2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Your Brain: Is Low Thyroid a Factor?

Click here for the original post.

We continue this month with our series on why your brain might not be functioning the way you feel it should.

Hypothyroidism, or an underfunctioning thyroid gland (commonly called low thyroid), is often overlooked by doctors as a cause of poor memory. It’s neglected because many physicians rely solely on a not-very-good blood test to confirm or reject a diagnosis of low thyroid.

The test is called TSH, for thyroid-stimulating hormone. Understand that a blood test result of high TSH=low thyroid function.

For years it’s been gospel that the magic TSH number was 5. Any TSH result higher than 5 merited treatment, otherwise not. Unfortunately, the vast majority of physicians waited until their patients’ TSH surpassed 5 before starting treatment. This can translate into years of a woman feeling crummy due to low thyroid: fatigued, sluggish, and mentally slow.

Yet many physicians, myself included, estimate that almost 25% of women entering menopause show clinical signs of underactive thyroid. Fortunately, more and more endocrinologists now treat any TSH above 3 with thyroid replacement. Some regard a result of even 2.5 or higher as worth watching.

I use the TSH blood test along with basal body temperature testing, which you do yourself, to determine if a woman needs thyroid replacement. If either is abnormal, I write a prescription for Armour thyroid.

Back to the mental changes of low thyroid: the best way to describe them is “fuzzy.” You might have trouble remembering simple things, concentrating, or performing easy tasks like adding a column of figures. The changes can be remarkably subtle, like needing to have a joke explained or being accused of repeating yourself.

Conversely, the two most common words I hear from patients who are a few weeks into thyroid replacement are “sharper” and “warmer.” Their mental function has improved and they’ve stopped feeling cold all the time, one of the hallmark symptoms of underactive thyroid.


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Upcoming Workshops


**Winter Solstice Celebration: An evening of Acupuncture and Shamanic Healing
Tuesday, December 17, 5:45–7:30pm
Hosted by Katie Oberlin, HTCP and Mari Stecker, LAc

Course Fee: $75.00

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to enter the stillpoint of the Winter Solstice, reflect on the lessons of 2019, and set intentions for the new year. This will be an evening of individual and group healing, ceremony, and celebration. More →

Recent Health Tips

  • Infertility Issues? Start With The Guy

    I’ve lost track of the number of couples we treat at WholeHealth Chicago who are involved in one of the hormone injection/surgical procedure stops on the conveyor belt of infertility centers. Currently, it’s estimated that 15 to 20 percent of couples are struggling with infertility, half of them due to male factors. The infertility docs are nice enough and certainly well-meaning, but I note a Read More

  • Issues with Endocrinologists: Thyroid Approaches and Big Pharma

    My beefs with endocrinologists pretty much center on how they manage thyroid gland concerns, though they rarely win prizes for managing adrenal issues either. I don’t know any endocrinologists personally and rarely refer my patients to them. Occasionally, a patient with newly diagnosed hypothyroidism (low thyroid) will want to confirm the diagnosis with an endocrinologist. I suggest she prepare for a scolding if she’s taking Read More

  • Six Beefs With Rheumatologists

    If you find yourself in the waiting room of a rheumatologist, you’re likely there because your joints hurt and have been hurting, often for years. You’ve been getting by on aspirin or Advil for the pain, but with things worsening your primary care doctor suggests you should see a joint specialist, a rheumatologist. And because there’s a shortage of physicians in this specialty, your appointment Read More

Join our Discount Program!

Member benefits include 10% off all your purchases. Low, one-time membership fee of $25 ($35 for family).

MORE INFORMATION