Something’s Just Not Right

By Debbie Haikal, The Common Sense R.N.

Currently, there are more than 59 million Americans with thyroid issues. Most are undiagnosed yet still know something is just not right. The thyroid is a key regulator of energy, mood and metabolism. It influences and collaborates with every system in your body. Living with symptoms of thyroid disease presents real day-to-day challenges and misery. Unfortunately, women are seven times more likely than men to have thyroid conditions. Is your thyroid making you fat? Is your thyroid making you lose hair, feel bloated or exhausted? Sometimes fatigue and brain fog create a need for additional medical support until the symptoms start to clear. At Wellness Alternatives we offer education, testing, real help, and sometimes even a shoulder to cry on (that would be me, the Nurse Facilitator).

It is noteworthy that Mary Shomon, About.com’s advocate on thyroid disease, believes Oprah, who lives with thyroid dysfunction, missed the opportunity to help millions of women feel better. Shomon writes, “Imagine if Oprah had said “Every woman out there who is tired, depressed, overweight, has no sex drive, fertility problems, erratic periods, hair falling out, etc. – get these specific thyroid tests, and here is how to understand them!”” I agree. This devastating epidemic is preventable.

1. Testing. If you believe you are having thyroid symptoms, ask your doctor to order T3, T4, Free T3, Free T4, Reverse T3, TSH, and TPO/TAA Thyroid Antibodies. If he or she does not honor your request, get a second opinion.

2. Understanding labs. Here are a few points to get you started. T3 and T4 can be normal yet these thyroid hormones may not be accessible for cellular use. TSH levels outside 0.3 -3.0 certainly can explain why you are not feeling well. TSH of 3.0 or above diagnoses hypothyroidism according to Functional standards. If your TSH is normal and you are having symptoms, consider it ‘inconclusive’ and educate yourself about Hashimoto’s. One book I like is Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Labs Are Normal? by Dr. Kharrazian.

3. Find the cause and find health. I believe the common sense and reasonable expectation is to not drug symptoms into oblivion. Medication will not repair or slow down disease progression. Most thyroid conditions are driven by an autoimmune component. As a patient, it is your right and responsibility to be an advocate for you. Some topics to discuss with your doctor: Is your thyroid making you sick? If your immune system is producing antibodies that attack the thyroid and reduce thyroid function, how can you stop it? What are the contributing patterns and how do you correct these?

Functional Medicine and Integrative physicians generally have experience with hard-to-diagnose thyroid imbalances, autoimmune diseases, and “normal” labs with persistent symptoms. Dr. David Peterson of Wellness Alternatives says, “Thyroid Imbalances can be tricky to diagnose. Metabolic Syndrome, Insulin Resistance, and gut disorders can be associated patterns. It is my job to understand how the thyroid patterns are connected and how they can be corrected. Diet and lifestyle changes, along with immune system support and modulation, can halt and even stop thyroid disease progression.”

Questions? Interested in Functional Medicine? Call Wellness Alternatives, 636-227-4949. Stlwa.com.