If you are feeling tired, having difficulty losing weight, feeling anxious or having trouble sleeping, it may be your thyroid.
The thyroid gland is like the battery pack of the body. It has many jobs including controlling our metabolic rate, body temperature, energy levels, growth and development. If not enough thyroid hormone is produced by the thyroid gland, our metabolic rate and the systems of the body slow down – this is known as hypothyroidism or an under-active thyroid. At the opposite end of the spectrum, too much thyroid hormone can cause a speeding up of metabolic processes resulting in an overactive thyroid, also known as hyperthyroidism.
As thyroid hormone acts directly on the brain, gastrointestinal system, cardiovascular system, bone metabolism, red blood cell metabolism, gall bladder and liver function, steroid hormone production, glucose metabolism, cholesterol metabolism, protein metabolism and body temperature regulation, any imbalance in thyroid function – producing either too much or too little thyroid hormone – can have significant and widespread effects throughout the entire body. Thyroid conditions are relatively common (more so in women) and are on the rise.
The Australian Thyroid Foundation Ltd is a not for profit organisation where you will find more information regarding thyroid disease https://thyroidfoundation.org.au/
Thyroid conditions are relatively common (more so in women) and are on the rise.
The thyroid gland and autoimmune disease
Did you know that autoimmune thyroid disease is the most common cause of thyroid dysfunction in Australia? Hashimoto’s disease, the most common cause of hypothyroidism, occurs when the cells of the immune system mistakenly attack the thyroid gland, causing inflammation and destruction of the thyroid. This destruction greatly reduces the thyroid’s ability to secrete thyroid hormone and leads to a slowing down of the body’s metabolic processes.
Grave’s disease, frequently associated with hyperthyroidism, is also an autoimmune condition. In this instance, the immune system produces antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland to grow, with the follicles inside producing an excessive amount of thyroid hormone, leading to a speeding up of the metabolic processes in the body. It is important that your doctor requests a full thyroid profile in pathology testing which includes TSH, T3, T4, Reverse T3 and Thyroid Antibodies to get a clear picture of what your thyroid is doing.
What triggers an autoimmune reaction?
Autoimmune conditions are complex but can be triggered or caused by a number of factors including physical and emotional stress, environmental triggers (iodine, medications, infection, smoking), genetics, and digestive problems (increased intestinal permeability) and family history.
What’s the link between gluten, coeliac disease and autoimmune thyroid disease?
Did you know, there is an increased prevalence of coeliac disease (CD) in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease. Coeliacs cannot consume gluten as they have an allergy to it. In susceptible individuals with CD, when they eat gluten-containing foods, an autoimmune response can be triggered in the body. Anyone who is coeliac must avoid gluten but we can now see that those with thyroid disorders feel better when they avoid gluten altogether.
Pharmaceutical medication for the thyroid is also very important to take if it has been prescribed to you.
How can an integrative medicine practitioner help?
An integrative medicine practitioner can provide an individually tailored treatment plan that helps to normalise immune function, reduce inflammation and restore thyroid health through dietary advice, lifestyle advice, and if indicated, herbal and nutritional supplementation. Pharmaceutical medication for the thyroid is also very important to take if it has been prescribed to you. Do not under any circumstances try to treat a thyroid condition without medical help. Frequent pathology testing and the appropriate diet and medicines will help you feel balanced.
Rowena Kissun, Director of Kissun Clinics is an established Integrative Medicine Practitioner, with a thriving medical practice in the Whitsundays and over Telehealth. With a focus on chronic disease management and oncology, she can assist those with concerns including cancer, unexplained fatigue, fertility and autoimmune issues. If you are feeling tired, having difficulty losing weight, or are experiencing anxiety or insomnia, and would like to investigate the causes, you can book here www.kissunclinics.com/appointments/