Hypothyroidism is the condition of an underactive thyroid.
What is the Thyroid?
Most people have heard about the thyroid but do not understand the complexity of roles the thyroid plays in the body. The body is made up of a complex network of systems that work together to maintain balance in the body, and the thyroid plays a significant role in maintaining this balance. When other processes alter this balance, the thyroid is unable to function at the optimal level. This imbalance results in the thyroid either working too hard (hyperthyroidism), but more commonly not working hard enough (hypothyroidism).
What Hormones Are Produced by the Thyroid?
The main hormone produced by the thyroid is T4, also known as levothyroxine. T4 is secreted by the thyroid gland into the bloodstream where it converts into T3. T3 is considered the “real” thyroid hormone because it is 4-5 times more active and powerful than T4.
Low levels of T3 can be a result of:
- Hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid gland producing insufficient amounts of T4
- The body’s inability to efficiently convert T4 into T3
What are Hypothyroidism Symptoms?
The thyroid is responsible for many metabolic functions and effects every cell of the body. One of the biggest roles the thyroid has is to regulate energy metabolism and the body’s temperature. A lack of thyroid in the body causes symptoms such as:
- Decreased energy and fatigue
- Decreased cognition
- Weight gain
- Joint pain
- Thin hair
- Brittle nails
- Dry skin
- Increased cholesterol level (which increases the risk of heart disease)
How is Hypothyroidism Treated?
Unfortunately, it is very uncommon for physicians to measure Free T3. Laboratory thyroid levels frequently fall in the “normal” range, but are on the lower end of normal. In these cases, physicians fail to treat the patient’s symptoms based on these “normal” laboratory results. Even though a thyroid laboratory result is in the “normal” range, it may not be at the optimal level for the body.
Our medical providers understand the importance of considering both your laboratory results as well as the symptoms you face on a daily basis. We believe in the philosophy of “Treat the Patient, not the numbers”.
Do I Have Hypothyroidism?
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