In today's state of health, we are beginning to see chronic disease in everyday people. It is no surprise that a specific thyroid problem called Euthyroid Sick Syndrome, or non-thyroidal illness syndrome, thought only to appear in acute illness, is beginning to show up in many people with overt hypothyroid symptoms. It is thought to be an adaptive response to stress (in this case an acute illness like bronchitis or the flu) in which the body decreases the conversion of T4 to T3 in an effort to decrease energy consumption in the diseased or sick state. Every single hypothyroid patient I have seen this year has this problem. I am convinced no one is looking for this problem in people because the scientific literature doesn't necessarily consider this an everyday thyroid issue. This is about to change and has to.
The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones T4 and T3. About 80% of the thyroid hormones produced are T4. Our body then has to convert T4 to T3, and this happens at the tissue level with the liver, kidneys, muscle tissue and brain being some of the primary areas of conversion. The indication of Euthyroid Sick Syndrome, or as I like call it, the Toxic Thyroid Syndrome, is free T3 decreases and reverse T3 increases. Reverse T3 is an inactive form of T3. The body cannot use it. So ultimately, the body loses active thyroid hormones due to decreased conversion at the tissue level.
HOW CAN THIS KILL YOU?
A study done in Circulation found that low free T3 was the best predictor of death in patients with heart disease. Yes, that is correct. Low free T3 was a better predictor of death than cholesterol, age, and heart valve function. The heart is one of the most sensitive organs to thyroid hormones and it makes sense that low active thyroid hormone would be present in heart disease, which is still the number one killer in the US.
If you wake up with a puffy face, have low body temperature, have brittle or fine hair, dry skin, thinning eye brows, low energy, temperature insensitivity or any other hypothyroid symptom it is time to get checked. This means get the proper blood tests to assess for a toxic thyroid, especially if you have heart disease.
The next article to be published on this blog will detail out the specifics of a Toxic Thyroid. If this is something you want checked today please contact my office.