Standard thyroid problems include hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism occurs when an overactive thyroid makes too many hormones, while hypothyroidism occurs when an underactive thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. Other common thyroid disorders include Hashimoto’s disease and Grave’s disease, which are autoimmune disorders that occur when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland.
There are several possible causes of thyroid problems. Causes of hyperthyroidism include Grave’s disease, goiter, and nodules in the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, metal toxicity, and imbalances of good and bad bacteria can cause hypothyroidism. Possible causes of Hashimoto’s disease and Grave’s disease include viral infections, bacterial infections, and gluten allergies.
The symptoms of thyroid problems vary depending on the type of problem a patient has. Common symptoms of an overactive thyroid include heart palpitations, weight loss, excessive sweating, and anxiety. Some patients also have diarrhea and weak muscles. Common signs of an underactive thyroid include weight gain, dry skin, hair, and nails, fatigue, depression, and irritability. Some patients also experience intolerance to cold temperatures and hair loss.
Dr. Wilkie conducts blood tests to assess thyroid function, which helps determine the best types of treatment. These tests include TSH, free T3 and free T4. TSH tests measure how well the thyroid and brain are communicating. Free T3 tests gauge how much active thyroid hormone is circulating, while free T4 tests measure the amount of inactive thyroid hormones in the blood. Dr. Wilkie also conducts tests for autoimmune thyroid disease, commonly known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Positive results indicate the presence of abnormal antibodies.
Bringing the thyroid back into balance regarding hormone production helps relieve symptoms and prevent complications. Treatments depend on the cause of thyroid problems, and many options are available. If thyroid hormone replacement is necessary, Dr. Wilkie will discuss the pros and cons of using either synthetic medications such as Synthroid and levothyroxine, or glandular products such as Nature Throid and Armour. Other treatment options include supplements and dietary modifications to help promote healthy thyroid function. Taking steps to correct these problems can help restore the thyroid gland to its normal function.
For more information on thyroid problems, please contact Vanessa D. Wilkie, ND to schedule an appointment.
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