Thyroid Health and Underactive Thyroid

One of my areas of special interest is Hypothyroidism or Underactive Thyroid. Hypothyroidism is a common condition in Ireland effecting 1 in 5 women.

The Thyroid is a master gland involved in regulation of your metabolism which is how we break down food and make energy for every cell in the body. It also regulates how quickly or slowly we burn and use calories.

If you have had your bloods checked at the doctors you may have seen reference to TSH and T4.

Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is created by the pituitary gland and tells the thyroid to make thyroxine. Thyroxine, or T4, is an inactive thyroid hormone that must be converted before it has an effect on the body. T4 can be converted to triiodothyronine (T3), the active hormone that regulates your metabolism.

It is a very under rated gland but has a very powerful effect on the body.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Tiredness that can lead to extreme fatigue
  • Poor circulation in hands and feet
  • Weight gain without changes in eating habits
  • Constipation
  • Thinning hair
  • Brain fog and poor memory
  • Dry skin
  • Mentally sluggish

Causes of an underactive thyroid include an immune response where the body attacks the gland, this is known as Hasimotos Thyroiditis. Infections and stress are other big causes.

There can be a strong family link with Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid and I often see ladies with sisters and mother with the condition.

The good news is there is a lot you can do to improve all those signs and  symptoms listed above. Full testing of the hormones is recommended.

Diet does play its part alongside conventional medicine to ensure the conversion of T4 to T3 takes place.

Its common for me to see ladies on thyroid medication and still feel tired and sluggish but diet, sleep and managing stress levels are important factors to consider when managing your condition.