Rich Travis, Staff Writer
Do you suffer from a thyroid problem?
Unfortunately, symptoms of a possible thyroid condition can be endless, realistically in the hundreds. Ranging from skin and hair issues, fatigue and brain fog,to name a few. But, if you think you might be one of the millions of Americans that are affected by an irregular thyroid gland, here are 7 helpful hints to start you on your road to recovery.
1) Get A Full Thyroid Panel (Blood Test)
This is a blood test ‘especial’ and is probably the most help you can give yourself in the beginning. The full blood panel test is designed to test everything related to thyroid function. From your standard TSH levels, along with a host of other thyroid producing hormones found in tests like; Total T4, Free T4, Total T3, Free T3, Reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies. It’s been suggested that you should not rely on the standard TSH test to determine your thyroid health because sometimes, for this test, the acceptable standard levels are too wide and varying and what is in the ‘normal’ range for some, might not be normal for you. That is why the TSH is not a one size fits all, blood test.
2) Research Your Symptoms Before Your Doctor Visit
Thyroid disorders can come in many different forms and symptoms, that is why it is so hard to diagnose and treat. It’s a good idea to head into your visit with the strength of knowledge. The more you know about yourself the better you will be at translating those feelings to your health care provider. Overlapping thyroid symptoms could be a sign of a more serious condition such as Graves’s or Hashimoto’s disease.
The good news is, you cannot catch a thyroid disorder, nor can you give it to someone else, like you can with a cold or flu. But, it is hereditary and usually affects the females more. This is important to know when speaking with a health care provider. This can also be a daunting task because thyroid disease can easily go untreated for generations. Try to investigate through family members about their symptoms because the way you’re feeling and looking today may have already happened in the past to grandma.
4) Don’t Be Afraid To Change Doctors
I know this can be an unpopular decision, but many thyroid suffers do not get the help that they need from their family doctor or even their endocrinologist. Treating a thyroid disorder, even with the mildest of symptoms and full blood test can be excruciatingly difficult. It is ok to FIRE your doctor if they aren’t serving you. Look for Thyroid-Friendly Doctors, here.
5) Be Prepared For A Slow Recovery
Rome was not built in day and you shouldn’t think that your thyroid will be fixed that quickly either. Chances are, if you have a thyroid problem, your body has been working against your thyroid gland for months or years without you even knowing it! Like a clogged artery, the change can be so slow that you don’t even realize how sick you’ve become!
6) Medicines and Supplements
Just as there are many different kinds of thyroid conditions, there are also many different forms of possible help for you. Don’t be discouraged, it may take a combination of prescription medicines or over the counter supplements to get your levels correct. The most important thing is to keep trying for the ultimate goal of feeling good again. Finding you’re normal’!
7) Watch Your Eating Habits
Replacing or boosting hormones in your body can be tricky. A healthy, stable diet is recommended, including nutrient-rich foods. Soy, gluten and refined sugars should probably be avoided because they can inhibit the absorption of vital nutrients and hormones (and cause a whole slew of other issues, read more here). Sugar especially might be a culprit behind heart disease, brain fog, heart disease, high blood pressure and an increased risk of chronic diseases including diabetes. This doesn’t mean that you have to adopt a Paleo diet or try the AIP protocol, but it might be a good starting point. It might not be right for you, as everyone is different. What works for a lot of people, may not be the ‘end all be all’ diet for you. You need to listen to your body! It will tell you everything you need to know. And, if you can’t remember, because of brain fog, start a daily food journal!
8) Try to Get MOVING
No matter what you do, who you are or what you are suffering through…. daily movement is important for overall health. There can’t be enough emphasis placed on the importance of walking as exercise. A walk to the mailbox, even 2 or 3 times a day, is great for you. Going downstairs counts as serious movement for some and eventually you’ll have to go back up. A few good stretched can be beneficial. A forward bend, side stretches and even doing small balance movements can get the job done. You don’t have to do HIIT, run a marathon or jump into a Zumba Fitness class to receive the benefits. Just move! Always remember to do an exercise-appropriate fitness regimen. Think simple!!!
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About the Author
Rich Travis is a staff writer for ThyroidNation.com. Living with his wife and 2 children, he has a front-row seat to the devastation thyroid disease can cause and offers an in-depth, up close and personal view of his experience. His wife of 18 years suffers from Hypothyroidism and was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Adrenal Fatigue in 2012. Seeking help, offering compassion and supporting cures for those that suffer, he is on a mission to educate the masses. Please follow him and Thyroid Nation on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Read more of his articles, here.
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