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Your Thyroid: Here’s What You Need to Know

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Are you tired, depressed, cold or irritable, and do you experience swollen joints and poor memory? Maybe you are having difficulty losing weight, even though you have tried everything. Do you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, muscle cramps or difficulty swallowing? If so, you need to have your thyroid checked, as these symptoms may indicate low thyroid production or hypothyroidism.

Thyroid 101

Your thyroid gland controls how quickly the body uses energy, makes protein and works with the sex hormones, adrenal glands and neurotransmitters (blood chemistry that affects our moods, mental function, and physical well-being).

Perhaps you have had your thyroid lab done and your doctor said it was “normal.” You look good on paper, but you know you are not well. Maybe you have even noticed hair loss. “It’s probably stress,” your doctor says, and that could be. However, since almost everyone today is feeling stressed, we would be a bald-headed nation if stress alone caused hair loss.

When you gradually get out of bed in the morning and the first thing you see in the mirror are your puffy eyes and swollen eyelids, you may have a thyroid issue. If the outermost part of your eyebrows are thinning or missing and your hair looks dry and brittle, consider getting your thyroid levels checked.

Thyroid hormones help the cells function to produce energy. The thyroid gland produces more T4 (80%), but it is inactive. T3 is 20% of the thyroid hormones and is active. The majority of T4 is converted to T3 inside the cells of the body.

Every cell in the body has receptor sites for thyroid hormones! If your thyroid gland is not functioning well, it can affect every organ in your body, often producing multiple symptoms.

The problem is, according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, more than 57 million Americans suffer from a thyroid problem, but 50% go undiagnosed!

The good news is once you have the right tests done and see a doctor knowledgeable about proper thyroid function, you can live an energetic, happy, healthy life without the above symptoms.

To learn more about hypothyroidism, read the Ultimate Guide reviewed by board-certified physicians.

Get Tested

The right thyroid tests are the place to start. Suggested thyroid labs are:

TSH Thyroid-stimulating hormone
T4 total
T3 total
Free T 3
Free T 4
Reverse T 3
Thyroid peroxidase antibodies
Thyroglobulin antibodies
Iodine
Iron

If your doctor just orders a TSH, ask for the others too.

Sadly, we see patients whose thyroid glands are slowly destroyed year after year until finally they are diagnosed with low thyroid (hypothyroid). Unfortunately, by this time, their treatment options are limited to just thyroid hormone replacement.

Low thyroid can be caused by an autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s), and imbalances of the endocrine system. Toxins, medication, gluten sensitivity, nutrient deficiencies, stress, surgery, pituitary gland dysfunction and inflammation can all compromise your thyroid function.

Thyroid Nodules

It is important to have any thyroid nodules examined and to be aware that the presence of nodules tends to increase as people age:

·      50% of people age 50 have thyroid nodules

·      60% of people age 60 have thyroid nodules

·      70% of people age 70 have thyroid nodules.

Generally, multiple nodules that may be tender are benign. A solitary non-painful nodule should be checked to rule out thyroid cancer.

Remember, you deserve your best life, which includes normal thyroid function.

Sharon Norling, MD, MBA

Sharon Norling, MD, MBA

Dr. Sharon Norling is a nationally known and highly respected medical doctor specializing in integrative medicine and practicing advanced functional medicine in Hendersonville, NC. Dr. Norling graduated from Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and has trained at USC and UCLA. She received her MBA from St. Thomas University.

Dr. Norling’s expertise is based on her years of clinical experiences, former Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and her research. She is national board-certified in OB/GYN, Integrative Medicine and Medical Acupuncture. Dr. Norling combines a credible and responsible academic knowledge with years of experience and a caring nature.

Recognized for her expertise, she has testified before the White House Commission on Complementary Alternative Medicine Policy. She has served in multiple leadership roles as Medical Director and senior management in two large healthcare organizations.During her years in health care she has been nurse, medical doctor, hospital administrator, advocate and a dismissed and misdiagnosed patient.

Her passion is finding the root cause of illnesses instead of just using a pharmaceutical drug to treat the tip of the iceberg. Hormonal and neurotransmitter balancing is one of her specialties.

Dr. Norling is an international speaker and the author of Your Doctor is Wrong. As a presenter, she is engaging, articulate, humorous, and insightful, making learning a dynamic professional and personal growth experience. Whether you have heard her on the radio, seen her on TV or sharing the stage with celebrities, Dr. Norling is the expert.

Dr. Norling is a medical authority, a visionary and an extraordinary leader who provides real solutions for patients who have been dismissed or misdiagnosed.

Disclaimer: The information provided is only intended to be general educational information to the public. It does not constitute medical advice. If you have specific questions about any medical matter or if you are suffering from any medical condition, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

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