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Are You Living With an Undiagnosed Thyroid Problem?

John Miller

Undiagnosed thyroid problems have been running rampant for years and are suspected to be the underlying cause of a wide variety of common ailments that doctors hear about every day in their family practices.

The symptoms of hypothyroidism (overactive thyroid) are especially likely to go undiagnosed because they generally start mild and very slowly worsen over time and people just attribute the symptoms to getting old. Further complicating matters is the fact that symptoms of thyroid problems can be very different from one individual to another.

Common symptoms of thyroid problems include:

Excessive fatigue; feeling cold all the time; slow, fast, or irregular heartbeat; menstrual problems; infertility; difficulty losing weight, or unexplained weight gain or weight loss; fluid retention, especially around the eyes; coarse or brittle hair; slow growing hair or excessive hair loss; mental impairment, including depression and memory loss; decreased perspiration even in hot weather; constipation that is not fixed with laxatives; chronic infections, especially respiratory ones; muscle weakness; and joint pains.

Diagnosing Thyroid Problems

Thyroid problems are usually diagnosed using a laboratory blood test for the TSH, T4, and sometimes T3 hormones. Although these tests are the norm, there are a growing number of healthcare practitioners who believe that these tests are limited and can be misleading.

The "normal" range in test results is criticized for being too broad and excluding many mild to moderate thyroid problems. Also, a blood test only measures thyroid hormone levels at one point in the day and it is well known that hormone levels can fluctuate significantly throughout the day and are influenced by a number of external factors, such as dietary excesses or deficiencies and stress levels.

Yet another downside to using blood tests to diagnose thyroid problems is that they don't measure the amount of thyroid hormone directly available for use by your body (biochemically available hormone), instead, they measure the blood serum level. The amount of biochemically available thyroid hormone can be very different from the serum level, rendering the blood test inaccurate for determining if you have a thyroid problem.

So how do you tell if you have a thyroid problem?

One of the easiest and most effective ways of checking for mild to moderate thyroid problems is the Basal Body Temperature Test recommended by leading thyroid researcher Dr. Broda Barnes. The test is very simple and only requires a glass thermometer.

Here's how to test yourself for thyroid problems at home with a glass thermometer:

*Note: Menstruating women should take this test only on the second or third day of their menstrual flow. Anyone else can take this test at any time of the month.

1. Shake down the thermometer as far as it will go and lay it beside your bed.

2. First thing in the morning, before you get out of bed and moving as little as possible, place the thermometer under your armpit and lay still, relaxing for 10 minutes.

3. Check your temperature and compare it to the list below:

97.8 - 98.2 = Your thyroid is probably functioning normally

above 98.2 = You may have the problem of an overactive thyroid (or an infection)

below 97.8 = You may have the problem of low thyroid function

There are a relatively small number of things that could also be causing lower than 97.8 degree temperatures, and temperatures higher than 98.2 degrees could mean a fever or infection so it is recommended that you take your Basal Body Temperature Test results to a qualified healthcare practitioner and only take thyroid medication under their supervision.

To learn more about your thyroid and thyroid problems, we recommend the following books:

Overcoming Thyroid Disorders

Solved: The Riddle of Illness

Multi-Nutrient Thyroid Support:

Thyro-Support by AOR

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