Thyroid Doctor Overland Park, KS
What Is The Thyroid?
The thyroid itself is an organ in your body. It is butterfly shaped and is located in the base of the neck, kind of right below the Adam’s apple. It is about two-inches long and the two lobes lie on either side of your windpipe. This gland is the epicenter for your hormone health because it is responsible for the production and regulation of hormones. You know the saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?” Well, it’s kind of like that with your thyroid health too. We have literally seen hundreds of men and women alike, come through our practice with health issues caused by poor thyroid health, but what is even more shocking is that most of these people were told by their doctors that their thyroid was fine. This left them confused and stuck since they were still feeling so poorly.
What Does Thyroid Function Affect?
The extent to which thyroid function affects your health is a whole book, but here’s the short-list to help you orient to the big effets of that little gland.
- Weight loss/gain
- Heart rate
- Body temperature
- Menstrual cycles
- Cholesterol levels
- Energy levels
- Muscle strength
- Bone health
- and so much more…
The thyroid is part of the endocrine system, and kind of like the motherboard. It releases hormones that control a whole bunch of different processes in the body. Thyroid function is complex, is a multi-step system, and every step needs to be considered.
What Are Autoimmune Thyroid Conditions?
An increasingly common cause of thyroid disorder is autoimmune reactivity- Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease. It is estimated that 10 million people have autoimmune thyroid conditions with seven times more of those being women than men. In these conditions the complex chemical messaging system between the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, and all other associated hormones malfunctions when the immune system produces antibodies that cause the body to misread the signals and damage its own tissue.
How Do They Develop?
Autoimmune diseases of the thyroid are on the rise and what triggers autoimmune disorders is complex and multifaceted. Known contributing factors include: genetic susceptibilities, stress, viruses, medications, pesticides, nutritional deficiencies, food chemicals, heavy metal exposure, and endocrine disrupting plastics. There is not one specific cause that can be attributed to the Hashimoto’s or Graves disease, but rather an accumulation of stressors on the immune system that cause the signaling to go haywire.
What Does Good Treatment Look Like?
The degree to which thyroid disorders, particularly autoimmune thyroid conditions are mismanaged, is staggering. Trust us when we say that if your doctor is managing your thyroid medications with only a TSH level or ignores you when you still have symptoms-your thyroid disorder is not being supported as well as it could be. The danger in only managing thyroid conditions with a TSH level is that, in the presence of autoimmune conditions, the source of the problem is not being addressed. It is like having a gas leak in your car, but instead of fixing the leak, you just stop and put gas in your car every 15 miles. It keeps your car working, but not the way it was intended. That’s a bit what it’s like to prescribe medications and only draw a TSH level every 12 months. Standard lab reference ranges are designed to be levels to prevent illness, not promote vitality. Each factor affecting the thyroid needs to be assessed or symptoms will remain since the system is not truly balanced. A practitioner who hears and responds to your clinical symptoms, comprehensive lab data, and addresses underlying imbalances is how you will really get well.
Lifestyle factors and other underlying issues absolutely must be addressed in the presence of autoimmune conditions of any kind. Sometimes people want their condition “fixed” without making any changes to the lifestyle that developed the condition in the first place. This would be like having a garden with bugs that were destroying the plants to which the gardener responds with more food, more water, and more sun in hopes the plants would grow better. What is really needed is to remove what is causing the damage – the bugs. Then the plants can freely grow as it is designed.
The right functional medicine practitioner will help you understand how lifestyle factors such as stress, sleep, nutrition, and exercise will help support healing thyroid. The crux of treatment for autoimmune thyroid disorders is to get to the source of the imbalance rather than mask or suppress symptoms. This is not to say medications will not be needed to optimally manage thyroid conditions, but the types and ways in which they are utilized needs to be specific to your needs and followed closely.
Our thyroid doctor in Overland Park, KS at in2GREAT Integrative Health is highly trained and incredibly skilled at both autoimmune and thyroid conditions, and would consider it an honor to work alongside you in restoring your vitality.