Grumpy, gaining weight and no energy? This could all be thanks to your thyroid.
Allyson Sutherland, LVC Nurse Specialist
Do you ever find yourself wanting to join the party on a Saturday night but your tired self just won’t let you. Nobody wants to be that person falling asleep at the bar… It is true that many of us are either feeling low, lacking energy, are unable to shift the weight after months of dieting but how many of us have considered checking our thyroid function? In the UK it is understood that 1 in 20 of us are affected by either an underactive or overactive thyroid. Perhaps it’s time to not be so hard on yourself for not shifting the pounds and not wanting to get out of bed in the morning as there really could be an underlying issue. Although the majority of those affected are females, males and children can also be affected.
What is my thyroid?
In the front of your neck is a beautiful butterfly shaped gland, which is, of course, your thyroid gland. It’s main function is to produce hormones which allow the body to metabolise and give you energy. These hormones help turn what you eat into energy. There are two hormones which are produced , these are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). It is easy to understand that when your thyroid is not functioning properly, with an under active thyroid not enough energy is being produced therefore causing you to be tired, grumpy lethargic. Likewise, with an overactive thyroid too much of these hormones are being produced causing unpleasant and potentially serious problems, including palpitations, sweating, anxiety and weight loss.
Testing your thyroid
The best way to test your thyroid is to have a simple blood test know as a thyroid screen. This tests your TSH (Thyroid stimulating hormone), T3 and T4 hormones. The test will indicate if there are any abnormalities and if medication such as levothyroxine or beta blockers would then be advised.
“What do the results mean?”
TSH – Thyroid-stimulating hormone is a pituitary hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroxine, and triiodothyronine(T3) which stimulates the metabolism of almost every tissue in the body. If your TSH levels are high this can be a sign of hypothyroidism as we secrete more of the stimulating hormone to produce thyroxine. Low levels may suggest hyperthyroidism, where TSH is deregulated due to excess thyroxine. An abnormal TSH reading is believed to indicate thyroid disease, however, there are exceptions. Research as shown that if TSh results are abnormal yet T3 and T4 are normal then this can be due to a nonthyroidal illness. It is therefore advised once feeling better, the test is retaken.
T3 A hormone called triiodothyronine produced by the thyroid. High can be a sign of hyperthyroid. Low can be a sign of hypothyroidism.
T4 This hormone plays a role in several of your body’s functions, including growth and metabolism. High can be a sign of hyperthyroid. Low can be a sign of hypothyroidism.
Let’s get you checked.
If you are concerned you may have a thyroid problem don’t delay your blood test any longer. It’s time to check if you tiredness, fatigue, weight gain and mood swings are all down to your thyroid. You can book yourself for a blood test with us and have results within 24 hours. The sooner this is picked up the sooner you can get back on that dance floor and show them what you’ve really got.
Thyroid Foundation of Canada: