Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thoughts for Thursday: The Thyroid Post

Anyone who has been around this blog and/or known me for any amount of time can discern 3 things about me:

1) I have waaaaay too much info rattling around my brain
2) I lovelovelove to help people
3) I’m exceptionally passionate about 3 things (aside from my hubby, family, friends and kittens, that is): health/wellness/nutrition; girlie reproductive issues/health; and thyroid issues.

The things I’m most passionate about have become so because they are things that I have had issues with in the past, have found frustration with conventional wisdom (that isn’t), and have been compelled to do a lot of research and brain picking to get to the best “truth” I can find.

And truth be told, I start looking into a topic because that particular issue has become a burr in my bum. Something going on in my life that I’m just not satisfied with the usual answer of “Don’t worry about it. The labs/tests are normal.”

That’s how I came to have a brain loaded with info on hypothyroidism. And with the stuff going on around me of late – the plethora of people close to me getting the “normal” brush off, stories of doctors refusing to treat a patients, etc.

While I would love to take tons of time to dump my brain onto all of you, my unsuspecting blog public, I don't want to bore you with all the details of my life, my past, my progress, and my current plans... unless you /really, really/ want me to (ie... just ask, I'll spill! ;)

I do want to share what I know so that you know how smart I am (LOL!), and also to know that I feel your pain and frustration at feeling like your lazy and crazy and fat and tired and sick and tired and achey and tired and freezing and tired and oh yeah, the doctor doesn’t want to hear about it anymore so just go on a diet, lose weight and you’ll be fine.

::bangs head on desk:: (by the way, that’s now my “official” “Indian” name… LOVE IT! Thanks Julee!)

The other reason for sharing is to give some hope. Yes, there’s a loooot of people struggling with issues that can be related to their thyroid, that are either diagnosed and un/under treated (Hellooooo Oprah!), or undiagnosed because hey! Your labs?! They’re “normal”. Get over it. But there are some of us out there who are finding a way to get the right treatment from a medical professional (I heart my Naturopath!), find what works for our bodies nutritionally and physically, and how to take care of ourselves emotionally.

I believe that it is possible to go from this:

To this:

To this:

(which isn't me...yet. ;)

Despite that silly little gland in my throat.

After all... you've seen my before/progress photos:

My overarching disclaimers:

#1, I’m not a doctor, nor to I even claim to play one on the internets. I’ve thought about it, but the time and money involved is too great.

#1a. Anything you read here is no substitute for actual medical advice.

#2 This is in no way, shape or form an assumption or assertion that everyone with a weight issue has a thyroid issue. People with truly normal functioning thyroids have weight issues, just as people with no weight issues have malfunctioning thyroids. It’s a “here’s the info, if the shoe fits, I’ll show you how to find a cobbler to fix said shoe” type of post, and again, an opportunity to empty my brain. If it empowers you to take charge of your health, all the better.

#3 The symptoms I list below may or may not indicate a thyroid issue. There's a LOT of different illness that are similar, and can be co-occuring with each other such as Fibromyalgia, chronic/adrenal fatigue, PCOS, metabolic syndrome, etc. Checking the thyroid first is a good first place to look when you know something is wrong, and can help open the door to the true heart of the matter.

First and formost, Here's a list of common symptoms:
Fatigue [not the oh gee I'm tired... it's the full body achey/weary/tired to the core fatigue]
Headaches & Migraines
Easy Weight Gain
Fluid Retention
Anxiety & Panic Attacks
Hair Loss
Poor Memory
Poor Concentration
Low Sex Drive
Unhealthy Nails
Dry Skin & Hair
Cold Intolerance /
Heat Intolerance
Low Motivation
Low Ambition
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
And a whole lot more

Secondly, here's a mess of links for you:

The 'official' guidelines on Hyper & Hypothyroidism (the hypo stuff starts on page 7, and the TSH lab range is in the 2nd to last paragraph on page 6.)

[quick TSH 101 lesson: a low TSH indicates that the thyroid is functioning normally or is over active, ie processing too much of the T3 & T4 floating around your body. The higher the number, the lower the thyroid is functioning... think of a wet sponge - it can't absorb anymore liquid so any excess just sits there.]

If you have nodules on your thyroid:

Info on lab ranges:

Article on "normal" ranges

and another one...

[Side note: the less than scientific 'ideal' range where a lot of people to feel good, asymptomatic and highly functional is 1.0-1.5.... if you're TSH is in the 2.0+ region and you have a lot of the symptoms, talk to your doctor, endo, naturopath, whomever about getting treatment.]

A checklist:

Another great site that also deals with hypothyroidism, but from a different approach, and looks at complementary medicine as well. This one helped me a lot when I was in the info gathering stage:

This site has some good info, but it took me a while to appreciate it because it’s very ‘in your face’/ activist oriented. If that appeals to you, this will help get you geared up for a talk with your doctor.

And my friend Julee's SparkPeople group that has way more info than I could even hope to contain here:

Finally, YOU are your own medical advocate! Most of the stuff I included just scratches the surface but has reputable/reliable information, and enough to plop a binder on your doctors desk and say "here... educate yourself". Do NOT be afraid to ask for a test to be run and then ask for a hard copy of your lab results. It's YOUR blood that was tested, it's YOUR medical information, you have the right to it. You may have to sign a release, but who cares if that means the difference between knowing what's going on in your body or being told what's going on.

That all being said, hope this was helpful and if you have questions or want more info on my experience, let me know!

1 comment:

Amy said...

Thanks for the info. I'd been kind of worried about my thyroid, but my labs came back really normal, 1.2, but I've been losing a little more hair than I thought I should been and I've been super tired. My doctor didn't seem concerned at all. He put me on an anti-depressant, and they never seem to help. My mom has been taking things for years for hypothyroidism, and I'm just afraid that it is going to catch up to me. I'm sick of doctors telling me there is nothing wrong. It stinks.