January is Thyroid Awareness Month!
Many of us recognize the importance of the thyroid’s role in metabolism, but thyroid dysfunction can also impact depression, fibromyalgia, heart disease, hormonal symptoms and many other chronic conditions. While there are classic symptoms of thyroid imbalance, the clinical presentation from person to person can vary considerably. Women in particular, do not always present with “classic symptoms” of any disease, thus making it more challenging to uncover a thyroid imbalance. On the other hand, the classic symptoms of thyroid disease are vague and can be accounted for by many other disease states.
Classic symptoms of hypothyroidism include; fatigue, weight gain, changes in hair and nails, dry skin, constipation and increased cold intolerance.
As we age, we are more likely to experience “sub-clinical” thyroid disease. This occurs when the thyroid function tests reveal a significant thyroid imbalance in a person that is relatively asymptomatic. More likely, the incidence of thyroid disease is often under-diagnosed.
An estimated 27 million Americans suffer from thyroid related illness. It is estimated that up 40 percent of Americans have undiagnosed sub-optimal thyroid function.
Part of this problem is that, from a traditional medicine standpoint, a “disease” is categorized by a list of symptoms and lab findings. Many clients come to me with a few symptoms from many different diagnoses. Many of them are told that “there is nothing wrong with them” because they do not meet the precise list of diagnostic criteria for a particular disease. Furthermore, many of the people I see fall under the radar of traditional lab testing because they have “normal thyroid labs” by traditional measures.
Getting to the Root Cause of thyroid imbalance
From a Functional Medicine perspective, thyroid disease is an imbalance that can have many different root causes. The most common type of thyroid disease I see in my practice is Hashimotos Thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune attack on the thyroid. The most common underlying triggers for Hashimotos thyroiditis are Food Sensitivities such as gluten, underlying Gastrointestinal Imbalances such as Yersinia Infection and chronic infections such as Chronic Epstein Barr Virus. I am overwhelmed by the number of people I am seeing with high EBV viral loads. Emerging evidence suggests that EBV may be a major driver of many chronic illness including autoimmune disease, inflammatory bowel disease, certain cancers and many other chronic disease states.
Follow my blog more information on…..
- How your thyroid works.
- What is Hashimotos Thyroiditis?
- Why do I still feel bad after starting thyroxine?
- The connection between Food Sensitives, the Gut and Autoimmune Thyroid Disease.
- The overwhelming connecting Chronic Epstein Barr Virus to Hashimotos Thyroiditis and other autoimmune and inflammatory illness.
- How to re-balance and heal your thyroid.