Hello and welcome!
Hello and welcome!

A Smarter Approach to Thyroid Problems

Why is Functional Medicine Better at Dealing with Thyroid Problems?

Some thyroid symptoms are similar to other disorders:

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Diabetes
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Menopausal Symptoms

Early warning signs might be overlooked. Dr. Carrick, however, looks at the whole body. Although a patient may need to take thyroid-hormone replacement, there are questions that need to be asked:

  • Why is this patient's thyroid not working properly?
  • Is there a lack of "messaging" from the brain to the thyroid gland?
  • Is there a problem converting the inactive form of the hormone T4 to the active form, T3?
  • Is there a problem with hormone-receptor sites in the body?

Some patients may have been told that their thyroid lab tests are within normal range. The "healthy range" in Functional Medicine is more narrow than the range used by allopathic (traditional Western) physicians, and more comprehensive tests are used. 

Traditional physicians "treat" by doing only one thing: prescribing thyroid hormone replacement.  Doctor visits are short, and there is no digging for clues about why the patient developed the problem or why a patient doesn't feel well even when lab tests show thyroid-hormone levels are within the allopathic acceptable range. 

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid)

  • Fatigue - persistent lack of energy and motivation
  • Cold hand and feet
  • Feeling cold when others are comfortable
  • Needing more sleep than most people 
  • Very dry skin and scalp
  • Mental sluggishness and forgetfulness
  • Gaining weight easily, excessive water retention
  • Thinning hair; excessive loss of hair, loss of outer part of the eyebrows
  • Morning a headache that wears off later in the day  
  • Constipation or difficult bowel movements
  • Feeling depressed

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid)

  • Increase pulse-rate even at rest
  • Night Sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Inner (and sometimes) outward obvious trembling 
  • Heart palpitations
  • Overly nervous and emotional 
  • Difficult gaining weight
  • Occasional diarrhea
  • Frequent Bowel Movements
  • Eyeballs beginning to protrude

What if I Have Symptoms of BOTH Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism?

An autoimmune disorder, called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, may begin with symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Without treatment, as the disease progresses, patients begin to experience a fluctuation between the extremes of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. 

In an autoimmune disorder, the immune system attacks the body's own cells and organs, instead of the bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells.  In Hashimoto's, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland.  Patients produce antibodies that target the thyroid gland, as though it is a foreign invader. 

Hashimoto's Disease

Hashimoto's Disease is a thyroid autoimmune disorder.  Standard medical care involves giving thyroid hormone replacement therapy but does NOT address the crucial problem of an immune system that is out of control. Once a patient develops one autoimmune disorder, however, other autoimmune conditions may follow such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, and others.  Addressing an overactive immune system is crucial for patients. 

The Functional Medicine Approach

The Functional Medicine approach is to supply thyroid hormone, if needed, but also try to preserve the patient's thyroid gland and overall health by focusing on an overactive immune system. An anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle changes help calm and balance the immune system.  Unlike the standard medical approach which has only one answer for the blaze of autoimmune reactions: suppression of the immune response.  This results in an immune system that can't do its job properly. 

Functional Medicine uses much more delicate tools:

  • Supporting the immune system but helping to lower the fire
  • Dietary and Lifestyle Changes 
  • Targeted Supplementation

A well-functioning immune system protects us from foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and mold and from our own cells gone awry which results in cancer. 

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