Thyroid Awareness Month – 10 Facts About Thyroid DiseaseJanuary 19, 2016
January is Thyroid Awareness Month and prominent integrative physician, Dr. David Borenstein, shares 10 key facts about thyroid disease that everyone should know.
Thyroid awareness is important anytime you have your annual physical or if you suspect you might have issues with your thyroid. Thyroid disease is a treatable condition. Talk with your physician to make sure the tests for thyroid disease are included in your labs, and discuss any concerns you have.
10 Facts About Thyroid Disease
- Your annual physical probably doesn't include a thyroid test. You or your doctor need to specifically request your thyroid to be tested.
- Undiagnosed, untreated hypothyroidism can sabotage even the most rigorous low-calorie diet and exercise program.
- The TSH test alone isn't enough to diagnose and manage thyroid conditions. You also need to measure and monitor thyroid hormones -- Free T4 and Free T3 -- as well as thyroid antibodies.
- Even with normal TSH, Free T4 and Free T3 levels, you can have symptoms of autoimmune thyroid disease. Innovative treatments such as low-dose naltrexone (LDN) and autologous stem cell transplants may help resolve autoimmune thyroid disease.
- An underactive thyroid can be the cause of elevated cholesterol, infertility, depression, hair loss, and constipation, among other symptoms. An overactive thyroid can be the cause of panic attacks and anxiety, diarrhea, tremors, and elevated blood pressure, among other symptoms. Thyroid treatment often resolves these symptoms.
- Overconsumption of soy products and raw cruciferous vegetables -- like broccoli, spinach, cauliflower and kale -- can slow your thyroid and increase hypothyroidism risk. Limit soy consumption, cook or steam these vegetables to minimize your risk.
- Untreated thyroid imbalances increase the risk of infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, postpartum depression, and low milk supply. Women should consider a complete thyroid evaluation before, during and after pregnancy.
- Many people are prescribed antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs without the recommended thyroid tests. Necessary thyroid treatment could resolve these symptoms.
- Older women are at the greatest risk of thyroid disease, but infants, children, young adults, and men are also at risk. A family history of thyroid/autoimmune disease increases that risk.
- To lower your risk of developing thyroid disease: don't smoke; ask for a thyroid collar when having dental x-rays; minimize inflammation; manage stress; and, ensure sufficient (but not excessive) iodine in your diet.
ABOUT THE AUTHORDavid Borenstein, MD is one of the nation's leading integrative physicians, with expertise in hormonal health. He is the founder of Manhattan Integrative Medicine in New York City.