Photo: woods wheatcroft photography

Addressing Thyroid Dysfunction

I receive a few questions from time to time from people asking me why their hands and feet are so cold, why their skin is so dry, or why they have such a hard time adjusting to the temperature changes we all experience in North Idaho.  Looking into solutions for these conditions all seem to fall upon disruption in thyroid function.

Our thyroid gland is a magnificent gland responsible for so many bodily functions.  It is part of a triad-the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal system, also called the H-P-A axis. While not mentioned or included as a “T” in the mix, the thyroid gland provides the foundation for many bodily functions orchestrated by the H-P-A axis.

The thyroid secretes two major hormones, T3 and T4.  T4 affects all cells in our body, stimulates enzymes for digestion of glucose (so important for diabetes control), controls our body metabolism and temperature, regulates our oxygen consumption important for metabolism, balances our heat production so we feel comfortable most of the time, contributes to the release of digestive juices, and helps the liver in the production of cholesterol, that necessary ingredient that transports fats around the body.  You remember from earlier articles that healthy fats are crucial for cell membrane structure and function.

T4 also participates in regulating tissue growth.  In today’s experience with myriad toxins to deal with daily, an efficient functioning thyroid is paramount to our health.  If our thyroid is under par, skin, hair, nails, blood pressure, heart rate, and balanced weight management may occur, among other discomforting symptoms.

Low thyroid balance may be part of a problem with depression and a lack of one’s ability to focus.  Digestion may suffer.  If one’s thyroid is overactive, the digestive system may become overactive and that may lead to loss of absorptive ability of vital nutrients, body temperature may rise leading to an intolerance of heat, appetite may increase leading to binges, cravings, weight loss, and loss of good digestion.  Heart problems may begin to surface with the recognition that blood pressure has risen.

If such symptoms are being experienced, it is important to have one’s health care providers undertake the necessary tests to determine thyroid function.  With such knowledge, appropriate steps can begin to rebalance thyroid function so vital to so many physiological systems of our miraculous bodies.

One way to determine metabolic rate prior to blood tests, and an indication of thyroid function, is to take your own temperature as temperature is an indication of thyroid function.  You do this each morning by placing a thermometer under your armpit and waiting for ten minutes. Try to move very little.  Repeat this for three to four days to get a reference.  This temperature will be lower than our expected 98.6, but should range about 97.6 to 98.2.  If body temperature continues to register below 97.2 degrees, consult with your primary care provider and have thyroid function tested.  It is an easy test and you will be able to make notable adjustments with that knowledge.

Knowing the importance of thyroid balance for optimal functioning of our bodies and to also know that tests for function are easy to obtain, if anyone suffers from symptoms, remediation is easy to achieve and optimal health can resume.

Krystle Shapiro, LMT, MSHN recently completed her Masters degree in holistic nutrition.  She owns Touchstone Massage Therapy and Nutrition Plus!  She may be reached at 208/290-6760.

Photo by euthman

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