Women and Their Thyroid

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Dr. David Pollack

Dr. David Pollack

More and more women are being diagnosed with thyroid problems—usually a sluggish thyroid called hypothyroid. “What concerns me is that many are just putting this condition up to genetics, often stating, ‘My mother has thyroid problems’ or ‘my sister has that,’ says Dr. David Pollack, of Pollack Wellness Institute, in Commack.

“While thyroid issues are becoming increasingly common, it is not genetics that is the root of the problem,” adds Pollack. The thyroid is a small gland in the neck that produces hormones for the body. There are actually two major hormones produced by the thyroid, T4 and calcitonin. T4 is what is often referred to as the inactive thyroid hormone. This hormone helps control the body’s metabolism affecting varying functions from weight, mood, sleep, digestion, sweat, hair and other important and varied processes. T4 must be converted (by the liver) to the active hormone T3. This is done using enzymes and carrier proteins (thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and thyroglobulin (TG)).

TSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that controls the release of T4 and is often one of very few hormones checked by most doctors, says Pollack. The other hormone mentioned, calcitonin, is a hormone that controls, as one might expect, calcium balance in the blood, opposing the actions of the parathyroid (another even smaller set of glands in the neck). For the majority of women (and men) with thyroid issues, the problem arises when the body’s immune system starts targeting the enzymes and carrier proteins, TPO and TG. “These, remember, are not made in the thyroid but are required for proper thyroid system function,” explains Pollack. “This breakdown is an autoimmune disease named Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and is the most common form of thyroid disease in the U.S., accounting for 60 to70 percent of all cases.

“Most people diagnosed with hypothyroidism have this form but often are unaware and have not been properly examined to ensure a correct diagnosis,” continues Pollack. “[Earlier in the article, it was] mentioned that the most common form of thyroid disease involves compounds made in the liver and attacked by the immune system. This hypothyroid problem is actually not a proper thyroid problem at all! It is more likely an inflammatory issue with roots often far from the thyroid itself.”

The first step toward health is knowledge of what is actually happening, explains Pollack. “In fact, some might argue that the most common therapy for hypothyroidism, including levothyroxine and other synthetic thyroid hormones, may actually worsen the problem over time by causing more inflammatory reactions, increasing the autoimmune process. Knowing this, we can properly assess the situation and apply appropriate treatments to help reverse the process and bring the body back to balance.”

Pollack advises to always use the help of an experienced holistic doctor when making any significant changes to one’s health regimen.

Source: Dr. David Pollack. Location: Pollack Wellness Institute (formerly Creating Wellness Center) is located at 66 Commack Rd., Commack. For more information, call 631-462-0801 or visit CreatingWellnessLI.com

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