Posted on 09 August 2010 by admin
By Howard Liebowitz, M.D.
Your thyroid gland, located at the base of your neck, is a small, powerful hormone center that regulates your metabolism. Your metabolism is the rate that your body utilizes energy. Without the proper energy, our body does not function properly. Most people have heard that low thyroid causes weight gain and fatigue. You may not know that the thyroid also controls your body temperature, your digestion and most other hormone centers in your body. In the United States, there is currently an epidemic of low thyroid (hypothyroid) disease; much of it undiagnosed. This condition of low thyroid production is called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It is considered an autoimmune illness, which means that the body has turned its protective defense systems against itself. These defense systems usually protect our body, but with autoimmune illnesses, these systems are being used instead to destroy the thyroid gland. Why is this happening? We are being exposed to toxic substances in greater amounts than we ever have before: mercury in fish, pesticides, food additives, polluted water, unsafe air quality, antibiotics and loads of foreign “estrogen mimicking” chemicals. Our digestive tract and our skin and lungs take in these harmful substances, which wreak havoc with our hormonal systems. As a result, cancers of all types are most more prevalent than ever before. Our delicate immune and hormonal centers are interrupted. For example, girls are getting their periods at younger ages and men’s testosterone levels are falling dramatically, compromising their vitality and ability to reproduce. We are also facing greater levels of stress in our lives, which takes it’s toll on all our endocrine systems. It is not uncommon for low thyroid conditions to occur during stressful hormonal transitions, such as menopause and pregnancy. The body does not do well with hormone imbalances!
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Check all items that apply to you:
_____ Low Sex Drive
_____ Weight Gain
_____ Brittle Nails
_____ Poor Concentration and Memory
_____ Dry, Rough Skin
_____ Poor Hair Quality / Loss of Hair
_____ Frequent Sweating
_____ Prominent Bags Under the Eyes
_____ High Cholesterol in spite of a good diet
_____ Difficult Menopause Symptoms
_____ Muscle Aches and Pains
_____ Slow Body Movement
_____ Irregular Menses
_____ Cold Intolerance
_____ Cold Hands and Feet
_____ Difficulty getting going in the morning
_____ Walking Around Foggy-headed
_____ Diagnosis of any Autoimmune Illness (diabetes, lupus, Chron’s, M.S. rheumatoid arthritis)
One way to help make this diagnosis is to check your basal body temperature. This may help make a diagnosis when your hormone analysis is borderline. If you have checked more than 8 of the above symptoms, this test may be useful.
The Basal Body Test
This test needs to be performed using a basal body thermometer, which may be purchased at any pharmacy. If women are not menopausal, they need to do this test the first few days of the menstrual period. Men may test at any time. The temperature is taken first-thing in the morning, just as you are opening your eyes. Do not get up to urinate, brush your teeth or move around prior to taking your temperature. The end of the thermometer is placed under your bare armpit while you rest on your side. Take the temperature for 3-4 minutes. Perform this test for several days in a row, and record the readings. 98 degrees is a normal, average reading. One degree less than this is indicative of low thyroid.
My basal body reading:
day 1 _______
day 2 _______
day 3 _______
day 4 _______
_______ Average Reading (add together the 4 total values and divide by 4)
I also use a new technique to assess Thyroid function called Thyroflex. This is an ingenious device that measures the speed of your reflex time and extrapolates it into how your thyroid hormones are working. The level of your thyroid hormone is directly responsible for the speed of your reflexes. A high thyroid level will result in fast reflexes and a low thyroid level will result in a slow reflex. I use all of this data to interpret whether a person has low ,normal or elevated thyroid function. By compiling all of this information together I am able to provide a much more accurate assessment of thyroid function. When thyroid function is “off” it can upset the entire hormone applecart.
I normally do this evaluation on all of my new patients and periodically on follow up exams for my patients whose thyroid hormone I am balancing.
If you would like to know how your Thyroid measures up, please schedule an appointment .
This information is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to treat or diagnose any health condition.