Signs and symptoms of hypo (low) thyroid functions are many and varied. A short summary of the main issues, the tip of the iceberg, include (but are not limited to) the following:
-Foggy thinking/memory issues
-Weight gain/hard to lose
-Cold extremities at rest
-Thick-cracked skin over heel
Hypothyroidism is conventionally diagnosed by measuring thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). If the TSH is “high” this means the brain is yelling at the thyroid but the thyroid is not responding appropriately. If the TSH is within normal range, the general consensus is…there is no thyroid problem. But wait! Just because the TSH is within range doesn’t mean all is well. What other inquiries can be made to establish whether a problem exists?
Consider 3 Doors:
Door #1 - Blood Sample
The amount of hormone, whether made or taken, can be directly measured in the blood. This gives objective data that helps determine if there is a sub-adequate, adequate or optimal amount available. However, lab results can and do occasionally lie!
Door #2 - Conversion
The thyroid gland makes thyroid hormone 1, 2, 3 and 4 (T1, T2, T3, T4); so designated by the number of iodine molecules present. The predominant hormone, however, is T4 which must be converted to T3 to be biologically active. In fact, it is the FREE (not bound to a protein) portion of T4 (FT4) that is converted to the FREE portion of T3 (FT3.) Less than 1% of circulating thyroid hormone is Free. Measuring the FT4 and FT3, at specific times of day, not only suggest whether optimal amounts are being MADE or TAKEN, but also help in establishing if the conversion rate is optimal.
Door #3 - Utilization
There is no definitive test for finding out whether FT3 is being optimally utilized by the cell. Just because thyroid hormone is present, may be at optimal levels, DOES NOT mean it is being utilized optimally! The patient’s signs and symptoms ARE THE ONLY WAY TO KNOW! LISTEN TO THE PATIENT!!