Ask Dr. Peters: What causes a thyroid attack?

Dr. Justus PetersBy Justus Peters, M.D.

The thyroid, like all the organs in the body, gets blood flow. As an organ receives blood, it also receives hormones. A thyroid attack occurs when the thyroid is delivered a substantial blow as to render it nonreactive, or even hyper-reactive.

Stressful events such as pregnancy and vaginal deliveries have been known to cause hypothyroid or acute thyroiditis.

Even stressful events such as motor vehicle accidents can render the thyroid hypo-reactive.

I like to tell my patients that the thyroid is a fragile reactive organ and thus environmentally challenged by what we do in our daily lives.

You may have a normal thyroid your entire life, until possibly even a heart attack.  That is enough stress to cause thyroiditis.

On annual exams, it is important to check the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is the hormone released from the brain to tell the thyroid to work.  It is also important to check the Free T3, and Free T4, which are the hormones released from the thyroid gland itself.

By feedback mechanism, the thyroid gland and the brain work in symbiosis, but when the thyroid gland is not working, the brain has to put out more TSH to fire up the thyroid gland.

This is called hypothyroidism.  Even slight elevations in the TSH can be a sign of subclinical hypothyroidism.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain or loss, headaches, hair loss, abdominal bloating, palpitations, cold intolerance, among other symptoms.

Don’t hesitate to see a doctor if you believe you have symptoms of low thyroid.

Until next time, be safe and healthy.

Please e-mail any questions or concerns to me at

 Dr. Justus Turner Peters, a family physician at Glen Rose Medical Center’s Pecan Plantation clinic, received his medical school training at Creighton University School of Medicine in Nebraska and completed his family medicine residency at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Board-certified in family medicine, Dr. Peters’ practice encompasses the care of infants and children as well as adults of all ages. He also conducts ongoing research in the areas of childhood obesity and lower extremity injuries. He serves as the county’s Local Health Authority.

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