The "Great Masquerader"
Hypothyroidism is considered the “Great Masquerader" because many of its symptoms resemble symptoms of numerous other diseases. Improper thyroid functions are often misdiagnosed as depression, PMS, poor diet or any number of other conditions. Often times, hypothyroidism is treated as depression. Conventional medicine relies on medical blood tests for diagnosis and monitoring of the illness. Many people suffer because of wide variation in "normal ranges." Even after a correct diagnosis, it may be difficult to obtain optimal treatment because many people have autoimmune thyroid damage.
Causes of Hypothyroidism and Thyroid Disorders
Hypothyroidism can be caused by a number of reasons including autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (the most common cause in the US). Other causes for low thyroid function include –
- Thyroid Surgery
- Radiation to the Neck and Head
- Certain Medications
- Iodine Deficiency
- Certain Congenital Defects and Pituitary Disorders
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism can cause a myriad of symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, dry skin and hair loss. Other common symptoms of hypothyroidism and thyroid disorders include muscle aches, joint stiffness, constipation, depression, heavy or irregular menstrual periods, headaches and mental slowness. If hypothyroidism is not controlled in a timely manner, a number of health problems can occur, including increased cholesterol levels, which can lead to cardiovascular problems, depression and other mood disorders and lowered mental functions. Additionally, long-term hypothyroidism can cause peripheral neuropathy, which is nerve damage that causes pain, tingling and numbness.
The following questions will help you determine if you may be suffering from hypothyroidism.
- Do you find yourself feeling tired or exhausted for no apparent reason?
- Do you keep gaining weight in spite of eating reasonably well?
- Are you experiencing dry skin, hair loss, and feel cold all the time?
If you find yourself answering yes to most of these questions, you may be suffering from hypothyroidism and would benefit from seeing a thyroid specialist. Click here to learn more about the Symptoms of Hypothyroidism.
Treatment and Management of Thyroid Disorders
Managing hypothyroidism and thyroid disorders is based on your individual health, genetics, hormone levels and medical history. The physician will recommend some specialized blood tests to evaluate your thyroid levels. This includes a TSH, free and total T4 and T3 levels, and thyroid antibodies to check for autoimmune or Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism. Optimal lab ranges for these may differ from normal conventional ranges. Additionally, other laboratory testing may be done to identify possible causes or associations with hypothyroidism, including male and female hormone assays, adrenal hormone assays, vitamin and mineral deficiency evaluations and evaluations for drug, chemical or heavy metal toxicities.
Based on your history and test results, your integrative physician and thyroid specialist may recommend numerous treatment options, including:
- Natural thyroid replacement or supportive supplements
- Conventional synthetic hormone replacement
- Correction of vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Diet and nutrition improvements
- Correction of hormonal imbalances
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of thyroid disorders, or have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism or another thyroid disorder, call today and setup a consultation with our thyroid specialist in Northern Virginia. Your Rose Wellness professionals can be reached at (571)529-6699.