Hypothyroidism Diagnosis

hypothyroidism diagnosisA proper hypothyroidism diagnosis is often missed among those who are already experiencing many of the symptoms of hypothyroid problems.

A typical general practitioner or family physician will test your thyroid function by checking the TSH and T4 levels through a blood test. If your doctor runs the blood tests and the results show “normal” but you are having many of the signs and symptoms above, you will need to find a doctor who does the complete thyroid testing.

Complete thyroid testing includes free T4, total T3, free T3, reverse T3, TPO, thyroglobulin antibodies, salivary cortisol and DHEA-S, along with TSH and T4. These tests will show a more precise hypothyroidism diagnosis. It will also help identify if adrenal dysfunction is an underlying cause of the thyroid problem. This may surprise some of you, but even many endocrinologists may misdiagnose hypothyroidism.

Simply Getting Diagnosed with Hypothyroidism Is Not Enough

A hypothyroidism diagnosis is incomplete when the underlying cause of the thyroid problem is not identified. When you don’t identify the root cause, how will you resolve the thyroid problem? In that case, you can only get treatment for symptoms. The typical “treatment” is thyroid medication to address low thyroid.

You will end up with managing the symptoms either with a doctor or on your own. For low energy/chronic fatigue, you’ll be seeking energy-enhancers and/or you’ll adapt a lifestyle to accommodate lots of rest and sleep. For depression, you might get an anti-depressant. For many, it will be years and years (and perhaps, for the rest-of-your-life) of taking stuff or doing stuff to cope with it.

Those given the thyroid medication, levothyroxin (synthroid), often experience the following problem:

Synthroid contains only one of the necessary thyroid hormones (T4). Your problem may be your body isn’t converting the less-active thyroid hormone, T4, to the more active thyroid hormone, T3. Synthroid will not help that process so eventually you’ll be given higher and higher doses because the conversion is the problem.

The conversion is helped by a form of selenium. There are other necessary complementary nutrients that also help this conversion.

Taking this medication is like planting a plant that requires direct sunlight in a shady area. Though you water it and fertilize it (and even talk to it), it will not look healthy and vibrant.

In my experience, the most common root causes of hypothyroidism are adrenal dysfunction and gut problems.

For some, the adrenal glands may be the primary problem, not the thyroid. If they are imbalanced, your body can start making antibodies against the thyroid, and then the thyroid symptoms and lab tests start to show a problem. The antibody markers often not checked are antithyroglobulin antibodies and thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO). Since many doctors don’t check adrenal problems until the symptoms and signs are very severe, adrenal problems are often missed.

In my clinic, the hypothyroid patients I’ve diagnosed and treated for adrenal dysfunction, have had their thyroid problems improve.

For others, the gut is the source of the problem. If your gut is not absorbing the nutrients to make the thyroid hormones, you’ll have an on-going low thyroid level. Many hormone imbalances are actually a result of the bad state of the gut.

To read more about these two common sources of low thyroid in this blog post: The Thyroid, Adrenal, Gut Connection   For more information on hypothyroidism, visit our Hypothyroidism page.

The bottom line is the key to a proper hypothyroidism diagnosis is a complete blood test and determining the origin of the thyroid problem.