Thyroid Disease often Undiagnosed
January 02, 2008
More than one in ten Americans may suffer from thyroid disease. And despite the long-term health risks associated with the condition, most of those cases go undiagnosed. Results of the study were presented at the annual meeting of the American Thyroid Association held last week in Colorado Springs.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located under the Adam's apple at the front of the neck which helps regulate metabolism and organ function. Over- or under-production of thyroid hormones can lead to hyper- or hypothyroidism, respectively. Weakness, fatigue, and anxiety are some early signs of thyroid dysfunction. Left untreated, thyroid disease can contribute to cardiovascular disease and interfere with the proper function of major organs.
The Colorado scientists also discovered a strong relationship "between an underactive thyroid and high cholesterol (levels). Those with hypothyroidism displayed higher levels of total cholesterol and LDL 'bad' cholesterol, compared with patients with normal thyroid activity.
COMMENT: This study is particularly relevant for me since at the age of 43 I was just diagnosed with hypothyroidism. In my case I believe it was related to an iodine deficiency. I also believe that the incidence of thyroid disease is far higher than the 10% quoted above. The diagnosis in the above study was done on TSH levels. Serial temperature measurements are a far more accurate indication of hypothyroidism. For every patient with an elevated TSH level who is hypothyroid I must treat four others whose TSH is normal, but whose temperature and clinical symptoms are consistent with decreased thyroid function. One does not always need to be placed on thyroid hormones either. Supplements like iodine and Thryostim from Biotics seem to work quite effectively for moderately underactive thyroids. If that does not work than the natural hormone (Armour Thyroid) is much better for most people than the synthetic brand (Synthroid).