If you are like so many you may have underactive thyroid symptoms, that are common in today’s toxic world. Here are some of the symptoms of underactive thyroid function for so many of us. Keep in mind if you are taking thyroid medication and still feel some or all of these symptoms you should find yourself a functional medicine Doctor that will medicate you properly.
Underactive Thyroid Symptoms
- Hair Loss
- Weight Gain
- Memory Loss
- Muscle/Joint pain/stiffness
- Lack of Focus
- Brittle Nails
- Swelling of hands, feet, ankles, face/neck areas
- High Cholesterol
- Sleep disturbances/Lack of Sleep
- Low sex drive
- Let’s not forget about the cold hands and feet! (this was a huge symptom for me)
What should you do if you have any of these symptoms?
If I were you I would ask your Dr. to run some testing to get some baselines of where your thyroid is functioning.
These are tests I have frequently run with my functional medicine Dr. It is really important to have a practitioner that partners with you and listens to what you are trying to tell them. It is your body and you know what is going on they need to listen and partner with you to get you the support you may need.
I can not stress this enough.
- TSH- (measures the Pituitary gland)
- FREE t4 (what your body makes to support your thryoid)
- Free T3 (your liver converts the t4 to t3 (this is what gives you the boost, the energy)
- Reverse T3 (this is a great test because if elevated shows something is out of whack in conversion of T4 to T3, )
- CMP- (this will measure your liver function etc.. and some other baselines you should have)
- Ferritin (storage for iron)
- Full Iron Panel
- Thyroid Antibody Testing- anti-ThyroglobulinTgAb, TSI (Graves Disease), Anti-TPO (Hashimotos)
The TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, Ferritin and Full Iron Panel should all be run on the same draw. You should not take any thyroid medication the morning of your test or any supplements for approximately 5 days prior to testing. This could falsely elevate where your levels are for thyroid and Iron and other baselines.
So many Practitioners will only test TSH for your thyroid levels and if your TSH is within range they will say your thyroid is fine and may even say your symptoms are in your head. My practitioner told me to stop eating, and to watch what I ate. I was never a junk food eater and always watched what I ate. They also kept me on low dose of Synthroid medication which is a T4 only medication.
Why is T4 only medication not always best option?
Well, think about it T4 is what your body makes on it’s own. Although, some of us aren’t producing enough of T4 either.
However, pushing T4 only will only help you if your body is converting the T4 to T3. This is not always the case.
Sometimes it looks as though you are coverting but you are really pooling T3. What do I mean by this? Something is going on where your body is not getting the T3 to the cells.
What do you do if your body is pooling T3?
If you are pooling T3 you will want to look at your adrenals and iron levels in your bloodwork. You will have to do some work on both of them or maybe one of them to get the T3 going to the cell.
How do you read your bloodwork?
- TSH– Your TSH levels should be at least under 1 (based on thryoid patients symptoms)
- Free T4– Your Free T4 should be in the mid range of your lab ranges
- Free T3– Your Free T3 should be at the top 25 percent of the listed ranges.
- Reverse T3– Optimally Reverse T3 should be under 15
So looking at optimal ranges above let me explain a few different scenarios.
- Let’s say you look at Your Free T4 and it’s in mid range or it’s on the high end of range but your Free T3 is on lower end. This usually a sign that you are not converting T4 to T3. So you should check your iron results and/or do a saliva cortisol test to check your adrenals.
- Your Free T3 is elevated but your Free T4 is not in mid-range. This usually happens when the T3 is pooling and not going to cell so your body can utilize it for energy/metabolism etc. Again, you will want to check your adrenals and iron levels.
- Your Reverse T3 is at or above 15- this is defintely a sign that there is adrenal or iron issues. You will have one of scenarios going on above.
- Let’s say that both your Free T4 and Free T3 are low. You are more than likely definitely in need of thyroid meds. You will need to work with your practioner.
This is just a bit on getting a little knowledge based on other hypothyroid patients. There is a lot more to share but this is a little something to get you started without overwhelming you.
Very informatative! I love that you listed exactly what should be tested and broke down everything into simply terms. Thank you Francine!
Great job Francine. I always get confused regarding the thyroid stuff. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Thank you.. Good luck, looking forward to hearing how things go..
It is funny, I have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, but really haven’t experienced a ton of symptoms. My thyroid tests low, but I feel fine. I do try to make sure I get enough of the things listed here into my diet. One of the best things that I do is ensure that I am fully hydrated. It is when I get dehydrated that I notice more colds, etc.