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Thyroid hormone impacts all major systems of the body. It controls energy production and metabolism, maintains body temperature, helps children grow, and profoundly affects our brain chemistry, influencing our moods and emotions.
An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, and most are unaware of their condition. One in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder.
Hypothyroidism is quite common and can present with weight gain, depression, infertility, mental fuzziness, fatigue, constipation, hoarse voice, cold intolerance, dry skin, and hair loss.
The hyperactive version known as Grave’s disease is a rare autoimmune disease, which may include symptoms such as weight loss, nervousness, rapid heartbeat, heat sensitivity, and bulging of the eyes.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. The result is insufficient thyroid hormone and many related problems.
In the U.S., women are affected 10 times more often than men, and prevalence increases with age in both sexes. Post-partum thyroiditis can develop within the year following childbirth. The signs and symptoms of Hashimoto’s can be similar to hypothyroidism.
Thyroid disorders are often misdiagnosed. Even when a person seeks help, the care they receive is often inadequate. They may be told that their lab test is normal and that they are “fine,” when, in fact, not enough thyroid blood markers were taken to make a definitive diagnosis. Or, at the other extreme, they are immediately put on thyroid medication for life when the core issue might be an immune dysregulation as opposed to a thyroid problem.
We treat the person who has the thyroid disorder, as opposed to treating the thyroid disorder as a separate entity from the whole person.