Thyroid Problems: Symptoms, Testing and Treatment

An estimated 50 million people in this country suffer from thyroid problems. The real problem, however, is that most of them don't even know it. Thyroid problems for men and women stem from dysfunction of the thyroid gland, a butterfly shaped gland located at the base of your throat. When this gland produces too much or too little of the thyroid hormone, a variety of health issues may result. Knowing the symptoms of thyroid problems can go a long way to getting the testing and treatment you need to stay healthy.

Thyroid Symptoms

There are two types of thyroid disorders – hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is underactive and produces too little thyroid hormone. Conversely, hypothyroidism occurs when too much hormone is produced due to an overactive thyroid gland. Each condition exhibits different symptoms, which are listed below.

Hypothyroidism Symptoms:

Weight gain
Fuzzy thinking
Low blood pressure
Fluid retention
Chronic pain
Slow reflexes

Hyperthyroidism Symptoms:

Rapid weight loss
Rapid pulse
High blood pressure
Eye sensitivity/bulging
Vision disturbances

If you have experienced any of the above symptoms, it is essential that you undergo thyroid testing as soon as possible.

Thyroid Testing

Different types of doctors will have different methods of testing for thyroid problems. Doctors who practice traditional medicine, for example, will simply administer a blood test. If the test shows that your thyroid levels are in “normal” range, he or she will assume you don't have a thyroid problem. Unfortunately, what is considered normal range has been the subject of much debate in the medical community. In 2002, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommended using a new thyroid hormone range of.3 to 3.0 to determine whether the patient's thyroid gland was functioning normally. Many traditional doctors throughout the U.S., however, still use the older range of.5 to 6.0 as the normal range. This means that many people with a thyroid hormone level over 3.0 are being diagnosed as having a normal thyroid when they in fact have a thyroid problem.

The naturopathic doctors at Integrative Health in Scottsdale are well aware of the new guidelines for determining normal thyroid functioning. When you visit Integrative Health, a naturopathic doctor will administer a blood test for thyroid furnctioning, but he or she will assess other physical factors, as well, in order to diagnose any potential thyroid issues not detected by a blood test. This is typical of “holistic” medicine, which treats not just one part of your body, but your entire body as a whole, to achieve a more comprehensive, accurate diagnosis. The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and alternative therapies to better prevent and treat diseases and disorders by addressing all potential contributing factors – not just the ones addressed by traditional medicine.

Thyroid Treatment

Treatment for thyroid disorder varies depending on whether you choose a traditional doctor or a holistic doctor. Traditional treatments typically consists of taking a synthetic thyroid hormone for hypothyroidism or an anti-thyroid medication for hyperthyroidism. Holistic treatments for thyroid problems, on the other hand, will include a natural thyroid supplement or “booster,” a moderate exercise program, and modifications to your diet. Integrative Health offers comprehensive thyroid testing and holistic thyroid treatments to help you achieve optimal health without the use of prescription drugs.

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