Hypothyroidism with no obvious clinical symptoms
The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland of the human body, located in the front of the neck, above the trachea, with the characteristic shape of a butterfly. It produces the valuable hormones, T3 and T4, which determine various processes in the body and affect each cell type.
Thyroid hormones regulate energy production and metabolism throughout the body, including the heart, brain, skin, gastrointestinal tract, and body temperature. Consequently, any disturbances in the balance of thyroid hormones can catalyze a wide range of body functions and lead to confusion and often misdiagnosis.
Hypothyroidism is a typical example of a disorder of the thyroid gland. This is a condition in which the thyroid gland underperforms, resulting in insufficient production of T4 and T3, which are a prerequisite for the proper function of the body. An equally serious problem is subclinical hypothyroidism, a condition that lurks in the attention of patients and doctors.
Hypoclinical hypothyroidism is defined as a condition of mild hypothyroidism, in which TSH, the thyroid-stimulating hormone produced by the pituitary gland and promotes thyroid function, is found to be marginally above the ideal levels, while thyroid hormones (T3, T4) are at normal levels.
In essence, it is a condition of reduced thyroid function, without actually having a thyroid disease. An additional feature of Subclinical Hypothyroidism is the fact that, unlike Hypothyroidism, it does not present with obvious clinical signs and symptoms or they are not perceived in time by the patient and the doctor and develop gradually.
Furthermore, the symptoms of this type of limited thyroid function are not enough to qualify as a disease according to standard medical measures. Nevertheless, they are considered annoying enough to allow someone to feel completely healthy. In short, this is an insidious condition, as, according to scientists, it has been claimed that 40-60% of patients with Subclinical Hypothyroidism are unaware that they are suffering.
The usual clinical symptoms of subclinical hypothyroidism
As mentioned above, thyroid dysfunction manifests itself with symptoms that vary considerably from person to person and tend to occur gradually, to the point that they may not be directly interpreted by doctors and patients as a thyroid disorder. In fact, about 70% of patients with Subclinical Hypothyroidism have no symptoms. However, if symptoms occur, they usually include:
- Feeling tired
- Gradual increase in body weight
- Stiffness and difficulty in moving the joints
- Thinning of the hair and the outer arch of the eyebrows
- Mental lethargy, reduced cognitive function and limited memory
- Cold upper and lower extremities and reduced cold resistance
- Dry skin
The possible causes of subclinical hypothyroidism
The main problem is that in order for T4 (a relatively inactive “storage” hormone) to be useful, it must be converted to T3 (“active” hormone). However, some people fail to do this very well. On the contrary, the thyroid gland of these individuals produces insufficient amounts of active hormone T3 and on the other hand, excessive amounts of the inactive form of hormone T3, which is known as reverse T3 or “rT3”.
Increased adrenaline, aging, poor diet, exposure to toxic metals, malignancies, pneumonia, heart disease, chronic kidney failure
The condition described above is often referred to as euthyroid disease syndrome, low T3 syndrome, or peripheral thyroid hormone conversion disorder and can be due to various conditions such as increased adrenaline, aging, consumption of foods low in valuable nutrients, exposure to toxic metals, malignancies, pneumonia, heart failure or myocardial infarction.
Decreased levels of the hormone T4, certain medications, Diabetes mellitus, deficiencies of valuable micro and macronutrients, fluoride and radiation
Insufficient levels of the hormone T4, in order for it to be converted to T3, are an additional causative factor for the onset of subclinical hypothyroidism. The use of certain drugs can play a major role in this particular conversion mechanism, including beta-blockers, oral contraceptives and synthetic estrogens. Furthermore, classic diets, Diabetes, deficiencies in valuable micro and macronutrients, fluoride and radiation can affect the conversion of T4 to T3.
Subclinical hypothyroidism, in fact, can occur when for a long time the body sends too many false “fight-or-flight” reactions due to stress. These false “alarms” contribute to the increased function of the adrenal glands and thyroid.
Recent pregnancy or childbirth
In fact, subclinical hypothyroidism can often occur after a recent pregnancy or childbirth.
All the above factors lead to biochemical diversion of the thyroid gland, with the final consequence of the hormonal chaos that is caused later.
The Modern Medical Treatment of Subclinical Hypothyroidism
Subclinical hypothyroidism has been associated with adverse effects on the cardiovascular and neuromuscular systems, metabolism and cognition. If not treated in time, it is blamed for increased morbidity and mortality.
The modern medical treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism is based on the evaluation of all biochemical indicators and clinical symptoms, the results of specialized laboratory and molecular tests, which detect malfunctions and any deficiencies that are identified, with the ultimate goal of forming an accurate record of its operation.
Subclinical Hypothyroidism can be treated by eliminating the causes that caused it, namely by restoring the body’s biochemical and hormonal balance. This can be achieved through the formulation of individualized treatment protocols, which correct nutrient deficiencies, regulate neurotransmitters and help remove heavy metals from the body.
The proper function of the thyroid gland can be supported by changes in lifestyle, by adopting a diet rich in valuable micronutrients and macronutrients, but also with the help of natural “Biomimetic” hormones.
Undiagnosed or misdiagnosed thyroid problems are one of the main reasons why a patient is overwhelmed by fatigue, irritability and cognitive impairment. Proper diagnosis and restoration of normal thyroid hormone levels are the guarantees for enhancing the quality of life of patients.
- Cooper DS. Subclinical hypothyroidism. N Engl J Med. 2001;345(4):260-265
- Karmisholt J, Andersen S, Laurberg P. Variation in thyroid function tests in patients with stable untreated subclinical hypothyroidism. Thyroid 2008;18(3):303-308
- Fatourechi V. Subclinical hypothyroidism: when to treat, when to watch? Consultant 2004;44(4):533-539
- Surks MI, Ortiz E, Daniels GH, et al. Subclinical thyroid disease: scientific review and guidelines for diagnosis and management. JAMA 2004;291(2):228-238
- Surks MI, Hollowell JG. Age-specific distribution of serum thyrotropin and antithyroid antibodies in the US population: implications for the prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007December;92(12):4575-4582 Epub 2007 Oct 2
- Gharib H, Tuttle RM, Baskin HJ, Fish LH, Singer PA, McDermott MT. Subclinical thyroid dysfunction: a joint statement on management from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the American Thyroid Association, and the Endocrine Society. Thyroid 2005;15(1):24-28
- Chu JW, Crapo LM. The treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism is seldom necessary. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001;86(10):4591-4599
- Villar HC, Saconato H, Valente O, Atallah AN. Thyroid hormone replacement for subclinical hypothyroidism. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007;(3):CD003419