The thyroid is a gland in the neck. The thyroid gland affects every function in the body by producing essential hormones. It is a part of the endocrine system, or the hormone system, and is responsible for regulating metabolism, heart and digestive function, brain development, energy, mood, and muscle control.
Disorders and diseases of the thyroid are becoming increasingly common, affecting around 20 million Americans. Over half of those affected are unaware that they have a thyroid issue. Women are almost 10 times more likely than men to develop thyroid dysfunction. Once a thyroid condition develops, it is typically a lifelong disease and needs to be managed with medical attention.
In most cases, thyroid disease and dysfunction is the result of an underlying autoimmune disease. In cases of insufficient thyroid hormone production, an inadequate intake or absorption of iodine is the culprit.
In recent years, environmental contaminants and endocrine-disrupting chemicals have gained attention for their role in thyroid and hormone disruption. Studies on the correlation between thyroid diseases and endocrine disruptors are ongoing. In some cases, women will develop postpartum hypothyroidism, in which pregnancy is the culprit.
Anyone can develop thyroid disease; however, some factors increase your risk. If you are a woman, over 60, or have a family history of thyroid disease, you are at a higher risk of developing thyroid conditions. You may also be at risk if you have a pre-existing autoimmune disease, have ever been treated with radioactive iodine, you’ve had thyroid surgery, or if you’ve been pregnant and delivered a baby in the last six months.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with and damage the hormone systems of the body, and this can occur in both humans and animals. Endocrine disruptors negatively impact hormone signaling pathways by binding to hormone receptors.
Studies have shown that endocrine disruptors interfere with the thyroid at different levels, including thyroid production at the gland and transfer of the thyroid hormone. Examples of endocrine disruptors include lead, mercury, certain pesticides, synthetic hormones, and BPAs.
Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, is one variation of thyroid disease. The thyroid does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone. The biggest contributor to hypothyroidism is autoimmune disease. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Weight gain
- Body and muscle aches
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Cognitive issues such as brain fog
- Heavy and irregular periods
While rare, some people are born without a working thyroid, which is supplemented with medication.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid and causes and under-production of thyroid hormones. Hashimoto’s is the leading cause of hypothyroidism in the United States.
There are currently no known symptoms or signs that are unique to Hashimoto’s. Many people experience no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. The development is a slow progression and, if left undetected, can ultimately lead to hypothyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, is when the thyroid produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
- Weight loss
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Increased appetite
- Nervousness, irritability, and anxiety
- Sensitivity to heat
- Changes to the menstrual cycle Graves’ Disease Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid, and the result is an overproduction of thyroid hormone. Graves’ disease is the leading cause of hyperthyroidism.The symptoms of Graves’ disease are similar to those in hyperthyroidism. In some cases, people will develop an inflammation around the eyes causing bulging, known as orbitopathy. In other rare instances, patients develop a skin disorder known as Graves’ dermopathy. This causes a thickening of the skin on the shins.
Due to the complex physiology of thyroid disease, it is common to receive a misdiagnosis. The process in which the thyroid produces thyroid hormone involves several steps.
If there is a malfunction throughout any of these steps, the body will experience symptoms of hypothyroidism, but this will not show up on lab tests. The other issue with conventional testing is that tests are not based upon research, but rather a bell curve obtained from other people being tested.
Certain patterns of thyroid dysfunction not only will not show up on standard testing but will also not respond well to hormone replacement therapy.
At Atlant Health, we offer a combination of traditional and alternative solutions. First, comprehensive blood analysis with full Thyroid panel is requested. These results are analyzed from Functional Medicine perspective as opposed to Lab Ranges. When lab results are interpreted, we design a personalized nutritional plan. In addition, we offer bioenergetic medicine approach. Asyra Testing BioEnergetic Evaluation is a non-invasive method to assess a number of health-related factors, such as hormone imbalances and nutritional deficiencies.
More than 70% of people experience functional and bioenergetic disturbances. This means that while a patient may be experiencing all the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, conventional lab work is unable to identify the root cause.
Bioenergetic medicine helps to identify these disturbances early on. Even at the beginning of the preclinical phase, when one might be experiencing symptoms but has yet to identify their cause.
Bioenergetic evaluation is inexpensive and well known for its ability to provide prevention and wellness care. If you are suffering from chronic and debilitating symptoms, consider speaking with us further about our bioenergetic and functional testing.