The thyroid plays one of the body’s most important roles. This small, butterfly-shaped gland, located at the base of the front of the neck, is responsible for producing the crucial thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). The thyroid hormones are secreted into the blood and carried to the body’s cells, controlling metabolism and other vital functions and processes. A properly functioning thyroid gland is essential to overall health.
Extremely well-versed in metabolic medicine, Dr. Lynne Ahn has helped countless patients overcome thyroid problems to regain overall wellness and a better quality of life. If you suspect that your thyroid function is compromised, Dr. Ahn can discuss your symptoms with you, order a full medical work-up and diagnose the problem. Based on the information gathered during the diagnostic phase, Dr. Ahn will create a treatment plan specifically for you. The details of this plan will be tailored to the type and severity of your condition.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which an underactive thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone to keep the body functioning normally. When the body’s cells don’t get enough thyroid hormones, the body uses energy slower than it should and processes start to slow down.
Common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include the following:
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Chronic fatigue
- Dry skin
- Cold hands and feet
- Poor memory
- Sensitivity to cold
Most cases of hypothyroidism are caused by an autoimmune disorder known as Hashimoto’s. Other causes include inflammation of the thyroid gland, thyroid surgery, radiation, medications and over-response to hyperthyroidism treatment.
The amount of thyroid hormone in the bloodstream is controlled by the pituitary gland in the center of the skull below the brain. If it senses a lack of thyroid hormones, it adjusts its own hormone, called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), that tells the thyroid to produce more hormone. If the pituitary gland senses a high level of thyroid hormones, it secretes lower levels of TSH.
Hypothyroidism is diagnosed with a blood test to measure the levels of thyroid hormone as well as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH); a high level of TSH indicates the pituitary gland is trying to stimulate the thyroid gland such that it produces more thyroid hormone.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when an overactive thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. When the body’s cells get too much thyroid hormone, the body uses energy faster than it should.
Signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism include the following:
- Weight loss
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Muscle weakness or tremors
- Irritability, anxiety or nervousness
- Vision problems
- Sensitivity to heat
- Trouble sleeping
- More frequent bowel movements
Hyperthyroidism can be caused by an autoimmune disease known as Graves’ disease, as well as inflammation of the thyroid or nodules or lumps on the gland.
Like hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism is diagnosed with laboratory tests to measure the amount of thyroid hormone and TSH in the blood.
Overcoming Thyroid Disease with Dr. Ahn
Once Dr. Ahn has gained an understanding of your symptoms and analyzed the results of any blood work or other labs, she can put together a personalized, comprehensive treatment plan to help you restore optimal thyroid function.
Treatment for hypothyroidism involves daily use of thyroid hormone. There are synthetic medications, such as levothyroxine. But there are also natural forms of thyroid medications that can be used (NP Thyroid, Armour and Nature Thyroid). Treatment for hyperthyroidism can include the use of an antithyroid drug like methimazole that blocks the thyroid gland from producing new thyroid hormone.
As an advocate of integrated health care, Dr. Ahn will also recommend appropriate lifestyle changes, dietary recommendations, supplements and other therapies. There is no universal best approach — her recommendations will be completely customized to you and your unique body.
Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Ahn Today
It takes time to overcome thyroid disease, alleviate symptoms and get back to a better quality of life. The sooner you address your symptoms with Dr. Ahn, the sooner you can reclaim better health and wellness. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Ahn today to discuss your case.