Thyroid disease affects millions of Americans. An estimated 20 million, to be exact! With such a large number of people suffering from thyroid diseases, there is an overload of information out there about causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options, including of course, many myths and falsities.
Perhaps one of the most common myths is that thyroid disease is easy to diagnose. Thyroid illnesses often present with vague and varying symptoms, so the cause is not always obvious.
Studies point to family history, nutritional deficiencies, damage to the pituitary gland, certain medications, or large hormonal events as possible causes of hypothyroidism, but it’s hard to say exactly what causes hypothyroidism, making diagnosis complicated.
With uncertain causes and varying symptoms, the process from first symptoms to diagnosis may be lengthy. Though common, they are tricky to diagnose.
Those with an autoimmune disease may be more likely to develop another autoimmune disease (called polyautoimmunity). So, someone with who can’t eat gluten due to the autoimmune Celiac Disease may be at risk to develop another autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s Disease. But! A gluten sensitivity does not automatically lead to a thyroid condition.
Treatment varies from person to person and commonly changes over an individual's lifetime. Finding the right treatment and right dosage is a step-by-step process that takes time and requires monitoring.
While it would be convenient if one medication worked for all of us, the reality is that we each react differently to different treatment options. We are all unique with individual sensitivities. Working closely with a skilled practitioner is critical to determine which treatment is ideal and what dosage is optimal.
For your body to produce thyroid hormone, it needs iodine. Iodine is not an element naturally created by the body, so you need to receive it elsewhere. Usually, you ingest iodine through various foods such as eggs, yogurt, and shrimp; or iodized table salt.
When you have an iodine deficiency, this can impair your thyroid function. However, most people receive an adequate amount of iodine from their regular diets. Consuming large amounts of food that are high in iodine will not resolve a thyroid condition on its own. In fact, consuming too much iodine could have adverse effects.
While many labs look only at Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) to assess thyroid health, we believe it’s critical to also measure Free Triiodothyronine (T3), Free Thyroxine (fT4), and TPO antibodies.
Regular testing of all of these biomarkers is important to understand what’s happening with your health and know how to make improvements. As mentioned, treatment is not one-size-fits-all, and can change regularly. It’s important to take a comprehensive look at your thyroid health in order to track changes.
When your thyroid swells or bulges so that it protrudes from your neck, it is referred to as a goiter. This may indicate that you have a thyroid condition, but it definitely does not always mean cancer.
Certain thyroid conditions can cause a goiter. However, the thyroid may develop non-cancerous nodules. These nodules may be fluid filled or cyst like and are typically identified via an ultrasound. Iodine deficiency is another cause of a bulging thyroid gland. Regardless, if you have a swollen neck, we recommend you consult your physician.
Each of our bodies is unique and a thyroid condition may present differently in each of us. If you experience any odd symptoms or want better ways to manage your thyroid condition, schedule a consultation with a Paloma practitioner today.
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