014 - The Thyroid Puzzle - Mechanisms, Lab Ranges, and Most Common Patterns
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Hypothyroidism has been rampant for decades, and it's estimated that 90% of hypothyroidism in the United States is caused by Hashimoto's Autoimmune Thyroiditis. Hashimoto's is the single most common autoimmune disease. This podcast discusses everything about the thyroid - not just Hashimoto's. It's importance within the body, it's metabolism, the labs, the ranges, the patterns - a little bit about everything thyroid.
Every cell in the body has receptors for thyroid hormone, so low thyroid can impact everything - the neurological system, digestive system, immune, endocrine, and any other cell, tissue, organ, or system in the body. The thyroid is also sensitive to changes in each of these systems, and very sensitive to environmental triggers such as endocrine-disrupting toxins. It is also the #1 target for autoimmunity.
I call the thyroid a 'puzzle' because thyroid lab testing has at least 9 important puzzle pieces we can measure, and I don't know how most primary care doctors and endocrinologists expect to solve the puzzle with only 2 or 3 of the pieces? Their goal isn't to solve the puzzle though, it's to give you the proper medication, which is often necessary and appropriate, but often the puzzle remains unsolved.
In this episode I go over the basic mechanisms of thyroid function (the pituitary tells the thyroid to produce T4, T4 gets converted to T3, etc). I also discuss the important lab tests (and their functional, or optimal ranges) that you need to know, which include:
- free T4
- free T3
- reverse T3
- T3 uptake
- TG antibodies
- TPO antibodies
Lastly, I discuss 3 of the 24 different thyroid patterns that I commonly see on labs, and how to identify these patterns on your own labs:
- True Hypothyroidism
- Pituitary Pattern
- Under-Conversion Pattern
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