Correct Your Imbalances. Reverse Your Weight Gain.
What is Subclinical Hypothyroidism? And to Treat It?
Even a minor hormone imbalance can cause your body's immune system and metabolism to be negatively impacted. Discover how to help your body correct these imbalances.
Does it feel like weight loss is an uphill battle? That you’re always tired, you struggle to maintain your happiness, and you can’t remember things like you use to? It could be that you suffer from issues with your thyroid, also known as subclinical hypothyroidism.
Subclinical Hypothyroidism is an Early & Mild Form of Hypothyroidism
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped organ located at the front of your neck. It plays a vital role in producing thyroid hormones (T4 and T3). These hormones support your heart, brain, energy levels, digestion, menstrual cycle, and metabolism.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where your body either produces too little of these hormones OR sub-optimal levels of these hormones. Subclinical hypothyroidism is a very common and early form of hypothyroidism (even with "normal" labs). It’s deemed “subclinical” because the thyroid hormone levels aren’t low enough to be considered hypothyroidism, according to conventional lab ranges.
In fact, it’s easy and even common for subclinical hypothyroidism to go undiagnosed. A 2009 study published by the Mayo Clinic revealed between three and eight percent of individuals suffer from subclinical hypothyroidism.
The risk factor for those who suffer from subclinical hypothyroidism is significant. Research suggests more than 26% of individuals with this early and mild form of low thyroid hormone develop a severe case of hypothyroidism.
What Causes Subclinical Hypothyroidism?
Subclinical and full-blown hypothyroidism occurs when they thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormones. Both conditions are linked to the same causes, which can include, but are not limited to:
- Suffering an injury to the thyroid gland that causes thyroid failure
- A family history of autoimmune thyroid disease
- Receiving radioactive iodine therapy
- Taking medications that contain lithium or iodine
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism & Subclinical Hypothyroidism Are the Same
Potential subclinical hypothyroidism symptoms are the same as for those who have full-bore hypothyroidism. These can include:
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Goiter (swelling at the front of the neck)
- Memory issues
- Difficulty managing cold temperatures
- Dry skin
- A decreased heart rate
- Slowed reflexes
However, it’s important to note that not all those suffering from subclinical hypothyroidism show symptoms. You can still be at risk of developing hypothyroidism when you aren’t suffering from any of these symptoms.
Any decrease in your thyroid function can place strain on your body that may go unnoticed but can have severe long-term effects.
Can You Have Thyroid Issues Your Conventional Practitioner Hasn’t Diagnosed?
It’s not uncommon that we hear patients say, “I have thyroid symptoms, but my general practitioner doesn’t agree.” Conventional Western medicine determines hypothyroidism with a blood test that typically only measures TSH levels.
If your blood work shows that your TSH is within a ‘normal range’ — typically between 4.5mIU and 5.0mIU — doctors are often unwilling to acknowledge that you may be suffering from thyroid issues. And because the symptoms of subclinical hypothyroidism are so similar to other medical issues, it’s easy for them to miss-diagnosed.
How to Treat Thyroid Issues
Thyroid issues stem directly from a hormone imbalance. This means that diet and exercise can only do so much to combat and correct your symptoms. Why? Because diet and exercise can’t restart your thyroid hormone production, especially if there is a broader underlying cause of your thyroid imbalance.
However, bioidentical hormone therapy can help you correct these imbalances and restore your thyroid hormone levels.
In 2011, a research paper published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association concluded, “Bioidentical hormones that are approved by the FDA may be preferred over standard hormone replacement because of their physiologic benefits and safety profile.”
This high safety profile is due to the fact that bioidentical hormones are exactly the same in chemical structure as your own Thyroid hormones. This means your body can utilize them naturally — allowing your body to function at its best.
Will Treating Your Thyroid Issues Help You Lose Weight?
While there is no guarantee with any medical treatment, research suggests that hormone therapy can boost weight loss. A new study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2018 found women taking hormones had substantially less belly fat than those who weren’t.
But it’s important to note that the secret to weight loss success isn’t one-size-fits-all. While some patients may find that addressing their thyroid issues allows them to shed their excess weight and keep it off, other patients may need to tackle their goals from multiple different angles.
This is why our Medically Supervised Weight Loss Program works with you to identify the cause of your weight gain, so you can lose the weight and keep it off.
Subclinical Hypothyroidism FAQs
Is subclinical hypothyroidism and cardiovascular disease linked?
An original investigation published in Diabetes and Endocrinology looked at 9,020 US adults to evaluate the link between subclinical hypothyroidism and mortality through cardiovascular disease. The study, ‘Association of Subclinical Hypothyroidism and Cardiovascular Disease With Mortality’ published February 7, 2020, found that patients with subclinical hypothyroidism were more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular disease-related deaths.
Are there more women with subclinical hypothyroidism than men?
According to a research article published in the Biomedical Journal in February of 2018, “Subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) is more prevalent in women and the risk increases with age.”
How do you know if subclinical hypothyroidism is progressing to overt hypothyroidism?
According to the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, the risk that subclinical hypothyroidism will progress to overt hypothyroidism is high. Early treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism is strongly recommended to prevent this progression.