is the primary thyroid hormone that produces energy and speeds up metabolism. Cortisol prohibits the ability of the body to remove the correct iodine to make T3 and thus reverse T3 (an altered T3) is made.

T3 is the most active form of thyroid hormone but accounts for only 1% of active thyroid hormone. The remainder of the thyroid hormone exists in the form of inactive T4. Thyroxine (T4) has very little effect on the tissue and cells. The body uses two groups from the amino acid tyrosine and four iodine molecules to make T4. The liver and other tissues must remove a key iodine from T4 to form T3. T3 is the primary thyroid hormone that produces energy and speeds up metabolism.

Thyroid disorders are frequently missed by healthcare providers when thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and total T3 and T4 levels are used as the sole factors to make a thyroid disorder diagnosis. There are many other factors that cause thyroid hormones not to function well. Stress impairs the thyroid hormone’s ability to function properly.

When the body is unable to make T3 from T4, it produces reverse inactive T3 instead. Cortisol which is produced during times of stress inhibits the body’s ability to make active T3 which results in inactive reverse T3 (an altered T3) being made. Patients can have normal total T3 levels and symptoms of hypothyroidism when most of the T3 consists of inactive reverse T3.

Estrogen also decreases the function of the thyroid hormone. Estrogen increases the production of a protein called thyroid binding globulin. This protein binds the thyroid hormone making it inactive. Thereby, decreasing metabolism and increasing fat deposits. Be sure to ask our staff about having your thyroid hormones checked at your office visit.

 

 

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