Issue #11 July 9,2012
Welcome to this issue of Know Your Thyroid.
Today I am going to address an issue near and dear to my heart.
This is an annual conversation I have with my doctors. It always goes something like “Corri, your “bad” cholesterol is too high. I’m going to suggest you start on a cholesterol lowering drug right away.” My answer is always “let’s check my thyroid levels to see where they are on the chart to see if they need an adjustment.” This will lead to the statement that “hypothyroidism has nothing to do with your cholesterol levels.” I disagree. Here are the reasons I think this way.
Hypothyroidism and Cholesterol
By Corri Peterson
Did you know that if you have high levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol you should be checked for
Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone causing the body functions to slow down. This increases cholesterol levels because it slows the liver’s ability to process cholesterol.
One of the symptoms of low thyroid hormone is high cholesterol. So, if you have high cholesterol ask your doctor to check your blood for low thyroid hormone. You can lower your risk of heart disease by treating a poorly functioning thyroid.
High cholesterol affects approximately half the American population. But the common culprits of diet and lack of exercise aren’t the problem for some. Under treated or undiagnosed hypothyroidism could possibly be affecting as many as 10 million people with high cholesterol. Add to that an additional 13 million people with thyroid disease that are undiagnosed or under treated.
Some experts believe these numbers are too low and the current diagnostic guidelines are too narrow, thus missing many millions who are suffering from subclinical or low-level hypothyroidism.
So, why are so many Americans, especially women, suffering with low thyroid function?
* Chronic stress. The speculation is that stress causes the overproduction of cortisol, which blocks the conversion and cellular use of the thyroid hormones at several levels. There is no data on this; however health care providers are starting to observe this in their clinical practice.
* Insulin resistance. This may play a role in the development of hypothyroidism and often coexists with it. Insulin resistance has many of the same symptoms as hypothyroidism and is tied to poor nutrition, which impairs thyroid function.
* Menopause and perimenopause. Some experts argue that excess estrogen combined with low progesterone is a major trigger. However, other experts believe it is more about the imbalance between estrogen and progesterone.
* Thyroid-slowing toxins. According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, M.D., triclosan is an antibacterial agent that inflames thyroid cells and overworks the liver. Avoiding triclosan can help toward reviving your energy. Triclosan is found in soap, deodorant, lotions, clothing, towels and cutting boards. The other toxin is perchlorate. This is a rocket-fuel residue that has seeped into the groundwater in at least 43 states and has been found in water-rich produce. The problem is the thyroid will absorb perchlorate instead of iodine and iodine is a crucial mineral for thyroid health. A CDC study finds that percholrate exposure is a predictor of low thyroid hormone levels in women but not in men.
* Soy and thyroid function. There are long-standing concerns about soy having negative effects on thyroid function and hormone health. Soy falls into a category of foods known as goitrogens-foods that promote the formation of goiter-an enlarged thyroid. Some of these foods slow thyroid function and can trigger thyroid disease.
Some doctors believe that because thyroid problems are so common and thyroid hormone tests are so inexpensive, blood test for thyroid function should be routine. Other professional organizations differ widely on screening recommendations, with most not recommending widespread screening for apparently healthy adults.
In conclusion, if your doctor says your cholesterol is too high, be sure to address any other health issues that may be contributing to your cholesterol issues. Two of the most important health concerns are diabetes and thyroid disorders because they affect the way cholesterol and triglycerides are metabolized.
Many do not understand, given that thyroid testing is recommended, that more doctors are not testing for thyroid disorders upon finding high cholesterol. This may be due to a lack of understanding of thyroid issues or the tendency just to write off symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, and depression, especially in women.
Bs sure to get your copy of my free report: Understanding Your Thyroid.
This will help you to know what to look for when having your thyroid hormone levels checked.
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Have a great day.