When the thyroid gland receives a signal called the Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH), it releases thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. This signal is sent from the pituitary gland, a small gland found at the base of your brain, when thyroid hormone levels are low.
Occasionally, the thyroid gland doesn’t release thyroid hormones, even when there is plenty of TSH. This is called primary hypothyroidism and the most common type of hypothyroidism.
Approximately 90% of primary hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your thyroid gland, resulting in a lack of thyroid hormones available in the blood stream.
Target cells respond similarly to signals that reach them from the bloodstream (hormones) or from adjacent cells (paracrine factors); the cellular response machinery does not distinguish between sites of origin of hormone signals.
Plants developed hormone signaling methods long before humans came onto the scene, and began mimicking this signaling capability, and is one reason that herbal infusions are so effective in issues originating from hormonal disfunction. The target cells in the body are ready to respond to plant hormones as if they were produced within the body.
Hypothyroidism may not cause noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Over time, untreated hypothyroidism can cause several health problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility, and heart disease.
The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism vary, depending on the severity of the hormone deficiency. Problems tend to develop slowly, often over a number of years. At first, you may barely notice the symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue and weight gain. Or you may simply attribute them to getting older. But as your metabolism continues to slow, you may develop more-obvious problems.
Hypothyroidism signs and symptoms may include:
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness
- Elevated blood cholesterol level
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
- Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
- Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
- Thinning hair
- Slowed heart rate
- Impaired memory
- Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)
Keep in mind that people with the most common form of hypothyroidism have a higher risk of developing other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. If pain, stiffness and swelling don't improve after adequate thyroid treatment, check with your Health Guardian and/or medical team. They may consider other possible causes of your joint pain.
There is no known fix to hypothyroidism, it is known as a chronic illness that people learn to live with a symptom treatment.
Generally, there's no hypothyroidism diet. Foods alone won’t cure hypothyroidism. However, a combination of the right nutrients and medication can help restore thyroid function and minimize your symptoms. Although claims about hypothyroidism diets abound, there's no evidence that eating or avoiding certain foods will improve thyroid function in people with hypothyroidism.
However, adequate dietary iodine is essential for normal thyroid function. In developed countries, thyroid disease from iodine deficiency has been nearly eliminated by iodine additives in salt and food. Eating a balanced diet makes taking supplemental iodine unnecessary. In fact, too much iodine can cause hyperthyroidism in some people.
The standard treatment for hypothyroidism involves daily use of the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine (Levo-T, Synthroid, others). This oral medication restores adequate hormone levels, reversing the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism. You'll likely start to feel better soon after you start treatment.
A second alternative to this treatment is herbal infusions which provide the necessary hormones that stimulate the thyroid gland much like levothyroxine, but with less concentration and control. The process producing synthetic solutions remove much of the risk of contaminates but may remove other helpful components as well.
The third alternative is to consume herbal infusions that not only replace the deficiency of thyroid gland production, but also strengthens the thyroid gland, with the ultimate purpose of not needing any treatment in the future.
This third treatment takes much longer (12-18 months normally), but some feel it’s better than looking at a lifetime sentence of medication that must be increased over time.