If you’ve been struggling losing weight or have unexplained fatigue despite making significant changes to your diet and lifestyle, you might want to consider the state of your thyroid. 

For a start, almost every system in your body relies in some part on hormones that are produced by your thyroid. When the thyroid fails to function optimally, it could lead to nonspecific symptoms that are opposites of each other — from unexplained sluggishness,  fuzzy thinking, and weight gain to anxiety, excessive sweating, and losing too much weight. 

Next, thyroid issues are relatively common and current figures reveal that more than 12 percent of the U.S. population is likely to develop thyroid problems in their lifetime. 

At Hauser Health, we’ve helped patients deal with thyroid imbalance, and we’ve noticed a rising number in clients who have thyroid problems. 

In this article, you’ll learn about what your thyroid does, why your thyroid may be to blame for those days when you feel off, and when to seek help. 

Thyroid Gland: Your Body’s Thermostat 

As one of the endocrine glands in your body, the thyroid gland sits under the skin on the front part of your neck just below the Adam’s apple. It is around 2 inches long and about the size and shape of a tiny butterfly. 

Here’s a quick exercise: put one finger on the front part of your neck and place another finger on top of your breastbone.

Your thyroid is in that tiny space in between your two fingers. You can even feel it bob up and down when you swallow. 

Your thyroid gland produces hormones that are released into the bloodstream. These two significant hormones are T4 (thyroxine) and T3 ( triiodothyronine). 

How do the thyroid hormones work? 

There are two glands in your brain — the hypothalamus and the pituitary — which communicates to maintain the balance between your T3 and T4 hormones.

As part of your endocrine system, your thyroid gland utilizes iodine from the food you eat to make T3 and T4. 

When your hypothalamus is functioning optimally, it produces TSH-releasing hormone (TRH) which in turn communicates with the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland, on the other hand, sends signals to the thyroid gland in producing more or less T3 or T4 through the production thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). 

If your T3 and T4 levels are low,  the pituitary gland releases more TSH to signal your thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones. On the other hand, when T3 and T4 levels are high, the pituitary gland releases less TSH so your thyroid will slow production of these hormones. 

T4 gets converted into T3 once it arrives at a specific organ. From thereon, T3 sets the pace for your cells. It helps them do what they’re supposed to do.  These hormones tell your heart to keep beating, your liver to keep metabolizing, and so on.

These hormones regulate essential bodily functions — growth, muscle control, mood, bone health, brain development, and digestive function. They also play a significant role in your metabolism or the rate at which your body burns calories (from food) and converts oxygen to energy. 

Too much hormone production leads to hyperthyroidism where your body goes into overdrive. Meanwhile, a thyroid that produces too few hormones can lead to hypothyroidism where bodily functions seem to slow down. 

For a gland so small, it has a significant impact on your health. Having trouble with your thyroid means you would feel it in many ways because the body is dependent on it in many ways. 

Why Thyroid Imbalance Happens 

Thyroid imbalance can be due to a whole host of issues. Here are some of the most common causes: 

    • Nutrient deficiencies
    • Autoimmune disease or when your immune system starts to attack your cells. This is quite common in both hyperthyroidism (Graves’ disease) and hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s disease). 
    • Gut dysbiosis and intestinal permeability 
    • Adrenal fatigue 
    • Constant stress and overtraining 
    • Thyroid inflammation caused by a virus or bacteria
    • Non-cancerous lumps, cancerous tumors, or nodules on the thyroid gland
    • Medical treatments including radiation therapy, thyroid surgery, and some medicines
    • Genetic conditions 
    • Other causes may include not sleeping enough, poor diet, and even anemia (although the link between anemia and thyroid problems remain unclear

Do you have a thyroid problem and not know it?

The problem with thyroid troubles is that all of the symptoms are nonspecific. You can either have one specific symptom or all of them combined, but your doctor cannot diagnose that your thyroid has to do with it. A blood test is the only way to nail down thyroid issues. 

Thyroid Assessment and Treatment in Maryland

At Hauser Health, Dr. Hauser goes beyond the basic blood tests in thyroid testing. You may have been told that your thyroid function is normal because TSH levels are within the normal range. It’s worth noting that having normal TSH levels do not automatically rule out an underactive thyroid.

For blood tests, Dr. Hauser also checks for Free T3, Free T4, and two other markers for Hashimoto’s disease. 

Dr. Hauser’s comprehensive approach in thyroid management allows for proper diagnosis of thyroid issues and treatment using a holistic approach.  Dr. Hauser and his team use proven lifestyle changes alongside evidence-based treatments in medicine to treat your thyroid.  It’s not uncommon for patients to be suffering from undiagnosed symptoms for some time. 

If you are feeling ill after seeing countless doctors and feel like you’ve exhausted all options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Hauser today.