A staggering 27 million Americans suffer with thyroid-related illnesses. About half of these individual cases go undiagnosed. How can that be possible? Blood tests are the typical way to test for thyroid abnormalities in traditional medicine, and those results don’t lie, right? Unfortunately, the results from a blood test can appear normal when, in reality, what you feel is anything but normal.
You know when something is not right with your body. And if you believe your thyroid is behind the problems you’re experiencing, it’s time to get to the root cause of your situation with functional medicine and thyroid therapy.
How Does the Thyroid Gland Work?
The thyroid gland’s main job is to make the hormone thyroxine (T4). The thyroid also makes the hormone triiodothyronine (T3). Mostly, the thyroid gland makes T4 which must be converted to T3, even though T3 does the majority of the hormone’s work.
The pituitary gland is also involved in this equation, making thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which tells the thyroid gland how much T4 and T3 to produce. Typical blood tests usually scan for TSH levels.
Abnormally high TSH levels mean you’re making too little thyroid hormone, indicating that you could have hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid. Abnormally low levels of TSH mean you’re making too much thyroid hormone, which could indicate hyperthyroidism.
What’s Wrong with Standard Blood Tests?
Often, standard thyroid testing – done with a simple blood test – will not reveal a problem within your system. However, testing for reverse T3, thyroid antibodies, selenium, or heavy metal can reveal thyroid problems, or even the cause of thyroid problems. These tests are not run routinely, so the confirmation of a thyroid problem is not always initially achieved.
Many factors can influence the results of your TSH blood test, including the lab where your blood test is run. If test results are so sensitive, the room for error is large and it’s easy to assume the results may not be accurate. The goal in functional medicine is to conduct more thorough testing, talk with you about your health history and the symptoms you’re experiencing, and determine if your lifestyle, diet, environment, or genetics could be causing your thyroid problem. This in-depth diagnosis allows room for the thyroid therapy that is just right for you.
Why Choose Functional Medicine for Thyroid Help?
You may read articles or websites about thyroid problems and feel like you fit into those categories. You may see your regular doctor for testing to confirm whether your thyroid is to blame for your fatigue, weight gain or loss, sweating or sensitivity to cold, and so on. Thyroid hormone replacement is often the prescription for thyroid problems. But this approach is not always appropriate or good enough.
Reversing thyroid-related problems involves supporting more than just the thyroid gland. Other organs play a role in the symptoms and overall thyroid illness, including the stomach and colon; liver, which removes toxins, among other things; adrenal glands, which handle stress, energy levels, blood sugar, and sleep quality; and the pituitary gland, which controls all other male and female hormones.
When you choose thyroid therapy with a practitioner of functional medicine, you’re choosing the atypical route to healing – and that’s a good thing. The approach to heal thyroid problems often needs to go beyond taking a medication or supplement. Take, for instance, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, a very common autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks your thyroid gland and causes chronic thyroid damage. This affliction can be tested for in the blood, but help for this problem requires a different approach than just using standard thyroid support.
The Importance of Maintaining Thyroid Health
The thyroid is a critical part of your overall well-being. Many systems are supported by the thyroid, including gastrointestinal function, endocrine system, fat burning ability, healthy cholesterol levels, the brain and nervous system, and much more.
At the Restorative Wellness Center in Ann Arbor, we offer a health coaching program to help our patients improve their lifestyle, exercise, nutrition, and sleep habits so that they are in a healing state. Allow us to tailor a thyroid program just for you, to walk with you hand-in-hand through the process to reverse the effects of your thyroid problem. Contact us today to schedule your appointment – let’s talk about how non-invasive healthcare solutions can give you back your life.