Are you constantly tired, even when you’re well rested and haven't engaged in excessive amounts of strenuous activities?
Do you have major brain fog, or perhaps even constantly feel cold, even in the summer?
You know you are trying to stay healthy, but still feel constantly run down.
You could be a victim of an un-diagnosed case of hypothyroidism.
What is Hypothyroidism and what are its symptoms?
Hypothyroidism occurs when the body produces a suboptimal amount of thyroid hormones.
These hormones are generally responsible for the organization of three of the body’s critical functions: metabolism, growth, and energy.
People with hypothyroidism are essentially hampered in these three major facets of their health, which exhibit a variety of symptoms.
Some of the most common manifestations of the disorder includes:
- Weight gain, even when dieting very hard
- Cold sensation
- General body weakness, especially in the muscles and bones
- Hair loss (alopecia)
- Skin disorders
- Emotional depression
- Brain fog
What causes Hypothyroidism?
Poor lifestyle choices, poor sleep, genetics, toxins, poor diet choices, autoimmune triggers, underlying medical conditions, and trauma are some of the most common causes of why people experience hypothyroidism.
But, in most cases, it is caused by an autoimmune disorder which causes inflammation of the thyroid gland, called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
As an autoimmune disorder, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis causes the body’s antibodies to attack and subsequently damage the thyroid gland.
This is a kind of anomaly that happens in the human body, shared by all autoimmune conditions in general.
How is the disorder diagnosed?
The most accurate and effective way of knowing whether you have the condition or not is a series of blood test.
The blood makes for the best indicator of the thyroid disorder due to the serum concentrations of two hormones.
Namely, the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine (T4).
These are the hormone which drives the thyroid to secrete its hormone and the actual hormone secreted, respectively.
Generally-speaking, a sub-optimal value in thyroxine indicates strongly that a person is suffering from hypothyroidism.
The presence of thyroid-stimulating hormone, on the other hand, suggests the inefficiency of the hormone itself in stimulating the release of thyroxine.
The two are actually related.
However, an elevated level of TSH and normal reading on T4 might also insinuate the likelihood of mild hypothyroidism.
In addition, TSH and T4 could look perfectly fine, but if you have suboptimal T4 to T3 conversion, you will also experience hypothyroidism.
The inactive form of thyroid hormone T4 converts to the active form T3 (triiodothyronine) which is what facilitates the majority of Thyroid mediated functions in the body.
On top of that, even if you have in range TSH, T4 and T3 serum concentrations in your blood work, you could still be triggering Hashimotos Thyroiditis via diet choices or environmental toxins that exacerbate leaky gut.
It is not uncommon for individuals to experience blatant hypothyroidism symptoms while still having perfect looking blood work, simply due to the ignorance of their physician failing to also look at their inflammation levels in the body, diet and environment, as well as three very important blood markers of Thyroid health that are commonly overlooked entirely.
These three markers are Thyroid peroxidase (TPO), Thyroglobulin (Tg) Antibodies and Reverse T3.
How else can you “potentially” diagnose hypothyroidism without blood tests?
While blood work is the gold standard for assessing your current thyroid status, it goes without saying that it is time consuming and expensive to get blood tests every few weeks, and a cheap, quick and easy way to evaluate if your thyroid health is trending in a positive direction between blood tests would be invaluable.
Fortunately, I learned about a way this can be done when I was in the process of restoring my own thyroid health.
You can test for hypothyroidism with a thermometer at home to accomplish this.
As a caveat, this method is by no means a concrete method of diagnosing whether or not you have hypothyroidism.
But if you are looking for an easy yet cheap—or free—way of knowing you might have the disorder; you may do so by checking your body’s temperature with a thermometer.
Yes, that same thing that you either put under your armpit or in your mouth to see how warm your body is.
You probably already have one lying in one corner of your house.
But if you do not, a little visit from the nearest drug store or buying one off Amazon will suffice.
A high quality thermometer is not cost-prohibitive, and it will prove to be an invaluable tool throughout your life when assessing how micro-changes in your lifestyle or diet impact your thyroid status.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to have to get a blood test every single time I change every little thing in my life to see if it negatively or positively impacts my thyroid health.
If you would look back at one of the symptoms of the health condition, you’d see the “cold sensation” in the list, right?
A healthy functioning thyroid is necessary to maintain normal body temperature, and if you have hypothyroidism you will very likely experience lower than normal body temperature.
You literally feel cold with hypothyroidism because your body temperature is lower than it should be.
How To Test For Hypothyroidism With A Thermometer
Now, there is a common misconception about the use of a thermometer when it comes to getting an accurate reading.
Leaving a thermometer under your armpit or in your mouth for 30-60 seconds will not cut it.
It has to be longer than that.
5 minutes minimum if you check your temperature orally under your tongue.
10 minutes minimum if you check your temperature using your armpit.
The difference between letting the thermometer sit in for a mere 10 seconds and for a longer 10 minutes is massive.
One is significantly lower than the other, and thereby, not the most accurate of two outcomes.
If I take my temperature when I wake up and only leave it in for 10 seconds, the thermometer will show that I am as low as 96 degrees Fahrenheit.
If I wait the full 10 minutes though, the thermometer is able to pickup an accurate reading after acclimating to the temperature in my mouth or armpit, and it will show that I am 98.0 to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
10 seconds is simply too short a time for any good working thermometer to get the precise values.
You would not want to make a mistake of “misdiagnosing” yourself as having hypothyroidism just because of a faulty thermometer reading.
But, like I said, merely tracking your body’s temperature per se is not the most definitive way to know whether or not you have the disease.
But, it certainly does help in giving you a rough idea of how bad your hypothyroidism is, and if it is trending in a positive or negative direction.
Typically, with some lifestyle and dietary adjustments, hypothyroidism can be fixed—especially if it’s just a dietary problem—and using your body’s improving temperature is one good tell-tale sign for that assessing your progress as you remove potential autoimmune triggers from your diet and start choosing more micronutrient dense foods that hit your iodine and selenium requirements, or any of the other myriad of nutrients you could potentially be deficient in.
To reiterate, this method I mentioned is by no means a substitute to an actual clinical test required to properly diagnose hypothyroidism.
The Ideal Body Temperature
The average temperature of a healthy adult with a healthy thyroid is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37.0 degrees Celsius mid-afternoon.
Upon waking, the average healthy temperature is between 97.8 to 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your body temperature should trend up from the low 98's up to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the morning into the afternoon.
If it is less than that, you could have hypothyroidism, or you could be under-treated if you are already being treated for hypothyroidism.
Alternatively, it may be indicative adrenal dysfunction.
If your body temperature varies on a daily basis (comparing measurements at the same time of day) by over 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit, you may have adrenal dysfunction.
If you are checking your temperature in your armpit, it is typically advised to add 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit to your result to get an accurate result.
Armpit temperatures are typically about 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit lower than oral under the tongue temperature readings.
Which Thermometer To Buy
Patients with hypothyroidism consistently report that Mercury thermometers are more accurate than digital thermometers.
If you want to compare digital thermometers to the gold standard Mercury thermometers until you find a digital one that is formidable in accuracy, by all means do that, but always keep a Mercury thermometer on hand as a reference point for a more consistently accurate reading.
Most digital thermometers tend to be off by up to a full degree.