In this health video you will learn about different issues involving the thyroid.
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Raena Morgan: Hello, I’m Raena Morgan with iHealthTube visiting with Dr. Sherrill Sellman. We’re talking about women’s health and one of the things I read recently was about the thyroid, and that as many as 25 million people may have thyroid issues. Sherrill Sellman: Well in fact, it does seem to be that we have an epidemic of thyroid issues and predominantly, it’s a hypothyroid problem. It can be a sluggish thyroid, it can be a condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune problem that also results in sluggish thyroid or hypothyroidism. Now the thyroid regulates the metabolism of the body, so it plays a vital role in how much oxygen the cells absorb, how much energy the cells have access to. It’s a pretty important hormone actually, and an important gland. So we really want to support our thyroid. When we are hypothyroid—and I actually have been hypothyroid, so I really understand this personally—so we have a sluggish thyroid and our metabolism is low. The symptoms are—and you can have some or all the above. Raena Morgan: Okay. Sherrill Sellman: You can have weight gain but no amount of dieting will ever lose, so you start putting the weight on, and thyroid people generally put weight on around their hips. They get that pear shape, so that’s a sign of a thyroid issue. It goes on the hips and thighs. Raena Morgan: What about the middle? Sherrill Sellman: That’s more the result of adrenal issues of high stress from cortisol, too much cortisol. The apple shape is more cortisol and the hippy, pear shape is more thyroid, generally speaking. So also, people who have great sensitivity to the cold; their hands and their feet get really cold, they may even get white and you lose circulation in the tips of fingers. That is a sign of a hypothyroid problem. Depression is hypothyroidism. Lack of memory is hypothyroidism. Your hair loss—when you start thinning your hair and your hair starts falling out and even the outer part of your eyebrows start thinning, that’s a sign of hypothyroidism. And also dry skin and constipation is a sign of hypothyroidism. In my experience, most hormonal issues, be it menopausal symptoms, infertility, fibroids, endometriosis, even PMS are associated with a hypothyroid condition. Now, not all blood tests will actually show you if you’re hypothyroid. Raena Morgan: That’s what I was going to ask you Sherrill Sellman: You know, often women get their blood tests done and the doctor looks at it and goes, “You're okay because you’re in normal range. It may be the lower end of normal, but you’re normal.” But lower end of normal is not necessarily normal. Anything over 2.0 is considered hypothyroid but many doctors say higher values are safe. So we need to understand that number one. Also, blood tests may not reveal the whole story that’s going on that’s contributing to hypothyroid problems. So you really need to be doing a little test of your own and that’s called checking your basal temperature. You get a thermometer, get a digital thermometer and you put it under your arm before you get up in the morning. You awake but you don’t get out of bed, you don’t start moving around, you don’t start increasing your metabolism, you just lie there and you take your underarm temperature. And that should be at least 97.6, unless when you’re ovulating, and then it goes up to a degree. Raena Morgan: Okay. Sherrill Sellman: This is what women do to chart their cycles so they can conceive or not conceive, whatever their choice is. But it also is a way to see what your metabolism is doing and if you are consistently less the 97.6, that’s a very powerful indicator that you have a thyroid problem. Raena Morgan: Really? And you do this for how long? You take a digital thermometer, that will work? Sherrill Sellman: Yup, and you know when it reaches its maximum temperature, it will beep unlike the mercury thermometer. And you would do this—you know, I think it’s great to chart it for a couple of weeks. And I have all m