You feel kind of "off" lately. You don't have a lot of energy, and you have trouble concentrating or remembering things. Plus, your pants feel a little bit tighter due to the extra ten or fifteen pounds you've gained recently. Or, you feel anxious and shaky, and you're hot all the time.
Of course, many illnesses have similar symptoms - for instance, not having a lot of energy is common. However, if the above sounds like you, it may be time to head to your doctor to check your thyroid function.
Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid gland. When your thyroid hormone production drops, your body processes slow down and change.
As part of the endocrine system, the thyroid gland makes and stores hormones that help regulate the body's metabolism in the form of blood pressure, blood temperature, and heart rate.
Undiagnosed thyroid disease may put patients at risk for other ailments, such as cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, and infertility.
Hypothyroidism can affect many different systems in your body, and common symptoms include:
There are few things that doctors consider when they are considering hypothyroidism as the cause of someone's symptoms. Blood tests, patient symptoms, a physical examination, and health history are all factors that doctors take into account when diagnosing thyroid illness.
Insurance companies will often require a visit to your primary care doctor before authorizing care from a specialist, such as an endocrinologist. If that is the case for you, your primary care doctor will most likely order a test of your Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) levels.
No referral is required to use Paloma. Just click here to get started. Your insurance plan, however, may require a referral if you have an HMO plan.
Work with your care team to understand how your thyroid is functioning and if there may be a need for further evaluation.
The pituitary gland secretes TSH, and TSH stimulates the production of thyroid hormones T3 and T4. If the TSH level is high, that means the pituitary is detecting low levels of T4 and is trying to get the thyroid gland to rev up its pace.
While many labs only look at thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) to assess thyroid health, we believe it's critical to also measure free triiodothyronine (fT3), free thyroxine (fT4), and TPO antibodies to get a complete picture.
You can ask your primary care physician to order these tests, or you might consider a visit with an endocrinologist. It's reasonable to make this request, especially if you have any risk factors. Risks may include previous thyroid illness, an autoimmune disease, or a family member with thyroid disease.
Your lab results will help you, and your doctor better understand how your thyroid is functioning. The next step is to establish a treatment plan with your doctor, if necessary.
"Normal" lab results don't always equate to optimal thyroid function. In that case, you should find a doctor who you trust to explore what else might be going. Perhaps you're still expressing symptoms of a hormone imbalance, or there may be something else at the root of your symptoms.
Your care team may extend beyond just your primary care doctor. You may want to involve a nutritionist or medical practitioner who subscribes to a holistic health philosophy. This kind of philosophy sees the body as a whole system - including mental, emotional, and physical - and attempts to understand illness and health within that context.
These types of practitioners are interested in learning more about other illnesses, such as viral or bacterial illnesses, food sensitivities, adrenal function, etc. They take into account variables like diet, exercise habits, and stress to help guide a patient to their optimum health.
If you suspect your thyroid is not working as it should, contact a medical professional and begin the process of determining the cause of your symptoms! At Paloma Health, we're here to provide end-to-end care for your thyroid from best-in-class endocrinologists and wellness experts.
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