Monday, June 05, 2006

symptom thyroid : Hypothyroidism Reaching Epidemic Proportions

In 1995, researchers studied 25,862 participants at the Colorado statewide health fair. They discovered that among patients not taking thyroid medication, 8.9 percent were hypothyroid (under-active thyroid) and 1.1 percent were hyperthyroid (over-active thyroid). This indicates 9.9 percent of the population had a thyroid problem that had most likely gone unrecognized. These figures suggest that nationally, there may be as many as 13 million Americans with an undiagnosed thyroid problem.1

In her book Living Well With Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You. . . That You Need to Know, Mary Shomon quotes endocrinologist Kenneth Blanchard, M.D., of Lower Newton Falls, Massachusetts as saying, “The key thing is . . . doctors are always told that TSH is the test that gives us a yes or no answer. And, in fact, I think that's fundamentally wrong. The pituitary TSH is controlled not just by how much T4 and T3 is in circulation, but T4 is getting converted to T3 at the pituitary level. Excess T3 generated at the pituitary level can falsely suppress TSH.”2 Hence, many people who are simply tested for TSH levels and are found to be within “normal” range are, in fact, suffering from thyroid problems that are going undetected.

Ridha Arem, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Baylor College of Medicine, agrees. He says that hypothyroidism may exist despite "normal range" TSH levels. In his book The Thyroid Solution he says:

Many people may be suffering from minute imbalances that have not yet resulted in abnormal blood tests. If we included people with low-grade hypothyroidism whose blood tests are normal, the frequency of hypothyroidism would no doubt exceed 10 percent of the population. What is of special concern, though, is that many people whose test results are dismissed as normal could continue to have symptoms of an under active thyroid. Their moods, emotions, and overall well-being are affected by this imbalance, yet they are not receiving the care they need to get to the root of their problems. Even if the TSH level is in the lower segment of normal range, a person may still be suffering from low-grade hypothyroidism.3

Thus, if we were to include those who may be suffering from “low-grade hypothyroidism,” the number could well be double the 13 million estimate from the Colorado study.

What is Causing This Epidemic?

While more research needs to be done, it is generally accepted that diet plays a major role in thyroid health. For decades we have known that low iodine intake leads to low thyroid function and eventually to goiter. Iodized salt was intended to solve this problem, but it has not been the answer. There are a number of foods known as goitrogens that block iodine. Two goitrogens are quite prevalent in the American diet—peanuts and peanut butter and soybeans used most often in prepared foods as textured vegetable protein (a refined soy food) and soybean oil.

The rise of industrialization, corporate farming, and mass production of food has drastically changed our food supply from what our ancestors ate. Many studies show the detrimental effects of refined sugars and grains on our health. These foods are very taxing on the thyroid gland, and we consume them in large quantities.

Environmental stress such as chemical pollutants, pesticides, mercury, and fluoride are also tough on the thyroid. A growing body of evidence suggests that fluoride, which is prevalent in toothpaste and water treatment, may inhibit the functioning of the thyroid gland. Additionally, mercury may diminish thyroid function because it displaces the trace mineral selenium, and selenium is involved in conversion of thyroid hormones T4 to T3.

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Comments:
This is a great piece of information. Thanks for putting it out there!

http://thyroid--health.blogspot.com
 
I was very sick with my thyroid problem for many years. I heard a doctor on the radio and bought his supplement. I have been taking desiccated porcine thyroid capsules for almost four months and I feel better than 10 years ago!
 
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