Dr. Josh Redd, Contributor
Do you have thyroid symptoms but feel lost and neglected?
How to be heard and get the thyroid help you need
It’s not uncommon for thyroid patients — the vast majority of them women — to feel lost and neglected in their quest to find help for their symptoms.
Our offices have heard many heartbreaking stories from patients who have spent years trying to find relief from their symptoms. We knew our patients couldn’t be the only ones; they must represent thousands if not millions of low thyroid sufferers.
In a quest to reach out to them, we let our patients tell their own stories in our book The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease.
Consider some hallmark experiences of the average thyroid patient from their doctors:
- Some pediatric thyroid patients are led to believe they are being lazy or complaining too much
- Patients who are difficult cases begin to feel like they are complainers or being too much trouble
- Patients feel like they are not believed and begin to doubt themselves
- Patients fall victim to fat-shaming for unexplained weight gain
- Patients don’t know which lab tests to ask for
- When medications fail to improve symptoms, patients don’t know how to advocate for different medication
- Patients are misdiagnosed with depression or anxiety
- Patients start to wonder if their attitude or belief systems are to blame for debilitating symptoms
- Patients do not feel supported in wanting to try gluten-free diets or other non-pharmaceutical strategies
We hear patients describe these experiences happening over years, decades, and even a lifetime of battling ever-worsening symptoms. It breaks their spirit, destroys their self-esteem, and robs them of hope. I included more than a dozen of my patients’ stories in my new book.
Good thyroid books on management and care already exist, such as Datis Kharrazian’s Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal?
I wanted to tell the emotional side of the story. The journey takes a once active, healthy person and one day has her bedridden and barely able to function. I wanted to share the despair that sets in, the strain on a marriage, and how these patients often can no longer care for their children or even themselves. I also wanted to share their sense of empowerment when they take charge of their bodies and start to turn their health around.
More than anything, I wanted patients to know they are not alone and the situation is not hopeless.
Throughout the book, I also include a series of “Redd Flags,” pop-out boxes that offer insight, education, and tips for recognizing and dealing with autoimmune Hashimoto’s and low thyroid conditions. This information adds more understanding to how the patients used functional medicine principles to manage their low thyroid symptoms.
Functional medicine understands thyroid symptoms
A foundation in functional medicine provides an understanding of the many symptoms of thyroid patients’ experience. They are usually not mysterious, and we absolutely believe they are real.
When patients come to our functional medicine office, their symptoms sound completely familiar to us. Many patients are shocked that a practitioner actually believes them and validates what they have been going through. That is a theme that comes up repeatedly in The Truth About Low Thyroid.
Low thyroid function is not in your head!
If you have been diagnosed in the first place—it often takes years and seeing a number of different doctors before a thyroid patient receives a diagnosis—you may unfortunately not feel better on your thyroid medication.
Do you take thyroid medication but still suffer from the following symptoms of low thyroid function?
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Memory loss
- Cold hands and feet
- Bouts of anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia
If so, you may suffer from Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. Medication is not enough to manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is most often caused by Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease
For 90 percent of people, hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s.
Hashimoto’s can be diagnosed with lab tests that screen for TPO and TGB antibodies. If positive, these markers indicate an autoimmune disease is destroying the thyroid gland. It’s vital to dampen the immune attacks against the thyroid and regulate immune function, even if you still need thyroid medication.
This will prevent continuing damage to your thyroid and the possibility of developing secondary autoimmune diseases.
How to manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism
Managing Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism requires multiple diet and lifestyle approaches to reduce inflammation and autoimmune attacks on the thyroid. Strategies include:
A gluten-free diet: Research shows a strong link between Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and gluten and people with gluten intolerance are genetically more prone to Hashimoto’s disease. A gluten intolerance also promotes inflammation and leaky gut, which flare Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
Autoimmune diet and lifestyle: Most people require more than a gluten-free diet to manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. The anti-inflammatory diet eliminates common inflammatory foods, such as dairy, eggs, grains, legumes, and other foods, and is often necessary for a period of time.
Healing leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, usually plays a primary role in Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. The lining of the small intestine becomes porous from inflammatory damage, allowing undigested foods, bacteria, fungus, and other pathogens into the bloodstream, where they trigger inflammation and autoimmunity in the body.
Stabilize blood sugar: Stable blood sugar is necessary to manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. A diet high in sugars and refined carbohydrates raises inflammation, imbalances hormones, and flares autoimmunity. Energy crashes, fatigue after meals, excess belly fat, hormonal imbalances, mood swings, and insomnia are all signs you may have low blood sugar or high blood sugar.
These are just a few of the basics of autoimmune management for Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Each patient is unique and there is not a cookie-cutter approach to Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism management care.If so, you may suffer from Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. Medication is not enough to manage Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Click To Tweet
About the Author
Dr. Joshua J. Redd, DC, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, author of The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, is a chiropractic physician and the founder of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center with practices in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. He sees patients from around the world who suffer from challenging thyroid disorders, Hashimoto’s disease, and other autoimmune conditions. In addition to his chiropractic degree, Dr. Redd has a BS in Health and Wellness, a BS in Anatomy, and an MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. He speaks across the nation, teaching physicians about functional blood chemistry, low thyroid, Hashimoto’s, and autoimmunity. To learn more about the book, click here. To learn more about Dr. Redd, click here and join his Facebook page here.
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