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Even though I was trained as a holistic nutrition coach, I knew little about Hashimoto’s.Confronted with the mysterious four-syllable verdict, I countered, “Um, no, I don’t have that, thank you.” My labs told a different story.
(For more on lab testing, as well as a simple at-home test, see “Testing in the Lab” and “Testing at Home,” below.) When you’re tested, it’s also a good idea to be checked for adrenal fatigue, since those with hypothyroidism often have some level of the condition and it can be difficult to treat the thyroid without assessing both systems.
(For more on adrenal fatigue, read “Pick Yourself Up.”) Hashimoto’s is one of the most common forms of autoimmune disease in the United States.
But many doctors mistakenly believe that TSH over 5.0 is worth treating, when, according to most functional medicine doctors, anyone with TSH over 3.0 has hypothyroidism.
(Harvard-educated integrative physician and gynecologist Sara Gottfried, MD, argues that women tend to feel best with TSH between 0.3 and 1.0.) It’s no wonder thyroid patient and activist Janie Bowthorpe, MEd, author of (Laughing Grape Publishing, 2008), has nicknamed TSH “thyroid stimulating hooey.” It’s estimated that millions more sufferers could be diagnosed if proper testing was commonplace for Hashimoto’s symptoms.
I am thankfully now in remission from Hashimoto’s and, motivated by the mantra “We teach what we most need to learn,” I’ve changed the focus of my health-coaching business in hopes that those who have thyroid issues can benefit from my research.
The thyroid is hailed as “the master gland” of our complex and interdependent endocrine system.I later suffered from symptoms that were, unknown to me at the time, related to the diagnosis.I was chilled in 75-degree weather, had dry skin and itchy eyes, and at times would experience significant hair loss.Unfortunately, the antibodies that show the presence of Hashimoto’s — thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) and thyroglobulin antibody (Tg Ab) — happen to be on the list of thyroid labs that most conventional docs don’t perform.Because thyroid hormones directly act on so many parts of the body, though, it’s essential to follow up with proper lab tests if you self-identify a problem.If you’re feeling blue or unmotivated, you may be prescribed an antidepressant.If you’re constipated, you’re told to take a laxative.I’ve never suffered from depression, and until just a few years ago my metabolism burned hot.During the worst of times, I just felt like I had one foot on the gas and one on the brakes.When my then-doctor asserted that I had to be on thyroid drugs for the rest of my life — drugs that can cause heart palpitations, shortness of breath, troubled sleep and a host of other side effects — I again blurted, “I don’t think so,” and my journey into sleuthing low thyroid function and autoimmunity began.It’s estimated that hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, affects more than 30 million women and 15 million men.