Is Your Doctor Doing The Right Thyroid Tests? : Dr. Kim's Blog

Is Your Doctor Doing The Right Thyroid Tests?

Hypothyroid symptoms can be from many causes. Primary hypothyroidism is due to a decrease in the thyroid gland producing and secreting thyroid hormone. It may also be caused by issues within the thyroid gland, pituitary gland or hypothalamus gland or the regulation systems of each. There are many causes of hypo-thyroid and testing to determine if the problem is with the thyroid gland, peripheral conversion of thyroid hormone, the hypothalamus gland or pituitary gland is vital when looking to treat a thyroid condition.

In mainstream medicine, normal practice includes basic testing for thyroid in annual exams.  But these tests usually only test thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). More recently a free T4 test has been added. While it is a start in the right direction, adding the T4 test, it still only tells a very small part of the story of thyroid issues.

TSH is not even a thyroid hormone; it comes from the pituitary gland and tells the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormone. By using TSH to diagnose the thyroid, the physician is assuming that the thyroid-hypothalamus-pituitary triangle of regulation is working properly, assuming that the thyroid is producing good quality hormone, and assuming that peripheral regulation of thyroid hormone is working correctly. That is a lot of assumptions, especially when we are talking about your health.

Free T4 will give the amount of unbound T4 in the bloodstream, which is less than one tenth of one percent of Total T4 and is readily excreted by the kidneys. By using a thyroid panel to assess the thyroid the whole picture is painted, no assumptions are made and a qualified physician will be able to treat the condition accurately and effectively.

Symptoms of hypothyroid include:

• Intolerance to cold
• Constipation/decreased GI motility
• Slow reflexes (clinically tested)
• Enlarged thyroid gland
• Loss of outside 1/3 of the eyebrow
• Increased menstrual flow and symptoms
• Tiredness and waking feeling tired
• Decreased metabolism-slow increase in weight over time

Thyroid function can also be altered by imbalances in adrenal gland function, an excess of estrogen and even liver issues. The endocrine system is a very delicate and complex system with one organ system relying on others to do their job correctly. If there is disharmony anywhere the entire system will suffer and you will have symptoms. The key is to get to the bottom of the issue as quickly and accurately as possible to get you feeling better fast.  This is only done through comprehensive testing as is performed at Colorado Center of Health and Nutrition.

In Good Health,


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