Monday, August 17, 2009 by: Barbara L. Minton, citizen journalist
Is the average temperature of the human body still 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit? This often quoted average was determined in the nineteenth century. A more recent study has reported an average temperature of 98.2, and experts believe the decrease in body heat is the result of an epidemic of mild or moderate hypothyroidism. Some believe we are evolving into a population with the propensity for low thyroid function because antibiotics have allowed people who would have died from pneumonia and other diseases associated with hypothyroidism to remain alive and reproduce. Others see rising hypothyroidism rates as the result of diet and environmental factors. Whatever the answer is, one thing is sure. More people than ever are suffering from the myriad of symptoms associated with low thyroid levels, especially women.
Thyroid is the most important hormone in the body. Because it stimulates the production of cellular energy, production of all other hormones will be negatively impacted when thyroid hormone levels are less than optimal. Every aspect of health is affected by low thyroid function.
Hypothyroidism is behind many disease states
Hypothyroidism is signaled by fatigue and loss of energy. People with the disease don’t have any sparkle in the morning, and as the day goes on they find themselves falling asleep sitting in meetings or while driving on the highway, reading or watching TV. The only time they feel energized is from continuous movement, such as jogging or doing housework. As soon as the task is completed and they sit down, chances are good they will start to nod off.
Yet while they are fatigued, low thyroid people are often hyperactive at the same time. Thyroid expert Dr. Alan Gaby reported a study of 49 people diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Among them, 61 percent met diagnostic criteria for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. When thyroid hormone is deficient, the nerves require abnormal stimulation to function or the body produces excess adrenalin to keep it going. The result is people become tired and tense at the same time, according to Dr. Gaby.
People with low thyroid exhibit many of the characteristics that are blamed on aging, with difficulty concentrating being the most blatant. They tend to flit from task to task and often accomplish little they set out to do. They can find themselves standing in front of an open refrigerator, unable to remember what they are looking for. They may have difficulty reading, needing to read sentences again because their mind wandered off the first time.
Low thyroid suffers are always the coldest people in the room, and their body temperatures can go down to 95 degree (F) in the cold winter months. People with moderate levels of low thyroid can experience the cold as extremely painful, and they plan their activities with minimizing exposure to cold weather as a priority. They also have trouble dealing with heat, and usually find comfort only in a very narrow range of temperatures, usually in the lower 70s. They are quite uncomfortable in overly heated rooms.
Other symptoms include inexplicable weight gain, painful premenstrual periods, fertility problems, muscle weakness and cramps, dry skin, yellow bumps on the eyelids, hair loss that includes the lower third of the eyebrows, susceptibility to infection, migraines, hoarseness, constipation, depression, difficulty getting words out when speaking, and goiter.
Comment from Leslie
Living with your hormone cycle will alleviate many of these problems. Balance is key to health. The body strives to live in homeostasis/balance.