More than 1 in 10 older Australians have a thyroid disease, and 10% of the population have subclinical hypothyroidism (a sluggish thyroid without all the symptoms). More than forty million dollars a year is spent on thyroid testing and despite all this we still find that the recognition and treatment of thyroid conditions still need improving.
A recent Australian study found that:
- 10 percent of the population had a diagnosed Thyroid condition
- 3.6 percent had an undiagnosed Thyroid condition
- 25 percent of those treated for a thyroid condition still had blood tests indicating a poorly functioning thyroid
And we find in clinic the number of undiagnosed and mismanaged thyroids even higher.
What is a Thyroid?
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located at the front of your windpipe. It’s responsible for producing and dispersing triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) hormones throughout your bloodstream. These hormones are crucial to your development, growth and metabolic processes such as heart rate, body temperature and weight. T3 is the most active thyroid hormone with T4’s limited production needing to be converted to T3 before being transported throughout the body. This conversion happens within specific organs (mainly the liver) and other tissues.
The amount of T3 and T4 hormones that are produced is managed by the pituitary gland which is located at the base of the brain.
It controls this production by dispersing a thyroid stimulating hormone known as TSH. When T3 and T4 levels fluctuate, the pituitary gland creates more or less TSH to compensate. Normally this process ensures that there are the right levels of each hormone within the body. However, when the thyroid is not functioning properly, there can be imbalances which impact your health.
How do I know if I have a Thyroid condition
The most common thyroid conditions are hypothyroidism, when your gland isn’t making enough hormones, and hyperthyroidism, when your thyroid is making too many hormones.Overactive and underactive thyroid glands can be distinguished by a number of different symptoms.
Symptoms that may indicate you have a thyroid condition include:
Edema (Fluid retention)
Thin, dry hair
Loss of labido
Loss of Menstrual cycle
Loss of Labido
Luckily for you every client that sees one of our qualified Naturopaths is screened for underlying thyroid conditions. We routinely check your basal temperature and iodine absorption levels as part of our initial tests offered for free as part of our corrective care treatment plans. These are both basic tests but can often give us clues, along with your comprehensive case history, as to whether a thyroid condition is something you are likely to have.
I have the Symptoms and my basic tests are Positive, What now?
If either you or your Naturopath is concerned that your thyroid is not functioning optimally then we will perform further tests. There are a range of tests that can be performed and these include:
- Blood TSH
- Free T3
- Free T4
- Reverse T3 (often not done by your doctor)
- Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) (often not done by your doctor)
- Anti-Thyroglobulin antibodies (often not done by your doctor)
- Thyroid-Stimulating antibodies (TSAb) (often not done by your doctor)
- Iodine (often not done by your doctor)
We Don’t use the Standard Reference Ranges
The reference ranges for your TSH levels, the test most commonly done by doctors to rule out thyroid conditions, has a huge reference range, and because of this early stage thyroid decline is often missed. At Vital Chi we know that if you have a TSH reading of 2.5mU/L or greater then there is a good chance you have the earlier stages of thyroid failure, especially if Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies are detected (TPOAb).
Unfortunately if your doctor sees these results they will more than likely tell you everything is fine. The National Academy of Clinical biochemistry stated in 2003 that “Patients with a serum TSH of 2.5mU/L, when confirmed by a repeat TSH test 3 -4 weeks after, may be in the early stages of thyroid failure.”
So often this clinical fact is overlooked which if picked up early could prevent many serious thyroid conditions from starting in the first place.
How can a Vital Chi Practitioner Help?
Vital Chi’s experienced naturopaths can offer natural, drug-free treatment for hypothyroidism. In fact we have our very own hypothyroid experts.
Naturopathy takes a holistic approach to your health, assessing the ‘whole person’ and using accurate diagnostic testing to identify the causes and contributing factors to your condition. You can read more about Naturopathy here.
If your concerned about your Thyroid don’t put off Thyroid Testing any longer
Vital Chi’s practitioners can help test and treat your thyroid and get you back on the road to good health and vitality. Book an Appointment here. Or phone us on (03) 9894 0014. Our clinic in Blackburn, Melbourne, is open six days a week.