Tired? Gaining weight when you used to be slim? Depressed? It might be a thyroid problem.
Yes, that thyroid problem. You probably know someone who has a form of thyroid problem or two. You probably have it yourself but you just don’t know it yet.
Her Collective talked to Lucy Herron, founder and owner of The Lucy Rose Clinic – specialists who deal with thyroid health. Here she tells us the symptoms to look out for and what you can do about it.
Are there a lot of people with thyroid issues in Australia?
Absolutely. It predominantly affects women. There is a 7:1 ratio women to men. A lot of our clients are women, that’s because of the hormonal system. The thyroid governs the hormonal system that’s why women tend to suffer. It is estimated about at least 40 per cent has a thyroid disorder. But myself, my colleagues and other specialists in this area believe there is more like 80 per cent who suffer from a thyroid disorder.
Why are most not aware of their condition?
It is really an underlying issue of other diseases, like diabetes. Diabetics may have been diagnosed with diabetes but the thyroid had been missed. The reason is they use a blood test called TSH to establish whether you have a thyroid problem or not. But unfortunately that test is very inaccurate and the reference ranges are very wide. In fact, globally they can’t decide where the reference range should be. Depending on which country you’re in, you may be told your thyroid is fine but in another country you have a problem. What we found in our clinics is that 95 per cent of our clients have a thyroid problem but only three per cent of them have a problem with their TSH level. The blood test misses it.
What symptoms should we look out for?
The classic symptoms are feeling tired and putting weight on unexpectedly. A lot of women who were slim during their younger years and all of a sudden they put a lot of weight on, or put weight on hormonal flux like puberty, pregnancy, or menopause. That actually shouldn’t be the case. Also, symptoms like feeling cold on the tip of your nose or hands and feet, hair loss and losing the outer area of eyebrows are big indicators. And depression, that would be the main thing. There is also craving for sugar, caffeine and alcohol.
Women get used to it. You think that’s just what happens as you get older. You shouldn’t feel like that, not even when you’re 80. A lot of our foods are toxic now, which doesn’t help. But you should be able to eat without worrying about your weight. Your metabolism should be able to take care of it.
What would be the best first step if you tick the symptoms for thyroid issues?
The best first step is to do our survey. If you have a lot of the symptoms then it is likely you have an imbalance. If you want to look at it at home, you can map your resting temperature – that’s your temperature when you wake up in the morning before you move around. Take your temperature and record for a week. If it’s below 36.5 consistently then that’s a strong indicator you have a thyroid problem. We recommend you do a reflex test. It is very accurate and we can tell you where you are on the spectrum of thyroid health. We have it in our clinic and we offer that free. If there is a problem then we explore further why your thyroid is not working properly then treat it.
Would it be hard to maintain the treatment for thyroid problems?
No, it depends on the person. If we have a client with mercury poisoning it’s going to be a much longer treatment to get rid of the mercury. If you just have an iodine deficiency then that’s easier to treat. We are looking at all the causes that could be there then address them. We do advice dietary changes and exercise. Some people come and they do boot camp and they are not getting results because they’re better off having massages and saunas once a week based on what’s causing their problem. The exercise is making it worse. We really want to address what type of exercise and food is best for you.
What kind of lifestyle changes would people need to do?
We would address the nutrient deficiency, mostly selenium and iodine. We would recommend supplements. We highly recommend people remove grains, sugar and packet foods from their diet. Toxins love the thyroid and they head straight to the thyroid to knock it down. Also, gentle exercise not boot camp crazy ones. Anything to help reduce stress levels. They would be the main lifestyle things we would be recommending.
Do you have any of the symptoms mentioned?