What is Hypothyroidism and how do i know if i have it?

The medical specialty for treatment of hypothyroidism is endocrinology.  

Image of a basal thermometer

Allopathic treatment usually consists of taking a thyroid hormone in pill form, which will help some and not others. The dosage must be monitored by a good physician, since too little will not result in improvement and too much will cause other undesirable symptoms.  People with heart problems must be particularly careful.

The standard blood test for hypothyroidism has changed it’s range for “normal” over the years.  The normal range was once .5 to 5.0 on the TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) test and now it is .3 to 3.0.  Some doctors or labs may still use the old standard, so ask the question.  It could make a difference in your treatment and outcome.

There are also some other possible problems with “standards.”  You may be told to take iodine or kelp if you test under normal, and while that might work for some, you could get worse if your thyroid iproblem is an autoimmune problem like Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease.  Iodine could cause enlargement of the thyroid so ask about having your urinary iodine measured to be sure you have an actual deficiency and then watch your symptoms carefully if you decide to supplement.

Hashimoto’s disease (hypothyroidism) is more common than Graves’ (hyperthyroidism).  A thyroid that is undergoing autoimmune failure (heading toward Hashimoto’s) can become temporarily overactive, thus causing temporary hyperthyroidism.  If you are diagnosed at this stage, a doctor could recommend radioactive iodine treatment for Grave’s, which will disable the thyroid permanently.

Hypothyroidism is characterized by lowered energy.  It is your “metabolism gland” and must produce enough hormones to supply the hormone receptors in all your cells.

A sign of hypothyroidism is low body temperature but having a low body temperature is not absolute evidence of hypothyroidism.  To measure your basal body temperature,  use a BBT thermometer and as soon as you wake in the mornings, put the thermometer in your armpit next to the skin and leave it for ten minutes.  Do this for three to five days and average the results.  If the average is below 97.6 it suggests possible hypothyroidism. This should not be used alone to determine a diagnosis.