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January is Thyroid Awareness Month. I work with a number of patients struggling with symptoms that may be related to an underlying thyroid problem. While the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend screening all adults for thyroid problems, those with symptoms suggesting the possibility of a thyroid condition (see table below) deserve careful attention.

Individuals that are experiencing symptoms may have already had lab studies performed and told that nothing was wrong. Those individuals may be experiencing subclinical thyroid disease. In the area of functional medicine, integrative physicians may apply different ranges of what is considered “normal” when interpreting a patient’s thyroid lab studies. The assessment and treatment must be of course be individualized as there are a number of other medical conditions that can mimic a thyroid imbalance. Using a detailed history, physical exam and an expanded thyroid function panel (lab testing), an individualized approach to therapy can result.

A common list of thyroid symptoms may include:

Sign or SymptomAffected Patients (%)
Skin changes (dry or coarse skin)97
Slow speech91
Eyelid edema90
Cold sensation89
Decreased sweating89
Cold skin83
Thick tongue82
Facial edema79
Coarse hair76
Skin pallor67

If thyroid problems run in your family, if you’ve been told you have a “borderline thyroid condition”, or if you’ve considered getting your thyroid checked because of the above symptoms, I am able to help with testing and interpretation of those results.