They say the best chefs in the world are the ones with cold hands. While that may be true, as a woman if you are consistently having colds hands and feet regardless of the weather, I would say it’s time to look a little deeper into it… specifically, to your thyroid.
Hypothyroidism is a highly common, under diagnosed and under treated condition. Hypothyroidism results when there is decreased function of the thyroid, insufficient production of thyroid hormone or decreased action of thyroid hormone in the body. Hypothyroidism can either be non-autoimmune thyroid disease or it can be autoimmune which is called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In Hashimoto’s the immune system attacks the thyroid gland causing the immune system cells to bombard it with antibodies which inhibit the proper function of the thyroid gland.
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland that is located in the front of your neck. It produces hormones that influence other systems and itself plays a role in many bodily functions. The improper production, under stimulation or poor conversion of these hormones can lead to thyroid disease.
Your thyroid plays a role in:
- regulation of temperature
- cognitive function
- energy levels
- breathing and heart rate
- muscle strength
- menstrual cycle
and so much more
Small as it is, the health of your thyroid is paramount for your quality of life. Thyroid disease in women can lead to so many complications if overlooked or left untreated. The thyroid gland can either under function which is known as Hypothyroidism or become overactive over which is described as Hyperthyroidism.
Use this symptom checklist for hypothyroidism to see if you may have hypothyroidism.
It’s important to take care of your thyroid! One of the reasons women experience such serious symptoms and problems from an under active thyroid is because of the OAT(Ovaries, Adrenals, Thyroid) hormonal Axis. Our thyroid function is intimately connected to our ovary and adrenal function. It’s a three legged stool. If one gland is not working quite right, the other two tend to be disrupted as well.
It’s important to get the full thyroid panel done to be able to really see what’s going with your thyroid. Most doctors will on test for TSH(Thyroid Stimulating hormone), this is not enough. It will only show part of the picture.
The following tests will give a clearer picture of your thyroid health.
- TSH (Thyroid stimulating hormone)-produced by the pituitary gland in the brain, signals Thyroid gland to make Thyroid hormone.
- Free T4 (Thyroxine)– produced in larger amounts than T3 by the Thyroid. Inactive form.
- Free T3 (Triiodothyronine)– Active form also produced by the thyroid. T4 is converted to T3 on throughout the body including the liver.
- Reverse T3– this is the result of T3 being converted into an inactive form which the body stores rather than uses.
- Thyroid Antibodies– will determine whether you have autoimmune or non-autoimmune thyroid disorder.
- Iodine- Iodine is essential for proper thyroid function, a deficiency leads to irregular thyroid function. Excess Iodine can make Hashimoto’s symptoms worse.
Other tests to consider
As mentioned above your ovaries and adrenal glands are also influenced by your thyroid health. Testing for sex hormones and adrenal gland function may give a wholesome picture to your symptoms therefore helping you get the best treatment. In the case of autoimmune hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s) an assessment of gut health would is also advised.