Thyroid Hormones & Thyroid Function — An Overview
What is Thyroid
As the master gland, your thyroid is central to all of your body’s major functions. It influences your metabolism, digestion, energy, body temperature, skin, hair, sleep, mental acuity, nervous system, sex organs, and hormonal system. In fact, it would be very difficult to find a system that is NOT influenced by the thyroid.
When your thyroid is off-balance, most likely, you will feel pretty lousy. Whether your thyroid is working too fast (hyperthyroidism) or working too slow (hypothyroidism), or a combination of the two, there will be trouble. A properly-functioning thyroid helps maintain a delicate balance through a set of complex feedback loops that ultimately define the rate and efficiency of many of our metabolic processes. The thyroid indirectly – but powerfully – influences the way we feel physically, mentally and emotionally.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, we recommend getting your thyroid checked right away.
- Fatigue and weakness
- Intolerance to cold or low basal temperature
- Heat intolerance
- Dry or coarse skin
- Clammy skin
- Hair loss
- Cold hands and feet
- Hot hands and feet
- Unexplained weight gain or trouble losing weight
- Unexplained weight loss or inability to maintain a healthy weight
- Frequent bowel movements
- Poor memory, forgetfulness or dementia
- Nervousness and tremors
- Immune system problems
- Heavy menstrual periods
- Very light menstrual periods
Because of the thyroid’s widespread effects, malfunction can significantly affect a person’s life and poses a detriment to long-term health. Learning more about the thyroid itself can help you understand why it is important to work with a physician who truly understands the complexities of the organ.
If you’ve been tested for thyroid disease and your TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) test diagnostics reveal that your levels are “within normal range”, but you still are feeling unbalanced, it’s time for more comprehensive testing. Conventional doctors only use the TSH test, which measures your thyroid function from a limited perspective.
Our holistic physicians offer a variety of tests that diagnose “subclinical” thyroid conditions that most conventional doctors miss. Patients Medicaloffers tests for T3, T4, Free T3, Free T4, anti-thyroid antibodies and the TRH Challenge test. These additional tests help our doctors analyze the various aspects of thyroid function and pinpoint the exact dysfunction so that they can better prescribe a treatment plan that will get you feeling better more quickly.
The TRH test is a valuable component of this process. Especially for those cases that are difficult to diagnose through the more common types of testing, the TRH (Thyrotropin Releasing Hormone) Challenge test is essential for analyzing the relationship between the thyroid, the pituitary gland and they hypothalamus gland. Plainly stated, it measures the thyroid’s communication with your brain.
Read more about the TRH challenge test and the many other types of tests available at Patients Medical.
Beyond the typical synthetic hormone replacement strategies, Patients Medical’s integrative medical doctors offer treatments that include nutritional therapy, nutritional supplements, natural hormones, homeopathy, acupuncture and herbal remedies.
Thyroid disease can take many different forms. Beyond the typical hypo- or hyperthyroid classifications, doctors have distinguished several types of thyroiditis that include Hashimoto’s Disease, Graves’ Disease, goiter, nodules, and thyroid cancer.
Read more about the many different types of thyroid disease.
Article Last Updated: 01/23/2014