Dr. Michael Cutler, Mar 26, 2012
When your thyroid malfunctions, every cell in your body suffers. And even though at least half of all Americans have thyroid issues, and these problems may be a primary cause of heart disease, most doctors can’t even recognize them.
The Importance Of The Thyroid
The thyroid gland, which surrounds your trachea in your lower neck, determines the metabolic rate of every cell. It influences nutrient delivery into each cell as well as the removal of waste products. If you’re thyroid deficient, no cell can function optimally. Subsequently, there is a long list of symptoms that can be caused by the hypothyroid state (low-functioning thyroid). If the thyroid begins functioning better, other endocrine glands improve their function and become better able to produce their respective hormones, including cortisol and the sex hormones. This is a serious issue: At least 50 percent of all American adults suffer from a thyroid deficiency.
Want to know why the diagnosis of low-thyroid state is so commonly missed? Well, in part, there is such a huge diversity of related symptoms that only a very few physicians trained in this area can recognize the condition. I didn’t comprehend these thyroid problems for many years until a formerly retired cardiovascular surgeon recently brought me up to speed. He came out of retirement because he felt there was an important need to help patients improve by using hormone restoration and nutrition.
Another reason orthodox medicine doesn’t do an adequate job of treating the thyroid is its over-reliance on thyroid blood tests. Doctors mistakenly believe these tests are required to make a diagnosis. The tests (T4, T3, and TSH levels) are notoriously unreliable for detecting hypothyroidism at the subtle level that contributes to illness. They do not always indicate what is going on in the relationship between thyroid hormone and the cells of body.
A hypothyroid diagnosis is best made from observing a low basal body temperature and symptoms of hypothyroidism. Ideally, these indications are supported by urine testing that demonstrates the urine thyroid hormone level remains low over a 24-hour period.
To do the basal body temperature test, simply use a thermometer to check your axillary (armpit) temperature while lying in bed for 10 minutes before you get up in the morning. Take at least three morning readings. For women, the best times are days 2, 3 and 4 of menstrual flow if you are menstruating. If your temperature is consistently below the range of 97.8 – 98.2 °F, then it is nearly certain you are thyroid deficient.
Low Thyroid Symptoms
To analyze your symptoms, take this symptom quiz. Do you experience:
Sensitivity to cold. Hands and feet often cold. High blood cholesterol. Stiff or painful joints; rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. Puffy face or swollen eyelids in the morning. Tendency toward rapid weight gain. Trouble getting up in the morning or anxiety or depression upon waking. Feeling tired in daytime when sitting or at rest. Headaches. Frequent colds, sore throats, earaches or other infections. Memory impairment or difficulty with concentration. Nervousness, depression or bipolar symptoms. Dry, brittle, thick or slow-growing hair or nails; excessive hair loss. Dry skin; thick skin Acne, eczema, psoriasis. Constipation, abdominal bloating or colitis. Menstrual disorders (excessive bleeding or painful menses). Endometriosis, infertility, miscarriages. Night time muscle cramps; burning or tingling. Hypoglycemia. Most often, only a few of these symptoms are found when thyroid deficiency is mild.
The great pioneers of natural therapy medicine since the mid-1900s have been routinely reversing many chronic illnesses by treating the thyroid — an approach that has been almost entirely ignored by orthodox medicine. And many of these experts estimate that thyroid deficiency is the No. 1 underlying cause of heart disease.
Natural-health experts have found that thyroid supplementation is an easy way to control blood pressure and normalize high cholesterol.
I will elaborate on the important relationship of the thyroid to the heart in my article next week on thyroid hormone. I’ll also tell you more about foods to eat for optimal thyroid health, choosing the proper dose of thyroid hormone and which brands to use.