Thyroid and Weight Gain

27 millions Americans miss the cause of their weight gain.

The Thyroid and Weight Gain

About the size and the shape of a butterfly - They Thyroid is a powerhouse in the endocrine system.

About the size and the shape of a butterfly – They Thyroid is a powerhouse in the endocrine system.

An often under-diagnosed problem in Americans is thyroid problems. The thyroid has a tremendous job! Hormones from the thyroid are not important in regulating metabolism, but also heart rate, skin and hair health and it has a direct effect on brain and mood functions. Thyroid hormone levels are a very delicate things too: Too much – or hyperthyroidism – we see changes in body temperature, insomnia, higher than normal heart rates, and excessive weight loss; too little – or hypothyroidism- we see weight gain, depression, loss of energy, hair and joint pains.

An estimated 27 millions Americans are diagnosed with thyroid disease, according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. This is due mostly to the wide array of unrelated symptoms people undergo when their thyroid isn’t working properly.

About 80% of people with thyroid problems suffer from hypothyroidism. Age and sex have an effect on the disease. It affects eight times more women than men and often occurs later in life. There is a link to autoimmune disorders, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

“How can I tell is I might have a problem?”

This tiny, butterfly-shaped gland has a lot influence on our body, and it is a part of any standard metabolic blood panel. Some of the signs that may indicate thyroid disease include:

  • Weight loss or gain
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Feeling too hot or too cold
  • Hair loss
  • A loss of energy & depression

Hyperthyroidism – When there is too much thyroid hormone we will see:

  • Dry skin & brittle nails
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands
  • Constipation
  • Abnormal menstrual periods

Hypothyroidism – When there is too little thyroid hormone we will see:

  • Dry skin and brittle nails
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands
  • Constipation
  • Abnormal menstrual periods

Often, in women, thyroid issues may mimic menopausal changes in women. This is because when there is a hormonal imbalance in one area, the whole body is eventually affected.

What Causes Thyroid Problems?

Many things are thought to cause disruption in the thyroid. Some of these are

  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Environmental toxins
  • Other Hormonal imbalances – Especially estrogen.

Other causes of central hypothyroidism to consider include;

  • Pituitary adenoma
  • Other brain tumors
  • Genetic disorders
  • Drug induced (e.g. lithium and dopamine)
  • Chronic Stress
  • Environmental toxins

Up to 3-8% of Americans are victims to sub-clinical hypothyroidism, aka thyroid failure. These individuals present with no symptoms and usually have normal blood tests. Risk Factors for developing Sub-clinical Hypothyroidism:

  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Recent treatment with radioactive iodine or chemotherapy
  • Irregular heart rhythm treatment with amiodarone
  • Treatment with lithium
  • Recent pregnancy and child delivery

Other potential causes of sub-clinical hypothyroidism include:

  • Inflammatory bowel syndrome
  • Medication
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Iodine excess

Most patients with sub-clinical hypothyroidism develop into hypothyroidism.

 Functional Diagnostic Testing

With the invention of the internet, too often we read things about our health and start to diagnose ourselves. Most people have an idea if they truly have a problem until they are check.

Functional RangesTraditional blood work and labs work within an expected range. Often times, doctors see the numbers from the different tests and as long as they are within normal, everything is OK. With functional diagnostic tests, doctors are able to look at how the body is working together. This requires a little more time, training and diligence on the doctor’s part, but the results are usually very telling. One of the most overlooked functions in the body are the adrenal hormones. These chemicals are crucial to proper thyroid function, so important that if they aren’t working correctly there is nothing that will fix the thyroid.

What you can do.

functional indexAt the Little Rive Clinic, we use functional diagnostics to see if there is a problem in your body’s overall physiology. We do this by reviewing any of your past medical records, working hand in hand with your other providers. We take a very complete medical, social and family history, followed by a physical exam. After we compile that data we order any needed tests to complete the story of what is happening with your health.

Following the test results we report back to you all of our findings and recommend an immediate course of action. Treatments vary from lifestyle and diet changes, nutritional supplements to a referral to a medical profession. Often times, patients see results before their first 30-day follow-up appointment

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