Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.
Are you sure that your thyroid problem is properly diagnosed and treated? Unfortunately, the reality is that most people struggle to get diagnosed, are not adequately treated and continue to have multiple hypothyroid symptoms having normal lab test results.
There are 5 most crucial mistakes patients and their doctors make when dealing with thyroid disease. You CAN avoid them by learning more about your condition.
1. All women with thyroid problems rely on their doctor to order the right tests to make a diagnosis.
Conventional medicine relies on the TSH test alone for the diagnosis of thyroid disease, however some doctors also order total T4 in addition. If one or both of these two parameters are out of normal range a diagnosis of hypothyroidism is made.
A current method of standard thyroid care is thyroid hormone replacement therapy. As soon as a patient has the TSH level within the normal range using thyroid medication conventional doctors consider their work to be done.
This simplified procedure makes many people think that thyroid problems are quick and an easy fix when a thyroid medication can cure all thyroid problems. In fact, the opposite is true.
On average it takes between 6 and 8 years for thyroid patients to get diagnosed and about 70% of women with thyroid problems continue to have hypothyroid symptoms despite taking medication and having normal lab test results.Conventional thyroid treatments give no other alternatives.
2. Women with thyroid problems who take thyroid medication can easily lose weight.
In fact, most people cannot lose weight that they gained before the diagnosis of the hypothyroidism was made. There are three main reasons for that:
2.1 Lack of proper diagnosis and treatment.
Many women with thyroid problems are told by their doctors that they have hypothyroidism and do not know that Hashimoto’s disease causes it in 90% of cases. Since thyroid replacement therapy is the only treatment conventional medicine has to offer for hypothyroidism most doctors do not bother to test for thyroid antibodies and investigate why your thyroid is out of balance.
Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease are NOT the same. Hypothyroidism is a deficiency of thyroid hormones while Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease when the immune system becomes unbalanced. It can take many years to develop Hashimoto’s and may or may not result in the destruction of the thyroid gland and progress to hypothyroidism.
There are more than 22 types of thyroid dysfunctions that can lead to hypothyroidism and not all of them can be diagnosed using standard thyroid tests and corrected with thyroid medication. Without a proper diagnosis and limited treatment options most women with thyroid problems continue to suffer and cannot lose weight.
2.2 Mismanagement of thyroid disease.
Normal reference range for thyroid varies from lab to lab and remains very broad at 0.5-5.0 in many countries leaving many people undiagnosed, untreated and undertreated.
According to new guidelines for thyroid issued by the American Association of clinical endocrinologists in 2002, new recommended normal range for TSH is 0.3-3.0. More people can be considered hypothyroid using these new guidelines and require treatment because even a mildly elevated TSH puts them at a higher risk of heart disease, heart attacks and other health conditions.
However, having TSH within the normal reference range does not guarantee being symptoms free. According to recent research studies:
- Women with thyroid problems who have high normal TSH still can be symptomatic.
- If T4 and/or T3 thyroid hormones are at suboptimal levels most women continue to have hypothyroid symptoms.
- Women with Hashimoto’s disease and normal TSH but TPO thyroid antibodies over 120 still can experience many symptoms such as chronic fatigue, dry hair, chronic irritability, chronic nervousness, a history of breast cancer and early miscarriage and lower quality-of-life. Conventional medicine largely ignores high thyroid antibodies levels and does not offer any treatment despite strong evidence that they can cause harmful effects.
In fact, the normal reference range is NOT an optimal range for optimal health and weight loss with hypothyroidism. The ultimate goal for optimizing thyroid medication to improve hypothyroid symptoms and support your weight loss efforts is TSH around 1.0 and free T4 and T3 high normal. Some people feel their best when TSH is suppressed or in the high normal range.
2.3 Associated health conditions other than thyroid.
If your thyroid numbers are optimal but you continue to have symptoms it may be not your thyroid alone that causes your health trouble. The truth is that thyroid problems seldom come alone. Women with thyroid disease often have other hormonal, adrenal and blood sugar issues that also negatively affect their thyroid function and cannot be helped with thyroid medication.
Identifying and correcting an underlying imbalance is the key to improving thyroid function, addressing remaining symptoms and achieving successful weight loss with hypothyroidism.
3. Believe that all women with thyroid problems have to take medication for life.
You may be surprised but there are many types of thyroid dysfunctions that do not require thyroid medication to improve thyroid function.
Adrenal fatigue is one of the major causes of secondary hypothyroidism when low thyroid function occurs due to malfunctioning or exhausted adrenals. When the adrenal glands are depleted, their ability to manage stress becomes compromised and they start to down-regulate the body’s energy production as a part of a survival mechanism.
To preserve energy adrenals slow down the thyroid which reduces output of thyroid hormones and a person becomes sub-clinically or clinically hypothyroid. Taking thyroid medication increases the metabolism and energy output that can bring only temporarily relief of hypothyroid symptoms. It makes adrenals work in overdrive and precipitates adrenal crisis that results in energy crush and failing recovery.
In this case supporting adrenal function can resolve thyroid problems and hypothyroid symptoms. The faster a person recovers from adrenal fatigue the faster the symptoms of hypothyroidism will subside.
Hormonal imbalances such as estrogen dominance can contribute to sub-clinical and clinical hypothyroidism by increasing thyroid-binding proteins in the bloodstream and binding thyroid hormones. It prevents thyroid hormone from their metabolic action and causes hypothyroid symptoms that can be helped by balancing hormones such as estrogen and progesterone.
Some types of thyroiditis which is an inflammation of the thyroid gland require thyroid hormone replacement only for a limited time:
- Postpartum thyroiditisis a common cause of thyroid problems in young women that occurs between 4 and 6 months after the delivery of a baby. It causes temporary thyrotoxicosis with hyperthyroid symptoms that are followed by hypothyroidism that resolves in 80% to 90% of women within 2 years.
- Silent or painless thyroiditis is very similar to postpartum thyroiditis but can occur both in men and women at any time.
- Sub-acute thyroiditis is very similar to painless thyroiditis with the exception of the symptoms of thyroidal pain. The recovery rate in 18 months is 95%.
- Acute or infectious thyroiditis can be caused by infection and requires temporary treatment with thyroid hormone only occasionally. Symptoms vary from thyroidal pain, systemic illness, goiter and hypothyroidism. Once the infection is treated the symptoms usually subside.
4. Hope that removing or destroying the thyroid gland with RA will solve all thyroid problems.
While partial or total thyroidectomy is justified in the case of thyroid cancer it does not bring relief to a person that has Hashimoto’s or Grave’s disease.
Removing the thyroid gland does not do anything to stop the autoimmune attack, balance the immune system or lower the risk of other autoimmune conditions.
Many women with thyroid problems do not realize or are not informed by their doctors that they will become hypothyroid after RA iodine treatment, partial or total thyroidectomy and will have to take prescription drugs to replace the missing hormones.
Unfortunately, the reality is that most people who don’t have a thyroid do not feel well on T4-only medication which is a standard thyroid treatment. Physiological doses of T4-only medication such as Synthroid do not compensate for the portion of T3 that is produced within the fully functioning thyroid gland. Taking higher dose of T4-only drugs to compensate for missing T3 as alternative can suppress TSH too much and cause many undesirable side effects.
Furthermore, people without a thyroid rely on thyroid hormone conversions from metabolically inactive T4 into its active T3 metabolite that usually happens in the thyroid gland itself and in the peripheral tissues such as gut, spleen, brain and liver. People without a thyroid who have digestive issues and/or sluggish liver also have impaired conversion of thyroid hormones that leads to suboptimal and low levels of T3 and multiple hypothyroid symptoms.
Most women with thyroid problems who have lost their thyroids need to optimize their digestion and liver function to support the hormone conversions and add some T3 to compensate for a portion of this hormone that is not produced within the thyroid gland any more. Standard medical thyroid care does not look into these issues and offer any solution.
5. Think that all women with thyroid problems can be helped with iodine
Supplementing with iodine can help to restore thyroid function only when a genuine iodine deficiency is found and a person does not have genetic predisposition to an autoimmune thyroid disease. Testing for iodine deficiency can help to find out if you need to use iodine supplements.
In most developed countries hypothyroidism and an increase in incidence of Hashimoto’s disease are attributed to an excess of iodine rather than to iodine deficiency. Moreover, high iodine intake can worsen the Hashimoto’s by causing a flare-up and more destruction of thyroid tissue. Adding thyroid supplements or immune boosters containing high amounts of iodine is like “putting gasoline on a fire”.
Do you like what you read and would like to read more? Subscribe to the Outsmart Disease thyroid blog updates and get your FREE e-mail course Nutritional guide for Hashimoto’s disease.
Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My Lab Tests Are Normal: A Revolutionary Breakthrough In Understanding Hashimoto’s Disease and Hypothyroidism by Dr.D.Kharrazian, Morgan James Publishing; 1st edition, 2010
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome – Reclaim Your Energy and Vitality with Clinically Proven Natural Programs by Dr.M.Lam, D.Lam, Adrenal Institue Press; 1st edition, 2012
Secrets about Bioidentical Hormones to Lose Fat and Prevent Cancer, Heart Disease, Menopause, and Andropause, by Optimizing Adrenals, Thyroid, Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone, and Growth Hormone! by Y.L.Wright, lulu.com, 2010
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists medical guidelines for clinical practice for the evaluation and treatment of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, Endocrine Practice Vol 8 No. 6, November/December, 2002, 457
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Affects Symptom Load and Quality of Life Unrelated to Hypothyroidism: A Prospective Case–Control Study in Women Undergoing Thyroidectomy for Benign Goiter. Thyroid. February 2011, Vol. 21, No. 2: 161-167