In his 2005 book Hypothyroidism Type 2, Mark Starr, MD, argues that there is an epidemic of people in America with undiagnosed hypothyroidism. He calls this condition Type 2 Hypothyroidism because, similar to Type 2 Diabetes in which insulin levels can be normal or even high, the problem is not with insufficient thyroid hormone levels in the blood. The problem is that something is preventing the hormones from getting inside the cells of the body where they are needed.
Because blood levels of the thyroid hormones – T4, T3 and TSH – can be normal, lab tests fail to diagnose the condition. Decades ago when hypothyroidism was diagnosed based on symptoms, basal body temperature, and a trial of desiccated thyroid pills, the success rate was much higher. Now it is frequently misdiagnosed and too often ignored.
Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
• fatigue, lethargy, brain fog
• weight gain
• thickened skin appearing “puffy” (myxedema)
• dry skin, eyes & mucous membranes
• dry brittle hair, hair loss
• inability to perspire with exercise
• feeling unusually cold
• chronic muscle pain, headaches
• menstrual irregularities
• frequent colds & other infections
• anxiety, depression
These symptoms gradually increase over the years if untreated. Starr also lists more serious conditions for which hypothyroidism, including Type 2, is a known risk factor: heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and dementia (including Alzheimer’s). Starr writes
“Proper recognition and treatment of hypothyroidism would prevent much of our illness and suffering. Millions of lives can be changed for the better and astronomical medical expenses spared…”See my column #126 from August 2011 for an explanation of thyroid function and tips for improving thyroid health. More on effective thyroid treatments in a future column.
Townsend Letter Dec 2008 Hypothyroidism Type 2
Breakthroughs in Health & Medicine June 2016 Hypothyroidism
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.