Did you know January is Thyroid Awareness Month?
So my question is your thyroid working for you, against you, or not at all?
What is the thyroid and what does it do?
It is a small butterfly shaped gland in the neck whose duty is to carry chemical messages (via hormones) to every tissue in our bodies. It impacts many things such as:
- Metabolism –
- Sexual function
- Growth and development
If your suddenly feeling “systemically crummy” on a multitude of levels? It could be your thyroid.
If you suffer from the following symptoms, you may suffer from hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid).
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Or Muscle weaknes
Or do you suffer from the following symptoms? If so, you may suffer from hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid).
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Rapid heartbeat, abnormal heartbeat, or pounding of the heart.
- Nervousness, anxiety, or touchiness.
- Changes in menstrual patterns.
- Sensitivity to heat.
If you have any two or three of these symptoms it is suggested that you seek out a complete thyroid panel. This would include TSH, T4, T3 as well as thyroglobulin and Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies and reverse T3.
This panel of tests can be ordered by your primary care physician, and endocrinologist, or any healthcare professional that specializes in thyroid function. Additionally, at home test gaining popularity as doctor visit appointments are being booked farther and farther out. Whoever you decide to see, we suggest it is a professional well practiced in diagnosing thyroid function.
What do we see in our office regarding thyroid function? We frequently see hypothyroid men and woman with long term plaguing symptoms such as memory loss, cold hands and feet fatigue, and weight gain. Less commonly we see patients with hyperthyroidism with rapid pounding pulses and severe anxiety, although they frequently end up in the ER before our office. Whether you have hypo, hyper, or auto immune disorder (which can be a combination of both hyper and hypo), they are all treatable by a qualified healthcare professional.
Your provider may order further imaging of the gland, a prescription if available or other treatments. TCM/ acupuncture offices will suggest lab work, reviewing your symptoms and use traditional Chinese diagnostic techniques prior to beginning any treatment. At that point, here will be a discussion on how to properly move forward.
Treatment performed by acupuncture physicians includes acupuncture and herbal capsules chosen to regulate thyroid function specific to your symptoms and/or diagnosis. For example, your herbal formula may include commonly known herbs such as Rou Gui (cinnamon bark). However, a provider will only choose a formula specific to your case. The treatment is not a one size fits all. It is specific to each patient.
What can you do to help support your thyroid?
- Avoid chlorine or fluoride found in tap water or toothpaste
- Eat Vitamin B rich foods or take a B complex supplement
- Use mineral salts (such as Himalayan Salt) rather than iodized salts
- Eat iodine rich foods such as seaweed (short term for hyper patients)
- Eat as much organic nutrient dense foods as possible
- Regular Moderate Exercise (don’t overdo it)
- And follow up with your health care provider!
All in good health! -Dr. Lorri