We have never had as much thyroid drama as today. It’s a true modern-age pandemic which 13 millions Americans have been diagnosed. However, there is a belief that there might be another 13 million Americans who have it but they simple don’t know it because of a misdiagnosis.
The most common issue is an underactive thyroid also known as hypothyroidism. The thyroid is a hormone-producing gland, largely responsible for our energy and metabolism – in other words, it’s our gas pedal.
What are the most common symptoms you should look for if you suspect an underactive thyroid? Here is a list:
- fatigue, exhaustion
- feeling run down and sluggish
- mood swings
- difficulty concentrating
- brain fog
- unexplained or excessive weight gain
- dry, coarse and/or itchy skin
- dry, coarse and/or thinning hair
- hair loss
- brittle nails
- feeling cold
- muscle loss
- low sex drive
- painful PMS
- infertility and miscarriage
- high cholesterol
You don’t have to experience all of them – some people experience most and some just a few.
It’s very likely that if you are ticking many of these symptom boxes and told your doctor about it, he or she would have ordered “standard” thyroid blood work which came back “negative”. As a result of this diagnosis, you might have been asked to take anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, cholesterol-lowering drugs, asked to “relax”, “exercise more” or have even been told that “it’s all in your head”. Ouch.
Yup, we have heard that too.
Practitioners who really understand thyroid health (very few of these but they do exist) are baffled and outranged at the standard medicine’s ignorance and unwillingness to change the diagnosis methods.
So why are so many of us flying under the thyroid radar? Why are so many of us undiagnosed in spite of feeling run down, fatigued, moody, struggling with weight, anxiety, depression, hair loss and infertility?
There are many reasons, but let’s just focus on the key ones:
1. Insufficient tests
The “standard thyroid test” a typical doctor would order is TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and T4 (this is just one of the hormones produced by the thyroid). This is a very incomplete way of seeing the full picture as it has been repeatedly shown that many people have a “normal” TSH and T4 in spite of showing all signs on hypothyroidism. However, when more complete tests are done like T3 (this is also a thyroid hormone but it’s bio-active for the body cells to use, whereby T4 is an inactive hormone), reverse T3 and antibodies called TPO and TGB – only then a diagnosis can be completed.
2. TSH “normal” range is set as 0.5 to 5.0
This is another controversial area as even the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) recommends doctors to use the range of 0.3-3.0. Most endocrinologists are not even aware of the revised range. Many holistic doctors, functional medicine practitioners believe that we should be in the 1.0 – 2.o range. The author of this article always had a “perfect” TSH of 1.8 or 2.0, yet felt absolutely awful when diagnosed.
3. Ignorance and outdated practices
You might be asking “so, why are doctors not getting updated with this information?” Good question. Partly due to an outdated approach that never got enough attention to be changed (although that’s changing now with many thyroid advocate groups pushing for it). Another reason is that most endocrinologists (the doctor looking after hormonal health, including the thyroid) are too busy with the diabetes pandemic and have therefore little time and willingness to learn more about the thyroid.
Getting a proper thyroid diagnosis is key but it’s only the beginning of the healing path.
The bigger question holistic and alternative practitioners ask is: “Why is it happening?” and “How can I prevent it or even reverse it?”
It’s probably not going to surprise you to hear that, like in the case of many other diseases, the thyroid pandemic has been linked to the increased levels of toxicity present in our lives today. It’s well documented, that most people with thyroid conditions are, well, highly toxic.
So, what can you do about it?
Luckily, there are several things that can be done to get a proper diagnosis, treatment and even diet and lifestyle changes that can lead to healing.
Step #1: Find a good doctor
A “good doctor” in this context would mean a doctor who is willing to do a full thyroid panel test consisting of: TSH, Free T4 (not just Total T4), Free T3 (not just Total T3), reverse T3 as well as TPO and TGB antibodies. Don’t be shy to ask the doctor’s office before making an appointment if they are willing to do it. See yourself as a client, not a powerless patient – you have the power to pick your physician.
Step #2: Don’t settle for medication alone
This is a really important piece to understand: 90% of thyroid diseases, including hypothyroidism are autoimmune diseases. Yes, you read it right. What this means is: your own immune system is attacking the thyroid and this chronic attack results in the thyroid dying off and slowing down. So, even if you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s Disease is the autoimmune disease that cause hypothyroidism), you will be asked to take synthetic (most likely) or natural (less likely) replacement drugs like Synthroid, Levoxyl or Armour. However, as much as these drugs will give you initial relief, they will not address the root cause of your disease.
Step #3: Understand what is causing your thyroid condition
If you want to take a proactive approach to your health, don’t just settle for popping a hormone-replacing drug. Most people continue feeling depressed, moody, losing hair and feeling “blah” for years even when on thyroid medication. This is because they are not getting to the root of the problem which is: your digestive tract.
Surprised to hear it? Same as you, most people are, too. It’s not common knowledge that 70% of the immune system resides in our digestive tract. This explains why the vast majority of people with thyroid conditions also experience digestive issues like bloating, constipation, gas, acid reflux, burping and frequent diarrhea. In fact, for so many of us it’s so common that we assume it’s normal. Be assured, it certainly is NOT.
There is plenty of toxicity in our lives to create havoc in our digestive track. Let’s take a look where this is all coming from.
Step #4: Eliminate or reduce the toxicity in your life to restore thyroid health (and your overall health)
The 7 key sources of toxicity that impact your digestion, hormones and the thyroid are:
Food – coming from processed food, hydrogenated oils, pasteurization, non-organic food sources, additives and preservatives.
Drinking water – as a source of fluoride which is known to slow down the thyroid.
Emotions – stress, cortisol (a potent stress hormone) are well known to impact the thyroid in a larger way that we can even imagine.
Household products – due to the use of BPAs, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) found in non-stick pans or triclosan in anti-bacterial soaps are just a few to be mentioned. They are potent xenoestrogens known to inhibit the thyroid function.
Skincare products – loaded with parabens (shampoos, deodorants, etc) and phthalates (aka “fragrance”) are chemical cocktails impacting the thyroid as well.
Parasites and pathogenic bacteria in the gut.
Antibiotics, birth control pills and other drugs – the worse being the freely and often unnecessarily prescribed antibiotics which kill the bad but also the good bacteria in the digestive track, leaving a highly compromised immune system.
To proactively protect and/or to restore your health, it’s best to get to the bottom of the problem rather than taking an easy way out: pills. So, if you want to lose weight, get rid of your depression and anxiety, stop losing hair, stop feeling frustrated with doctor after doctor, do this: take your health into your own hand and start making changes.
The author of this article is Magdalena Wszelaki who is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and a thyroid expert. She is a former Hashimoto’s patient who dedicated her life to empowering people with thyroid conditions to self-heal and reclaim their lives. Magdalena is a big proponent of living a toxicity-free life for optimal health and would like to give you FREE Report “What Is Thyroid Detox And Why You Need It To Feel Like Yourself Again”
A good starting point is a home study Thyroid Detox Program where
Magdalena will guide you through a 12 day detoxification process. You will
discover how revitalizing your gut and liver can improve your thyroid
function and make you feel energized, clear-minded, optimistic, inspired
to heal further and lose some of that impossible weight.
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