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I regularly see patients that inform me that they believe they have a thyroid dysfunction as they’re struggling to lose weight. However, their GP will have often told them their levels are within a normal range.

Some people believe that a thyroid dysfunction can be caused by diet, pregnancy, changing hormones or even stress. The fact is that research into the causes and effects of thyroid dysfunction are still greatly misunderstood. There have been some associations with underachieve thyroid and an increased risk  of developing type 2 diabetes. Basically, if you think you may have an issue get checked out with a simple blood test.

What is the Thyroid gland and what does it do? 

The thyroid is a gland located in your neck in front of your windpipe, it is shaped like a butterfly. It produces thyroxine and triiodothyronine which control many of the body’s key functions. For example, how quickly you burn calories and how well you sleep. An increase in the function is called hyperthyroidism and a decrease in function is called hypothyroidism. If left untreated, either of these scenarios can have a huge impact and are likely to affect significantly more women than men.

In younger women autoimmune issues are the most common causative factor. This is where the body develops an antibody which fights you instead of potential bug invaders. There may be a genetic predisposition to this effect, do you have a family history of thyroid dysfunctions?

How do you know if you have a thyroid issue or you’re just seriously exhausted and run down.

Imagine the two extremes of energy, when thyroid hormones are running too high, everything speeds up resulting in symptoms such as agitation, light or absent menstrual cycle, hunger, increased appetite, diarrhoea, disrupted sleep and a “hyper” mood.

If you have a lack of hormones the gland is sluggish, you can feel exceptionally sleepy, long heavy periods in your menstrual cycle, low mood, constipation, weight gain and a reduced appetite. You may also notice dry skin, thinning hair or hair that easily falls out. The first signs are often the extremes in energy & weight fluctuations.

The identification of an under active thyroid and resulting treatment with synthetic hormones is relatively simple compared to an overactive scenario. You may only see night sweats and headaches which can be less obvious for diagnostics. You could also experience rapid weight loss or anxiety which can be associated with symptoms of mental illness and depression which are very hot topics at the moment and can sway a diagnosis incorrectly. In either case the emotional symptoms with mood swings and a lack of sleep causing a reduction in interaction may corroborate a diagnosis of a mental health condition or even an eating disorder.

Due to the nature of the onset of symptoms, they can be associated with other conditions, how often do yo feel tired just because you are a little run down?

A simple blood test can check the thyroid hormone levels and the function of the gland. There are 3 figures that we are interested in when testing the thyroids function through a blood test, TSH, T3 & T4. If your reading shows a high level of TSH thyroid stimulating hormone but a low level of thyroxine (T4) it could be an indication that you have an underachieve thyroid but the body is still trying to stimulate its productivity. Where as a low level of TSH combined with high levels of T3 & T4 could mean an overactive condition.

So if your test comes back positive for either hyper or hypo thyroid dysfunction what can you expect to happen?

People that are diagnosed with an under active condition are prescribed a daily hormone replacement, these replace the normal circulating thyroxine that is absent. To being with you will have regular blood tests to check your levels, they tend to start the dose fairly low and build up to find the amount that controls your symptoms or regulates your blood test levels. However, if you are still struggling with symptoms do not be afraid to discuss this with your GP. They may be satisfied with your blood test results but you are the one trying to function day to day. Do not be afraid to speak up and talk to them about the fact that you are still feeling unwell. It may take a while to stabilise the situation so be patient and keep a diary of your symptoms to help monitor your progress. If your symptoms are very mild they may decide not to introduce any medication to your program of treatment. In which case some people find that increasing the intake of seaweed in the diet or sea kelp tablets may be of use.

If you have an over active condition the normal course of action would be to use medication including beta blockers to protect the heart. Radio-iodine treatment or in some cases surgery are part of the treatment plan. The medication id usually administered for a full year before a surgical intervention is planned. If surgery is the option decided upon then the permanent removal of the gland means a lifetime of medication to correct the induced under active condition. There have been very few long term side effects recorded from thyroxine medication.

Whilst there is some expert scepticism over the impact of an individuals lifestyle on their condition, it can only be beneficial to improve overall health if a few changes could be made.

Research suggests that women between the ages of 15 to 30 tend to be deficient in iodine that at any other ages. A deficiency in iodine can potentially lead to hypothyroidism. A cup of milk contains 50% of the iodine you require each day. You can buy supplements to improve your nutrient intake. Naturally occurring iodine can be found in sea kelp, and sea vegetables. There are some interesting research articles that suggest cruciferous vegetables such as kale and broccoli could inhibit the bodies ability to absorb iodine. A study by a University in California found that women ingesting soy in their diets were potentially more likely to develop a low functioning thyroid.

If you are in any doubt you should just get yourself checked by your GP, you should also advise them if you are pregnant, planning on trying to become pregnant, if you suffer from eye problems, blurry vision, sensitivity to light, or once on the medication you begin experiencing any side effects such as an upset stomach, headaches or chest pain.

Always consult a medical professional if you experience a change in any symptoms or a change in your general health, weight loss or moods. Never try to diagnose yourself or self medicate.

If you wish to ask me anything please do not hesitate to get in touch x

    By submitting this form you consent to storage & use of your data according to our privacy policy.

I regularly see patients that inform me that they believe they have a thyroid dysfunction as they’re struggling to lose weight. However, their GP will have often told them their levels are within a normal range.

Some people believe that a thyroid dysfunction can be caused by diet, pregnancy, changing hormones or even stress. The fact is that research into the causes and effects of thyroid dysfunction are still greatly misunderstood. There have been some associations with underachieve thyroid and an increased risk  of developing type 2 diabetes. Basically, if you think you may have an issue get checked out with a simple blood test.

What is the Thyroid gland and what does it do? 

The thyroid is a gland located in your neck in front of your windpipe, it is shaped like a butterfly. It produces thyroxine and triiodothyronine which control many of the body’s key functions. For example, how quickly you burn calories and how well you sleep. An increase in the function is called hyperthyroidism and a decrease in function is called hypothyroidism. If left untreated, either of these scenarios can have a huge impact and are likely to affect significantly more women than men.

In younger women autoimmune issues are the most common causative factor. This is where the body develops an antibody which fights you instead of potential bug invaders. There may be a genetic predisposition to this effect, do you have a family history of thyroid dysfunctions?

How do you know if you have a thyroid issue or you’re just seriously exhausted and run down.

Imagine the two extremes of energy, when thyroid hormones are running too high, everything speeds up resulting in symptoms such as agitation, light or absent menstrual cycle, hunger, increased appetite, diarrhoea, disrupted sleep and a “hyper” mood.

If you have a lack of hormones the gland is sluggish, you can feel exceptionally sleepy, long heavy periods in your menstrual cycle, low mood, constipation, weight gain and a reduced appetite. You may also notice dry skin, thinning hair or hair that easily falls out. The first signs are often the extremes in energy & weight fluctuations.

The identification of an under active thyroid and resulting treatment with synthetic hormones is relatively simple compared to an overactive scenario. You may only see night sweats and headaches which can be less obvious for diagnostics. You could also experience rapid weight loss or anxiety which can be associated with symptoms of mental illness and depression which are very hot topics at the moment and can sway a diagnosis incorrectly. In either case the emotional symptoms with mood swings and a lack of sleep causing a reduction in interaction may corroborate a diagnosis of a mental health condition or even an eating disorder.

Due to the nature of the onset of symptoms, they can be associated with other conditions, how often do yo feel tired just because you are a little run down?

A simple blood test can check the thyroid hormone levels and the function of the gland. There are 3 figures that we are interested in when testing the thyroids function through a blood test, TSH, T3 & T4. If your reading shows a high level of TSH thyroid stimulating hormone but a low level of thyroxine (T4) it could be an indication that you have an underachieve thyroid but the body is still trying to stimulate its productivity. Where as a low level of TSH combined with high levels of T3 & T4 could mean an overactive condition.

So if your test comes back positive for either hyper or hypo thyroid dysfunction what can you expect to happen?

People that are diagnosed with an under active condition are prescribed a daily hormone replacement, these replace the normal circulating thyroxine that is absent. To being with you will have regular blood tests to check your levels, they tend to start the dose fairly low and build up to find the amount that controls your symptoms or regulates your blood test levels. However, if you are still struggling with symptoms do not be afraid to discuss this with your GP. They may be satisfied with your blood test results but you are the one trying to function day to day. Do not be afraid to speak up and talk to them about the fact that you are still feeling unwell. It may take a while to stabilise the situation so be patient and keep a diary of your symptoms to help monitor your progress. If your symptoms are very mild they may decide not to introduce any medication to your program of treatment. In which case some people find that increasing the intake of seaweed in the diet or sea kelp tablets may be of use.

If you have an over active condition the normal course of action would be to use medication including beta blockers to protect the heart. Radio-iodine treatment or in some cases surgery are part of the treatment plan. The medication id usually administered for a full year before a surgical intervention is planned. If surgery is the option decided upon then the permanent removal of the gland means a lifetime of medication to correct the induced under active condition. There have been very few long term side effects recorded from thyroxine medication.

Whilst there is some expert scepticism over the impact of an individuals lifestyle on their condition, it can only be beneficial to improve overall health if a few changes could be made.

Research suggests that women between the ages of 15 to 30 tend to be deficient in iodine that at any other ages. A deficiency in iodine can potentially lead to hypothyroidism. A cup of milk contains 50% of the iodine you require each day. You can buy supplements to improve your nutrient intake. Naturally occurring iodine can be found in sea kelp, and sea vegetables. There are some interesting research articles that suggest cruciferous vegetables such as kale and broccoli could inhibit the bodies ability to absorb iodine. A study by a University in California found that women ingesting soy in their diets were potentially more likely to develop a low functioning thyroid.

If you are in any doubt you should just get yourself checked by your GP, you should also advise them if you are pregnant, planning on trying to become pregnant, if you suffer from eye problems, blurry vision, sensitivity to light, or once on the medication you begin experiencing any side effects such as an upset stomach, headaches or chest pain.

Always consult a medical professional if you experience a change in any symptoms or a change in your general health, weight loss or moods. Never try to diagnose yourself or self medicate.

If you wish to ask me anything please do not hesitate to get in touch x

    By submitting this form you consent to storage & use of your data according to our privacy policy.