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January is Thyroid Awareness Month.

More than half of all people affected by thyroid disease are unaware of their condition. Thyroid disorders affect far more women than men, and the risk increases with age. While both men and women experience stress and exposure to environmental toxins, women are more vulnerable to thyroid imbalances due to hormonal changes throughout their lifetime (puberty, birth control pills, pregnancy, menopause, HRT). Many symptoms of hypothyroidism and menopause overlap. While hormone replacement therapy often focuses on estrogens, progesterone, DHEA and testosterone, optimal hormone balance cannot be achieved without correcting thyroid hormone imbalances.

Thyroid hormone helps the body convert food into energy, regulates body temperature, and impacts reproduction and many other hormonal functions. In hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), either the thyroid’s ability to make and release T4 or the body’s ability to convert T4 to T3 becomes compromised often showing up in the form of elevated TSH. When thyroid hormones are not available in the proper form and amount, many bodily functions are disrupted. For example, thyroid imbalance has a profound effect on cardiovascular fitness because thyroid hormone helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Hypothyroidism also weakens muscles including the diaphragm; as a result, breathing can become less efficient. Snoring may start or become worse. Fatigue is extremely common, and muscles and joints may ache.

People with hypothyroidism have an increased risk of kidney disease, and when thyroid hormone levels drop, the liver no longer functions properly and produces excess cholesterol, fatty acids, and triglycerides, which increase the risk of heart disease. Hypothyroidism is the second leading cause of high cholesterol, after diet. High cholesterol may also increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease, and severe hypothyroidism can cause symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer's disease. 

Compounding enables physicians to prescribe thyroid hormone therapy in a customized dose, and without excipients such as lactose, corn starch, and gluten, which represent some of the most common food sensitivities that can exacerbate symptoms of hypothyroidism.

If you experience symptoms but don’t know what is causing them, always check with your doctor or pharmacist. It’s important to be properly tested and treated. 

Our compounding professionals work together with patients and their doctors to customize medications in the specific strength and dosage form that is most appropriate to meet specific needs.

 

References

Eur J Endocrinol. 2017 Dec;177(6):R287-R296. 
Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2014 Nov;81(5):633-41. 
Int J Nephrol. 2014; Article ID 520281. 
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Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2014 Mar;10(3):164-74.
Thyroid. 2011 Aug;21(8):891-6.
J Obstet Gynaecol. 2007 Jul;27(5):503-505.
N Engl J Med. 1999 Feb 11;340(6):424-9.
Hashimoto’s: The Root Cause and Hashimoto’s Protocol by Isabel Wentz, Pharm.D


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