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by: Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
Thyroid disease is complex and can be caused by many different factors. If you suspect some of the symptoms you’re experiencing could be related to thyroid disease, this page will explain the different types of thyroid disease and what you can do to reclaim your health naturally.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of the throat. It is responsible for regulating metabolism and energy levels and controls how sensitive the body is to hormonal fluctuations.
Thyroid disease is any type of disorder responsible for affecting the natural flow of thyroid hormones. There are four main types of thyroid disease.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these types in detail:
This is the most common form of thyroid disorder. In hypothyroidism, the body does not make enough of the thyroid hormone. The most common form of hypothyroidism is HASHIMOTO’S THYROIDITIS, whereby the immune system sees the thyroid as a foreign invader and attacks it. Over time, the damage done to the thyroid can cause it to enlarge, resulting in a goiter. Iodine deficiency can also cause hypothyroidism, but it is less common today due to iodine being added to some food products.
In a patient with hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland is hyperactive, making more of the thyroid hormone than is necessary. There are several causes of this thyroid disease. For young women, the most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Grave’s disease. This occurs when the body’s immune system tricks the thyroid into producing far too much of the thyroid hormone.
In older women and men, the common contributor to hyperthyroidism is a goiter or nodule on the thyroid gland. A goiter or nodule on the thyroid can trigger the thyroid into an over-production of the thyroid hormone. In some cases, hyperthyroidism will lead to hypothyroidism or under-active thyroid due to exhaustion of the thyroid gland.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
Thyroid inflammation can occur after a woman gives birth. This is usually caused by fluctuating hormone levels and usually resolves itself on its own. Postpartum thyroiditis could lead to hypothyroidism in rare cases.
Thyroid cancer is three times more common in women than it is in men. There are several different types of thyroid cancer. These include anaplastic thyroid cancer, papillary thyroid cancer, follicular thyroid cancer, medullary thyroid cancer and thyroid lymphoma.
Symptoms of thyroid cancer may include:
Only an examination of the thyroid gland by a physician, along
with a thyroid ultrasound and, if needed, a nuclear medicine scan and biopsy, can rule out thyroid cancer.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition whereby the body cannot digest the protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and some oats. It causes chronic gastrointestinal discomfort, brain fog, muscle aches, learning difficulties, and chronic rash. Celiac disease has also been shown to increase the risk of developing papillary thyroid cancer. Oftentimes, celiac disease can trigger thyroid disease due to the immune system attacking the thyroid.
Chronic radiation exposure can lead to thyroid disease. This exposure can occur in the military or other place of employment.
According to studies, almost half of the patients treated with lithium for bipolar disorder have developed clinical hypothyroidism.
People with parents and siblings with thyroid disease are often more predisposed to the condition.
Sufferers of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome often have thyroid irregularities. The diseases have many similar symptoms and often make accurate diagnosis difficult. Also, in both CFS and fibromyalgia, the adrenal glands are often exhausted. This can cause a chronic hormonal imbalance that may lead to thyroid disease. It’s kind of like a vicious cycle or a domino effect. The symptoms tell both doctor and patient that something is going wrong in the body, but the cause can be difficult to pin down.
Adrenal diseases such as adrenal fatigue, Addison’s disease, and Cushing’s syndrome can also increase the risk of thyroid disorder.
Type I autoimmune diabetes can also lead to the development of thyroid disease. Virtually any disorder of the immune, endocrine or metabolic system can lead to thyroid imbalance.
Diagnosing thyroid disease can be misleading as many physicians only order a thyroid stimulating test (TSH) to screen for hypothyroidism. This test will often miss hypothyroidism, as it does not
directly measure the output of free T3 and free T4 from your thyroid gland. In order to receive a complete and accurate thyroid function diagnosis, I recommend the
Complete Thyroid Panel + Thyroid Antibodies from Direct Labs.
This panel of tests will not only tell you whether you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, but Hashimoto’s thyroiditis as well. Just take the test order slip to any LabCorp location to get your blood drawn and LabCorp will send it away for you. You’ll get your results in as little as 5 business days!
When treating thyroid disease, it’s important to understand how to get the body back in balance. The healthier you are, the more your body has a chance to heal itself. For my patients with thyroid problems, I recommend some dietary changes and nutritional supplements.
Junk food is terrible for your overall health and it’s even worse if you’re suffering from any type of autoimmune or metabolic condition. Eating a whole-food diet filled with lean protein, organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, lentils, dairy, and healthy fat will go a long way in giving your body the nutrition it needs to heal.
Also, since Celiac disease and thyroid disease are closely related, it’s very important to rule out this autoimmune food intolerance as it could be causing your thyroid problems.
For my patients, I recommend the Alcat Comprehensive Wellness 1-Kit. It tells you exactly which foods and chemicals you might be sensitive to, and how severely. Just take it to the nearest LabCorp office along with your thyroid panel and you should receive your results in 7-10 business days!
No matter how healthy your diet, you may still not be getting enough of the nutrients your body needs to function at its best.
Here’s what I recommend for my patients:
Diamond Nutritionals’ Foundation Vitamins
Diamond Nutritionals’ Thyroid Support Formula
Thyroid Support Formula nourishes your thyroid gland to help it function at its best. This product is recommended for patients with hypothyroidism or those with normal thyroid levels wishing to maintain healthy thyroid function. It should not be used if treating Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or hyperthyroidism.
Please note: If my patients require thyroid replacement medication for hypothyroidism/Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, I use only natural thyroid replacement such as Armour Thyroid, Nature-Throid, Erfa or compounded thyroid. Synthroid (levothyroxine) contains only part of what your body needs: T4. The natural products contain both T4 and T3. Your thyroid gland makes both, and it is important to have them both in balance, which only the natural products are able to provide.
The ingredients in Thyroid Support Formula include:
With a combination of poor diet, poor soil quality, and poor digestion, millions suffer from the harmful effects of at least 1 or 2 nutritional deficiencies. Magnesium is a common mineral deficiency and can contribute to hypothyroidism. Magnesium is responsible for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body.
For my thyroid patients, I recommend adding a chelated magnesium supplement because it is more bioavailable to the body and therefore more easily absorbed. Each dose of Diamond Nutritionals’ Chelated Magnesium formula infuses your body with 59% of your total daily value of magnesium!
Diamond Nutritionals’ Adrenal Support Formula
Since adrenal fatigue and thyroid disease commonly go hand-in-hand, I also recommend supporting your adrenals with Diamond Nutritionals’ Adrenal Support Formula. This unique blend of ingredients is designed to heal your exhausted body from the inside out.
These ingredients include:
Vitamin A, C, and E – Provides antioxidant support