Thyroid dysfunction is an insidious scourge afflicting millions—millions who have no idea that there is answer, that they can feel better, that they’re not simply getting old. If you suspect that you may be suffering from a thyroid problem, Dr. Maryann Prewitt wants you to know that you are not alone. With proper diagnosis and treatment, you can get back to living your best life.
The vast majority of people today are suffering nutritional deficiencies and hormonal or metabolic disorders that affect all aspects of health and wellness. Nearly 2/3 of Americans are overweight and 1/2 are obese. I know that for many of these patients who are struggling with their weight, an undiagnosed thyroid problem is likely to blame. Thyroid dysfunction is an insidious scourge afflicting millions—millions who have no idea that there is answer, that they can feel better, that they’re not simply getting old.
Why is Thyroid health so important?
Most of us do not appreciate the degree to which our overall body function is dependent on our thyroid. The hormones produced by the thyroid gland create power for every cell in your body. Your thyroid is the key that turns each and every cell on and determines the speed at which the cell’s DNA can do what it’s genetically programmed to do. Although the thyroid’s primary role is the secretion of thyroid hormone and the regulation of weight, thyroid hormone affects every cell in your body: it turns your food into energy.
Without precisely the right amount of thyroid hormone, your organs cannot perform at optimal levels and your cells cannot produce properly.But, that’s not all. The thyroid gland is critical for the production of sex hormones, as well. So, if your thyroid is out of whack, your testosterone and estrogen levels will follow suit. Once you’ve gone down this slippery slope, your quality of life has long been on the decline.
Thyroid dysfunction is among the most under-diagnosed conditions today. And it is no coincidence that this clinical trend is manifested in the dramatic nationwide increase in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, and low-T. What’s worse, as we age, our thyroid function begins to decline—this decline, sometimes referred to as thyropause, can begin at any age, and often occurs in patients as young as their twenties. I have learned that is never too early to check your thyroid and recommend that my patients repeat these tests annually.
Symptoms of Thyroid Deficiency
When your thyroid is not functioning properly, a number of conditions can develop—and each of them negatively impacts your quality of life. In America alone, 30-40% of people are hypothyroid; that’s 52 million people. People suffering from hypothyroidism have an underactive thyroid as do people with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease affecting the thyroid. By contrast, an overactive thyroid results in hyperthyroidism. Millions of Americans are afflicted with thyroid disease and only a small fraction is even aware. You can’t treat the unknown. That’s why a proper diagnosis is key.
Over 200 symptoms are related to thyroid deficiency. Here are some of the most common:
- Low energy
- Poor sense of well-being
- Changes in memory and cognition
- Loss of mental clarity
- Feeling cold
- Thin hair and nails
- Weight gain or loss
- Adverse effect on mood
Now this is only a partial list of symptoms and many of these are also characteristics of other conditions—that’s why it is essential that your physician order the proper labs.
Dr. Prewitt’s Last Word
I want my patients to feel as good as I do. When my thyroid patients first come to see me, they remind of Dorothy from the original black-and-white Wizard of Oz.