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Low Thyroid Function - Hypothyroidism
Pat Elliott, ND

Common Symptoms:

Fatigue, falling asleep during the day, excessive need for sleep, difficult to awaken, sleepiness after eating
Weakness, lightheadedness
Low pulse rate (below 80), low body temperature
Muscle and joint aches and pains
Low tolerance for temperature fluctuations, easily chilled or overheated
Cold hands and/or feet, poor circulation, Raynaud's phenomenon (fingers turn white when exposed to cold)
Pale skin, pale lips
Depression, decreased joy in living, lethargy, apathy, poor memory, difficult concentration
Irritability, mood swings, nervousness and anxiety
Un-coordination, sluggishness or "laziness"
Easy weight gain, difficult weight loss
Swelling in feet, puffiness around eyes on awakening
Sugar and other food cravings, hypoglycemia symptoms (weakness, shakiness and/or irritability before meals)
Dry skin, itchy skin, hives, acne, coarse or rough skin, eczema, psoriasis
Decrease in or lack of sweating
Brittle and slow growing hair and nails, dry hair, hair loss, loss of lateral eyebrows
Recurring or prolonged infections including: sinusitis, bronchitis/pneumonia, ear infections, tonsillitis, boils, vaginitis, bladder and kidney infections, and prostatitis
Poor wound healing, tendency for bruising
Elevated cholesterol and/or triglycerides in the blood, atherosclerosis, angina, heart attack, palpitations
High or very low blood pressure
Low libido, infertility, repeated miscarriage
Menstrual disturbances including: early or late starting age, painful periods, long or short cycles, irregular periods, heavy bleeding, bleeding lasting greater than 5 days, PMS, endometrial hyperplasia, uterine fibroids, and ovarian cysts
Constipation, indigestion, loss of appetite in the morning
Abnormal sensation in throat or upon swallowing
Hoarseness of voice
Allergies, asthma
Difficult breathing
Carpal tunnel syndrome and other nerve entrapment symptoms (burning/tingling), hands or feet falling asleep
Migraine and other headaches
Poor hearing
Decline in health following a pregnancy
Family history of any of the above disorders

Diagnosis - Although cases of severe hypothyroidism can usually be diagnosed using standard laboratory testing of thyroid function, most mild and many moderate cases of hypothyroidism are only identified using clinical assessment of symptoms by a physician experienced in identifying patients with hidden hypothyroidism. 

Treatment - Recognition and proper daily treatment of low thyroid function using thyroid hormone replacement therapy will result in resolution of deficiency symptoms usually beginning within the first month of therapy and reaching a maximum at 6-12 months of treatment.  In most cases the therapy is continued for life.

Hypothyroidism Resources:

Thyroid Books:
Living Well with Hypothyroidism by Mary Shomon
Solved:  The Riddle of Illness by Stephen Langer, MD & James F Scheer
Hypothyroidism:  The Unsuspected Illness by Broda O. Barnes, MD & Lawrence Galton
The Thyroid Solution by Ridha Arem, MD

Thyroid Websites:


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Pat Elliott, ND
Elliott Health Care Associates
1155 N State ST, Suite 610, Bellingham, WA 98225

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