Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Could your Thyroid be to Blame?
It is estimated that as many as 2.5 million people in the United States live with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a feeling of persistent, often debilitating, exhaustion. Frequently accompanied by nerve pain and an inability to focus and/or concentrate, the condition can majorly interfere with a patient’s daily life.
CFS is an untestable condition making it a diagnosis of exclusion – one decided upon after other testable causes of fatigue are ruled out. Testable causes generally include blood panels assessing the functionality of the adrenal and thyroid glands since both can lead to chronic fatigue if not working properly.
If these tests come back normal you should be in the clear, right? Not so fast. Low thyroid symptoms are very similar to those experienced by CFS sufferers, making it important to further breakdown thyroid testing.
What is the Thyroid Anyway?
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck that is responsible for regulating your body’s metabolism through the production of a hormone called T4, as well as its conversion to T3, the active form of the hormone. T3 is necessary for not only regulating the amount of energy you have, but also body temperature, fat-burning capabilities, the sleep/wake cycle, and more.
With the thyroid being so important to overall body function, it is routine to order a thyroid test to rule out thyroid issues as the cause of excessive fatigue.
So What’s The Problem?
The fly in the ointment is conventional medicine’s accepted standard for how a thyroid test is read.
A standard thyroid panel measures a patient’s level of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone.) This level is based primarily on your production of the T4 hormone. If this number is within normal range, your TSH levels will show normal on a lab test. But often, a patient can be producing normal amounts of T4 while not being able to properly convert it to the biologically active T3. If this step isn’t completed, the patient will have all the symptoms of low thyroid, including body temperature, weight and mood fluctuations, and chronic fatigue, even though test results are normal.
If you suffer from chronic fatigue it’s important to identify the underlying cause. The doctors at Infinity Wellness Center don’t consider TSH to be the most accurate indicator of overall thyroid function. As specialists in thyroid issues, we know how often they go hand-in-hand with CFS. Let us help determine if treating your thyroid gland can offer relief from chronic fatigue.