Dangers of an Underactive Thyroid

by Dr. David Williams
Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

The risk of heart disease, infection, and depression increases

Heart disease and its associated complications are the most serious side effects of an underactive thyroid. However, hypothyroidism has important implications throughout the body. Here are some of the more common effects of an underproducing thyroid gland.

Poor Circulation

Obviously, as heart disease progresses, it decreases blood circulation to the heart muscle and other organs. But circulation problems also cause some of the less dramatic complaints of hypothyroid sufferers, including dry, flaky, or cracked skin and chronically cold hands and feet. In cases of hypothyroidism, the skin may receive as little as 20 to 40 percent of its normal blood supply. This shortfall interferes with the body’s ability to warm the extremities, such as the hands and feet. It also impedes the delivery of various essential fatty acids and nutrients, which are necessary for keeping the skin soft, supple, and healthy. Fortunately, these problems resolve themselves once the thyroid is back to normal.

Increased Susceptibility to Infection 

Though rarely thought of as part of the immune system, the thyroid gland plays a crucial role in maintaining the body’s defenses. Hormones produced by the thyroid help regulate the metabolic rate within each cell and directly influence over 100 different cellular enzymes. With hypothyroidism, individuals routinely become more susceptible to viral and bacterial infections, especially those of the respiratory and urinary tracts.

Sinus problems, sore throats, middle-ear infections, tonsillitis, pneumonia, and other respiratory problems have gone from relatively rare conditions to common and recurring complaints. Business is booming for allergists and respiratory therapists all over the country, no longer just in “allergy-prone” regions. Middle-ear infections top the list of reasons for children’s medical visits, and asthma has become so common among adults that it is no longer considered a childhood disease. I have little doubt that a nationwide drop in thyroid function is partly responsible for the increase in these respiratory problems, yet antibiotics remain the treatment of choice for most of them.

In terms of urinary infections, kidney dysfunction and failure can in many cases be linked to chronic infections of the urinary tract that were originally caused by an underactive thyroid.

If you’ve tried supplements to strengthen immunity and haven’t experienced the expected results, it’s highly likely that your thyroid is underactive. After a month or two of proper treatment, which I outlined in the February issue, you can expect a much stronger immune system as well as greater results from any immune boosting supplements you take.

Depression and Mental Confusion

While a precious few medical professionals will admit it, many of today’s common social problems can be traced back to widespread hypothyroidism. Not only does hypothyroidism escape notice in these cases, but the drugs currently being used to treat its symptoms are making matters infinitely worse.

Nowhere is this more apparent than with the treatment of depression. In the last 20 years, we’ve seen a phenomenal increase in the incidence of depression, one of the most common side effects of hypothyroidism. We’ve also seen a corresponding increase in the use of prescription antidepressants (Prozac, Paxil, Luvox, Zoloft, and the like). These drugs are designed to alter brain chemistry, which can trigger outbursts of violence toward oneself or others. Not surprisingly, we’ve seen a significant increase in suicide and violence during this same period of time.

A far safer solution to many of the problems now being treated by antidepressant drugs is to balance the body chemistry naturally. The logical starting point is to check for and treat hypothyroidism. After doing so, most individuals find that the “fog” they’ve been living in seems to clear away. They also find that they have more energy and less fatigue.

Other Thyroid-Related Problems

Sales of the wonder drug Viagra and its companions wouldn’t be quite so brisk if doctors paid more attention to thyroid imbalances. Normal sexual function requires normal thyroid function. In men, too little thyroid hormone depresses libido, while too much causes impotence. In women, too little thyroid hormone depresses libido and results in irregular periods with excessive and frequent menstrual bleeding (including miscarriages in extreme cases). Too much can reduce menstrual bleeding and even stop the menstrual cycle.

Identifying Hypothyroidism

Additional symptoms that can be associated with hypothyroidism include:

  • Decreased heart rate and cardiac output
  • Increased weight (pot belly)
  • Pain where the ribs meet the sternum
  • Memory loss
  • Unexplained crying
  • Morning headaches and dizziness
  • Loss of hair, especially the outer third of eyebrows
  • Constipation
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Allergies
  • A frog-like husky voice
  • Muscular sluggishness and weakness

Many of these problems stem from hypothyroidism’s effect at the cellular level, where it causes the accumulation of gel-like sacs called mucopolysaccharides. Mucopolysaccharides are a normal structural component of the body, but if they accumulate in this manner problems can develop. This accumulation explains why individuals with severe hypothyroidism develop bagginess under the eyes and puffy, swollen faces and bodies. When tissues swell and fluid pressures within the body elevate, migraine headaches are often the result. The only way to relieve these migraines is to loosen or remove all restrictive clothing and rest in bed until the pain subsides. The ultimate solution is to prevent them from happening in the first place by restoring balance to the thyroid.

Testing for a thyroid imbalance is a simple matter, using what’s known as the Barnes test (named after Dr. Broda Barnes).

  1. Put an oral thermometer by your bedside. If you use a mercury one, shake it down to 96 degrees before retiring.
  2. Upon awakening, place the thermometer in your armpit and leave it there for 10 minutes before getting out of bed.
  3. Record the temperature.

Note: Men can take their temperature any time. Women in their menstrual years get the most accurate reading on the second or third day after menstrual flow starts. Before the first menstrual period or after menopause, the temperature may be taken on any day.

Anywhere between 98.2 and 97.2 is considered normal. If your temperature falls below this range, it indicates a sluggish thyroid or hypothyroid condition. (If it’s above this range, your thyroid is overactive.)

Correcting the Condition

Balancing the thyroid naturally requires the use of products called glandulars (extracts of actual animal glands, such as the thyroid). Thyroid glandulars are available from several sources, but in my opinion the best is called Thytrophin by Standard Process Products. It’s available from Total Health Discount Vitamins. Roughly three tablets of Thytrophin is equivalent to one grain of thyroid hormone. Patients start with three tablets a day chewed between meals on an empty stomach.

Even more dramatic results occur when one drop daily of IoSOL is also taken. IoSOL is a fantastic iodine product made and distributed by TPCS Distributors. You can contact TPCS. Note that you can NOT use antiseptic iodine internally; the formulation is poisonous.

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