PH:How many people have thyroid problems?
BDP: It may be as many as one in four people. Certainly in the 50-plus age group, one in four people will have some level of thyroid deficiency, or hypothyroidism.
PH: What are the early symptoms and how is it diagnosed?
BDP: There are many different symptoms, but the most common are fatigue, weight gain, loss of motivation, loss of sex drive, some degree of low mood and a general lack of ‘joie de vivre’. Some people have a degree of all these symptoms, while others may only have one.
The standard blood test measures two kinds of thyroid hormone – liothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), as well as the pituitary hormone thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH tells the thyroid gland to produce T4, so if you’re high in TSH and low in T4, you know the thyroid gland isn’t able to produce enough T4. T3 is the active thyroid hormone, which is made from T4. If you have a high T4 and a low T3, it means a possible deficiency in the enzyme that converts T4 into T3.
The trouble is that these standard thyroid blood tests fail to diagnose people with hypothyroidism in more than half of cases. The chief reason is that many people are adrenally-exhausted, and this lack of adrenal hormones interferes with the ability of T4 to deliver its message to the cells, which stimulates metabolism. So, many people with hypothyroidism look fine on the blood test – meaning that they are making ‘normal’ amounts of thyroid hormone – but, in fact, they are suffering from a lack of T4, due to poor cellular uptake. That’s why I rely more on symptoms and less on these standard blood tests.
The best tests
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