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Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Insufficiency

Michael E. Doyle, MD

Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Insufficiency

Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Insufficiency

Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Insufficiency

Darien Integrative Medicine
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Hi, I’m Dr. Michael Doyle. I’d like to talk to you for a minute about two of the most important substances in the human body — thyroid hormone and cortisol.  These two hormones are the foundation of human metabolism and are as important to your health as gasoline and oil are to your car.

Thyroid hormone actually refers to four hormones made by the thyroid gland. I think of thyroid hormones as hormones as the dimmer switch on human metabolism. They literally go into every single cell in your body, including adrenal glands, to boost metabolism. The most common problem with the thyroid is low thyroid function, also called hypothyroidism. The symptoms of hypothyroidism are widespread and extremely varied. They range from fatigue, low temperature, depression, weight gain, and hair loss to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, early heart disease and much more.

Your adrenal glands also make a variety of hormones. The most important of these is called cortisol. Contrary to popular opinion, this natural form of cortisone is not an evil substance that makes you fat. In fact, cortisol is a crucial hormone that allows your body to adapt to stress, to produce energy and to control inflammation. Cortisol, also known as hydrocortisone, is also necessary for maintaining normal thyroid function.

Situations that might require increased cortisol include infections, injuries and emotional stresses. Or even breathing. That’s right, cortisol is so important that a person who completely stops making it will die within a couple of days. Fortunately, complete failure to make cortisol is pretty rare. But milder deficiencies of cortisol appear to be much more common. This condition is often called adrenal insufficiency, and in certain severe cases it is called, Addison’s Disease. Common symptoms of adrenal insufficiency include fatigue, low blood pressure, dizziness, palpitations and anxiety. Since cortisol helps control inflammation, low cortisol also appears to contribute to allergies and autoimmune diseases.

We’ve known how to treat low thyroid for more than one hundred years and we’ve understood cortisol treatment for over half a century. Unfortunately it sometimes seems as if this is all but forgotten. Proper treatment of these conditions requires restoring and maintaining a healthy balance of both thyroid and adrenal hormones. In general, the best way to do this is to treat these shortages by simply replacing what is actually missing. That is, by using bio-identical thyroid and cortisol to a restore healthy levels of these hormones.

The bottom line is that hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency are common, important and highly treatable problems. To learn more about effective treatment for thyroid and adrenal insufficiency please review my website or call my office to schedule an appointment to begin your evaluation and treatment.