The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped organ located at the base of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. Your thyroid gland plays a vital role in virtually every metabolic process in your body. It secretes several specific hormones including thyroxine, or T4, as well as T3, T1 and T2. Together, these thyroid hormones help regulate metabolic processes as diverse as temperature regulation, energy expenditure, metabolism, hunger, and growth and development.
So, when your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, it’s not surprising that every area of your life can feel off balance. Your physical, emotional, and mental vitality are compromised, affecting your mood, your sleep, your appearance, and your thinking.
And thyroid dysfunction is more common than you might realize. Consider these statistics from the American Thyroid Association:
Thyroid dysfunction can be broken into two major categories – hypothyroidism (underactive or low thyroid function) and hyperthyroidism (overactive or high thyroid function).
In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough T3, T4, or both. Your body literally slows down, which is why those with hypothyroidism feel sluggish, cold, and foggy-headed. Usually, fatigue and weight gain are the first symptoms that appear. But these symptoms are so common that they’re usually discounted as part of the normal aging process. As time goes on and the metabolism slows even more, additional symptoms emerge.
Symptoms of underactive thyroid gland function include:
Hypothyroidism is by far the most common type of thyroid dysfunction.
Less often we see symptoms of hyperthyroidism, or a thyroid gland that’s secreting too much thyroid hormone. Not surprisingly, the symptoms of hyperthyroidism are the opposite of those for hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of overactive thyroid gland function include:
There are many things that can negatively affect your thyroid. The most common cause of thyroid disease is an autoimmune process, which is when the body’s own immune system begins attacking the thyroid gland. In hypothyroidism, the autoimmune condition is called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and in hyperthyroidism, it’s called Graves’ disease.
A variety of factors can lead to problems with thyroid function, including:
Fortunately, many of these causes are reversible. Often by adopting a healthier lifestyle – improving our diet, exercising, and relieving our stress – patients begin to see improvements in their thyroid function. But many patients will need additional nutrients and natural medications to improve their symptoms and achieve optimal thyroid function.
At Water’s Edge Natural Medicine, we use blood tests to determine if you have thyroid dysfunction, and if that dysfunction is due to an autoimmune condition.
Many patients come to us after being told by other doctors that their thyroid values fall within the normal range. Yet many still suffer with the hallmark symptoms of thyroid dysfunction. Unfortunately, the typical laboratory ranges for "normal" thyroid function used in conventional medicine are very broad, leaving many people with a true thyroid condition undiagnosed.
In naturopathic medicine, we use a much narrower range for "optimal" thyroid function, which is the range at which most patients no longer exhibit symptoms of a thyroid condition. Then we support the thyroid with natural treatments including nutrients and glandular medications to optimize thyroid function. Treatment is specifically tailored to your unique history, symptoms, and lab values.
If you’ve been diagnosed with thyroid disease and are searching for relief, or if you have symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, reach out to us today. We’ve helped hundreds of men and women in San Mateo County regain their health and vitality by optimizing their thyroid function.
326 Bryant Street
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Phone: (650) 240-4868
Fax: (650) 494-4939
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At Water’s Edge Natural Medicine, we are unable to process and rely on insurance claims for payment. Your insurance may pay for some of our services, though, and we will be happy to provide specific necessary codes so that you can file for reimbursement. Learn more.
Please do not submit any Personal Health Information (PHI). Current Patients can reach us via phone at (206) 966-4522