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Hypothyroidism in Nashville, TN

At New Life Physicians, located in Brentwood, the residents of Nashville, Franklin and the surrounding areas of Tennessee, rely on the experience and expertise of regenerative and restorative medicine specialist Dr. Morgan Moor to treat hypothyroidism.

What is the Thyroid Gland?

The thyroid is a human gland located in the throat that produces thyroid hormones, which help the body utilize energy, regulate body temperature and maintain normal function in the brain, heart, muscles and other organs.

What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a condition caused by an underactive thyroid gland that is not producing enough thyroid hormone to keep the body running optimally, which is another hormone affected by the aging process. People are diagnosed with hypothyroidism when they have too little thyroid hormone in the bloodstream. Common causes are aging, familiar trait, autoimmune disease, surgical removal of the thyroid and radiation treatment. However, environmental and lifestyle factors may also influence the function of the thyroid gland.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

  • Muscle cramps
  • Depressed immune system that can’t recover from infections
  • Slow wound healing
  • Poor sleep patterns
  • Digestive problems due to low stomach acid
  • Hair loss
  • Water retention
  • Lateral third of eyebrow thinning
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain/inability to lose weight
  • Constipation
  • Dry/itchy skin
  • Dry, brittle hair and nails
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Overly sensitive to cold
  • Cold/numb hands and feet
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

Causes of Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism may also be the result of an unhealthy gut, hyperthyroidism treatment, as well as a side effect of other medications, or it may be present in some individuals from birth. The thyroid gland may sometimes become temporarily underactive following pregnancy or illness. Additionally, problems with the pituitary gland can affect the function of the thyroid, causing hypothyroidism. In a large number of cases, hypothyroidism is caused by a condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, in which the body’s own immune system begins to attack and destroy the thyroid.

About Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (also called autoimmune or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis) is the most common form of thyroid disease in the United States. This is a genetic condition affecting over 10 million Americans. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is roughly seven times more common among women than among men.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a condition in which the body’s immune system produces immune cells and auto antibodies that damage thyroid cells and compromise their ability to produce thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism occurs when the amount of thyroid hormone produced is insufficient to meet the body’s needs. In some cases, the thyroid gland may also become enlarged, forming a goiter.

Causes of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is caused by problems in the immune system. 70% of the immune system resides in the gut, causing the one reason for gut imbalances resulting in thyroid disease. The immune system is designed to protect the body against invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances, however, in cases of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the immune system mistakenly recognizes normal thyroid cells as foreign tissue and produces antibodies that may destroy these cells. Although several potentially influential environmental factors have been researched, none has been proven to cause Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Signs & Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

People with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may have routine thyroid labs within normal range for many years and hence, may remain undiagnosed until during a routine examination when an enlarged thyroid gland or abnormal blood test may appear. Once symptoms do develop, they are either due to local pressure in the neck caused by the goiter itself or caused by decreased thyroid hormone levels.

The first sign of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may be a painless enlargement in the lower front of the throat region. This enlargement may produce an uncomfortable sensation of pressure in the lower neck, and the pressure on surrounding tissue may cause additional symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing.

Hypothyroidism Diagnosis

To detect Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a physical examination is required, as well as laboratory tests that measure the amount of thyroid hormone (T3, T4, and free T3, free T4), as well as, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in your bloodstream. The measurement of antibodies in the blood that attack the thyroid (antithyroid antibodies) may also help to diagnose the cause of hypothyroidism. If you suspect you may have this condition, it is imperative that you see a doctor at once.

How is Hypothyroidism Treated?

Hypothyroidism can be controlled and managed is every patient. There are multiple ways to address the issues of the thyroid depending on what is causing the problem.  Dietary changes such as a gluten and dairy free diet as well as supplementing vitamins and minerals that the thyroid needs to work properly can sometimes be all that is needed to improve the function of the thyroid gland.  Replacing the amount of thyroid hormone that your body can no longer produce in order to bring your T4 and TSH back to optimal levels, effectively treats this condition. So even if your thyroid gland isn’t working properly, replenishing T4/T3 can restore your body’s levels of thyroid hormone and normal function. Dr. Moor prefers replacing both T4 and T3 with Naturethroid or Armour.  There are, however, some whom cannot tolerate the added T3 and are placed on compounded T4.  Naturethroid and Armour, made from a decimated pig’s thyroid, contain thyroid hormone that mimics the T4 and T3 produced by the thyroid gland and GI tract. All hypothyroid patients, except those with severe myxedema (life-threatening hypothyroidism), may be treated as outpatients, without the need for a hospital stay.

If you live in Nashville, Franklin or the surrounding areas of Tennessee and are dealing with hypothyroidism, contact New Life Physicians in Brentwood.