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Hypothyroidism or low thyroid is known as “The Unsuspected Illness”, because the usual blood tests can be completely normal and the diagnosis can be easily missed. The correct diagnosis depends on noticing symptoms such as low energy, fatigue and tiredness. The correct diagnosis depends on the physical examination and history of the patient. Most individuals experience some of the following: low energy levels, slow reflexes, cold hands and feet, facial swelling, fluid retention, dry skin, brittle nails, hair loss, constipation, irregular menstrual cycles, and fertility problems. The body temperature may be low and the individual is constantly cold.
An estimated 27 million Americans have thyroid disease, and more than half are undiagnosed. Frequently misunderstood, and too often overlooked and misdiagnosed, thyroid disease affects almost every aspect of health, so understanding more about the thyroid, and the symptoms that occur when something goes wrong with this small gland, can help you protect or regain good health.
Women are at the greatest risk, developing thyroid problems seven times more often than men. A woman faces as high as a one in five chance of developing thyroid problems during her lifetime, a risk that increases with age and for those with a family history of thyroid problems.
Many women have the symptoms of low thyroid hormones but are told that their lab tests are “normal” and that there is not a problem. That’s because conventional medicine often only looks at TSH and may not be using the most current cut-off levels. In 2002, the Society of Endocrinologists announced that the standard testing ranges for TSH were inaccurate and that many people with hypothyroidism were undiagnosed. To this day, many thyroid lab tests have not been corrected to test for the accurate range of thyroid hormone levels.
In conventional medicine, hypothyroidism is generally treated with synthetic T4, which can correct your T4 and TSH levels. However, many people cannot efficiently convert T4 to T3. This is a problem because T3 is the more active form of thyroid hormone. Even if your T4 and TSH levels are optimal, if your T3 levels are imbalanced, you may still experience symptoms.
Dr. Smith takes a more thorough approach to treating thyroid disorders. Once the diagnosis is made based on history, physical examination and the low basal body temperatures, the next step is a therapeutic trial of thyroid hormone. Dr. Smith prefers to use a natural thyroid extract than the more widely used synthetic thyroid medication. Dosage is started low and gradually increased every month while monitoring symptoms, basal temperature and pulse rate. The individually tailored thyroid replacement therapy regimen is closely monitored by Dr. Smith until the levels are brought into normal ranges.