BioSlim Health Database

Thyroid Gland Disorder

The thyroid gland is in many ways a master gland. Directly or indirectly, it controls the functions of most of the body’s systems and organs. The thyroid is like the body’s gas pedal. It controls how fast your engine runs, how much fuel it burns, how quickly your heart beats, how your digestive system works, how well your immune system functions, even how well your brain works. It is the master controller of your metabolic rate, and as such, is vital to your success in the BioSlim program.

Thyroid hormone deficiency or hypothyroidism is a very common disorder that often causes a multitude of confusing symptoms. This is the thyroid disorder on which we shall focus most here. In addition to hypothyroidism, the other most common (non-cancerous) diseases of the thyroid are hyperthyroidism (excessively high levels of thyroid hormone) and thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid, usually autoimmune in nature). All these disorders should be treated by a physician.

Hyperthyroidism causes the opposite of hypothyroidism: the body is in high gear, racing all the time. Thyroiditis is a disorder, often autoimmune in nature, where the thyroid becomes inflamed, at times releasing too much thyroid hormone into the bloodstream and at most other times too little, as it is depleted of stored hormone by inflammation and unable to manufacture more. Thyroiditis should be suspected whenever there is unexplained heart rhythm disturbance, diarrhea, anxiety, insomnia and weight loss, particularly in women in the first year or so after pregnancy, which is when thyroiditis is most likely to strike. Thyroiditis should always be treated by a knowledgeable physician.

Hypothyroidism is most often found in women. As noted, it’s very common, and the incidence increases with age. Therefore, older women have a quite high probability of developing this disorder. (Note that the incidence is not small in women of all ages.)

Symptoms and signs of hypothyroidism include: fatigue, weight gain, sensitivity to cold (“cold extremities”), constipation, dry skin and/or hair, depression, insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness), diminished sex drive, irregular menstruation, heavy menstrual flow with excessive cramping, anemia, confusion and cognitive dysfunction (inability to think or remember clearly).

Diagnosis is usually done through laboratory blood tests. Unfortunately, contrary to commonly held opinion, blood tests are not always definitive. It is possible to have a “normal” set of lab results and be clinically hypothyroid. The under-arm basal body temperature test, where one’s temperature is taken immediately upon awakening before any other activity, may be useful in helping to confirm suspicion; but it too is not completely reliable, and certainly not definitive. (This basal {meaning “underlying”} temperature may be taken on any day by men and post-menopausal women, and by menstruating women on the second and third days after flow begins. Hypothyroidism may be suspected if the temperature on awakening is consistently below 97.8. If so, a thorough blood analysis is recommended.)

The blood tests most important to the diagnosis of hypothyroidism are the “highly sensitive TSH” (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) and the “ free T4” or “ T7” tests. The TSH test measures how much effort the pituitary gland, which controls the thyroid gland, is putting out to try to get the thyroid to work properly. Since TSH is used by the pituitary gland to get the thyroid to work harder, the higher the level of TSH the harder the pituitary is trying, which it is probably doing because the thyroid gland is not responding properly. The harder the pituitary works (as marked by an elevated TSH) the weaker the function of the thyroid gland function may be concluded to be. It’s as if the pituitary is “beating a dead horse”. TSH levels can sometimes reach levels 30 or more times normal, as the pituitary keeps trying ever harder to get the “dead horse” thyroid gland to respond.

The free T4 or T7 tests directly measure the level of hormone activity in the blood. They are considered less accurate than the tsh test. Always insist on a TSH test if hypothyroidism is suspected. Though it should be, it is not always done, particularly if you are seeing a general practitioner as opposed to a hormone specialist (endocrinologist) or knowledgeable internist.

If all tests are normal, then strict attention must be paid to symptoms, and a therapeutic trial considered. A therapeutic trial is the giving of thyroid hormone to an individual suspected of hypothyroidism, with all effects observed over a period of approximately one month. A positive change in symptoms is taken to mean that the extra hormone is needed, while no change means further testing and investigation may be needed.

Medical treatment of hypothyroidism is via replacement of the missing thyroid hormone using an oral preparation (pill). There are two broad kinds of thyroid hormone drugs available: synthetic (e.g., Synthroid), and natural bovine extracts (e.g., Armour Thyroid). Endocrinologists often use the synthetic kind. Other doctors, I among them, prefer the natural extract, mostly because its contents more closely resemble the hormones produced by the human thyroid in its natural state.

Interaction with BioSlim: If you have this disorder, it is necessary that the diagnosis be made and correct treatment begun for the BioSlim program to help you succeed to your fullest potential. Hypothyroidism is very common and easy to miss. If you are hypothyroid, without treatment you will almost certainly never reach your goals, often without knowing why. It’s like banging on a permanently closed door—hopeless. The treatment of hypothyroidism is simple, highly effective, and non-toxic. It must be done properly, and sooner rather than later.

Nutritional factors: The mineral iodine must be taken in sufficient quantities. Essential Fatty Acids may also be helpful, as they are the building blocks from which thyroid hormone is manufactured by the body.

Complete nutritional support is essential in hypothyroidism, as most of the body’s functions are usually depressed and in need of help. The BioSlim System is quite appropriate for sufferers of hypothyroidism, and may be expected to help all around.

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