Perhaps you’re already aware that there is a connection between thyroid and weight gain. Did you also know that it has been estimated that thousands of people in our country suffer from the signs and symptoms of an under-active thyroid, who have not been diagnosed by their doctors. If you may be one of them, the obvious question you may have is, why has your doctor not diagnosed your condition? The answer may lie in the inexact nature of the blood test most commonly used to make the diagnosis. In 2003, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists formulated new guidelines for the interpretation of the thyroid blood test called TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). They stated that what was accepted as the “normal” range for the test was too broad, leaving many people undiagnosed by their doctors, because many people who needed thyroid were falling within the normal range. They suggested that the normal range be changed, and thus doctors would then make the diagnosis as their patients would then have an “abnormal” test. Despite the fact that this was suggested in 2003, the change was never implemented and doctors who are not aware of the newer interpretation of this test are leaving some of their patients undiagnosed and therefore untreated.
Thyroid and Weight Gain Symptoms Are Common, But There Are Many Others
There are a number of signs and symptoms that people need to be aware of so that the problem can be brought to the attention of their doctors. If the doctor is unresponsive to these concerns, the patient may best be served by seeing a doctor who is aware that many people testing “normal” via the TSH test, will indeed benefit from thyroid treatment. The following paints a picture of what many people may notice about themselves that might cause them to have this looked into. If a person’s thyroid has become under-active, which is a very common condition, especially in women over the age of forty, they are fatigued. Given an under-active thyroid and weight gain without any change in diet could occur. These folks will also complain that they cannot lose weight, even when they properly adhere to a weight loss plan. There are other physical signs to be aware of. Along with the feeling of general fatigue a person may feel a sense of weakness. Dry skin and a tendency to bruise more easily may be noticed. Constipation is an important sign. A person may complain of feeling cold, more than others in their company in the same environment. Facial appearance may change with a puffiness of the face and eyes. Hair loss occurs, and may be noted at places other than just the scalp, such as on the arms, legs and the underarms. A classic sign is loss of the outer 1/3 of the eyebrows. Hair and nails become dry and brittle.
Other than the common thyroid and weight gain and the others previously mentioned, depression may accompany hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid). As a resident in Internal Medicine in the 1980′s, I remember our chief of staff, an elderly doctor nearing retirement at the time, speak about how, in the days before blood tests were available to diagnose and under-active thyroid, doctors had to use their knowledge of the signs and symptoms of the problem to properly make the diagnosis. He described visits to hospital wards where severe depressed patients were kept. He observed cases in which depression resolved when the person’s hypothyroidism was diagnosed and treated, and the person was able to leave the psychiatric ward and return home.
The effect on the body of thyroid hormone involves so many functions that there are many other symptoms as well as those mentioned above. Menstrual problems such as irregular periods, PMS, and infertility may occur. Is your cholesterol elevated? This too may be a sign of an under-active thyroid. Before committing to long term use of medication to control cholesterol, if a person recognizes the signs of an under-active thyroid, and they are treated with thyroid, the cholesterol level will come down.
Summary: There are many more symptoms than just the common thyroid and weight gain connection.
In summary, it is important that the under-diagnosis of an under-active thyroid be understood and acted upon. Since thyroid hormones play a part in overall body metabolism, clearly seen in thyroid and weight gain complications and such varied functions, there are a wide array of clues that this is a disorder that needs to be considered by their doctors. Furthermore, for a person to be properly empowered so that they may act upon this knowledge, it should be recognized that many doctors simply do not treat as per the ides in this article, relying solely on the TSH number and whether the person’s test falls within the “normal” range. If it does, the person is simply told that their thyroid is fine. In that case, if the patient recognizes any number of the myriad of signs and symptoms above, they may need to find a physician who recognizes these developments in the diagnosis and treatment of hypothyroidism and thus may offer treatment that the first doctor did not, including thyroid and weight gain.
From the office of Drew Berman, contributed by Dr. Henry Sobo. Dr. Sobo is medical doctor practicing Holistic/Nutiritional Medicine in Stamford, CT. More information is available at www.drsobo.com. Understand that not all weight management programs are alike. Dr. Sobo recommends a specific, all-natural approach that you can learn more about here. For further details contact Dr. Sobo’s office at 203-348-8805.
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Do not hesitate to call Dr. Sobo if you feel that you might need to talk to someone about any of the aforementioned symptoms, including thyroid and weight gain complications.