WHAT IS HYPOTHYROIDISM?
One in eight women will experience hypothyroidism in her lifetime, and although men are affected too it is not to the same degree. The sad reality is that in addition to those diagnosed it is believed that 10s of millions of people have issues with their thyroid function and don’t know it! These women and men are suffering day to day, needlessly! Let’s hope that this article prevents that from being you.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located in the anterior part of the neck under the voice box. The right and left lobes of the gland are attached with a tissue strip, the isthmus, and adjoin with the windpipe. There are small lobules present inside the thyroid gland containing follicles. Picture it kind of like water balloon. These follicles store thyroid hormones in the form of tiny droplets.
As part of the endocrine system, the thyroid gland produces three types of hormones – Triiodothyronine (T3), Tetraiodothyronine or Thyroxine (T4) and Calcitonin. Secretion of these hormones is regulated by the amount that is already circulating in the body.
Under normal conditions, the brain signals to the thyroid to make more hormones via Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). When we need more hormones, TSH levels increase, screaming at your body to ramp up the system. If your thyroid gland itself is working well then it is no problem, the request is answered, T4 and T3 increase and TSH goes back down. When the request is not answered, meaning T4 and T3 are not being made properly, we have a situation of hypothyroidism. Here we see low levels of the hormones T3 and T4 and high TSH circulating in the blood stream.
The diagnostic range for TSH changes from province to province and state to state. This can often cause frustration and confusion to people trying to figure out what the heck is going on with them.
To add fuel to the fire, we know that in women trying to get pregnant, or who are pregnant, TSH should be below 2.5 mIU/L. Which brings into question, should this be the range we use for all people? Many experts believe this to be the case, and I tend to agree!
What’s more important than numbers though is symptoms.
Do you have any of the signs and symptoms?