"Normal" Labs and Thyroid Symptoms: Here's What To Do
Did you know roughly 20 million Americans have a thyroid-related illness with up to 60% completely unaware and undiagnosed?
This seemingly small but extraordinarily vital gland stores and manufactures hormones which influence nearly every organ of our body. The thyroid is responsible for "regulation of the body's metabolic rate, heart and digestive function, muscle control, brain development, and bone and mood maintenance", to name a few. Likewise, an impaired thyroid can manifest a range of symptoms. The classic symptoms of an underactive thyroid can include:
fatigue, regardless of hours slept
frequent morning headaches
cold extremities, poor circulation
slow wound healing
chronic digestive problems
itchy and/or dry skin
dry, brittle hair
lower than average body temperature
The reason so many with thyroid related illnesses go undiagnosed is due to a mix of: inadequate blood work on the thyroid, a strict reliance on conventional lab reference ranges, and/or a failure to recognize the associated signs and symptoms. Unfortunately a lag can exist between research and understanding before clinical based discoveries go mainstream! But one, often overlooked, key indicator of thyroid functioning: temperature. As we already briefly reviewed, a chief responsibility of thyroid is to maintain the body's metabolic rate (AKA body temperature). Monitoring the body's temperature, therefore, is a good way to check-up on thyroid functioning. By no means is this a definitive diagnosis but it certainly offers some clues! The best way to measure your basal body temperature first thing upon rising in the morning, preferably before getting out of bed as movement, eating, or drinking can influence the temperature reading. As for the type of thermometer you should use, a good old fashioned mercury thermometer is preferred by many, or as an alternative, a digital thermometer that displays two decimal points (be sure to calibrate the digital thermometer often for accuracy). Regardless of the thermometer chosen, you can take readings from (1) under the tongue - orally, or (2) under the armpit. Whichever you decide, stay consistent with your method. For the mercury thermometer, you will need to keep the thermometer under your tongue for a minimum five minutes for accuracy. Record your temperature reading and repeat for a minimum of three consecutive days (the longer the better) for a basic picture of thyroid functioning. If the average basal body temperature falls below 97.7F it serves as a good indication of an underactive thyroid and is advisable to continue investigation of the thyroid utilizing routine blood work and functional blood chemistry.
Comprehensive thyroid blood work should include:
Total Thryroxine (TT4)
Free Thyroxine Index (FTI)
Resin T3 Uptake
Free Triiodothyroxine (FT3)
Reverse T3 (rT3)
Thyroid Binding Globulin (TBG)
Acuheart specializes in functional blood chemistry and can assist in interpreting thyroid lab results.
1.Kharrazian, Datis, Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal. Carlsbad: Elephant Press, 2010. Print.