This information is from a series of Doctors who are specialists in Thyroid function from the notes I have taken listening to them speaking in The Thyroid Secret 2017. I have included links to their web pages for further information. These Doctors are dedicated to healing patients not just suppressing symptoms by getting to the real cause of the health problems.
Thyroid Misinformation and Misdiagnosis Part 1
Thyroid disease is poorly understood by conventional medicine and many are misdiagnosed suffering with symptoms for years. Even when they do get diagnosed they are often told they just have a sluggish thyroid and not told they have an autoimmune condition which is progressive. When your system is out of balance and you develop an autoimmune disease it’s easy to develop additional autoimmune diseases. It’s important to correct the imbalance. It’s so much easier to prevent any disease than it is to correct it. As doctors we should be educating our patients how to prevent instead of just prescribing medications.
The immune system has started to recognize you as a foreign invader, there is a good chance you’re getting the message somehow but oftentimes you’re not getting the help you need because you don’t look sick on the outside. One of the things dealing with Hashimoto’s is not knowing you have it. I was so tired for almost a decade I would got to school, come home, and sleep for 12-14 hours each night just to feel human. Another part that was really challenging was the brain fog that I would experience. I was in my mid-twenties and I found myself to be very forgetful, it was all of a sudden I couldn’t remember simple things and thought I was loosing my mind. After that I started to get anxiety and panic attacks, then I started having carpel tunnel and began to loose my hair. It was a downward spiral of my health declining, month after month I began to have more and more symptoms. Nobody thought there was anything wrong with me because I looked healthy, thinking I was just lazy and an airhead forgetting things. When I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s I felt validated, it took a lot of doctors to get diagnosed correctly.
Michelle Corey CNWC, FMP
Web page michellecorey.com
The 5 stages of Hashimoto’s
1 – We just have the predisposition
2 – We start developing autoimmune reactivity to our thyroid gland and begin being attacked by the immune system and start seeing symptoms.
3 – We start seeing sub-clinical changes in lab markers as well as more symptoms.
4 – A person will have overt hypothyroid symptoms and usually the stage where they will be diagnosed because their lab markers will be abnormal.
5 – Is progression to autoimmune, all their conditions.
Sadly by this time significant damage has been done to your thyroid gland but we actually start to have symptoms in stage 2 when the damage starts. If left alone this condition will continue to progress. Most conventional doctors don’t treat Hashimoto’s until it reaches stage 4 and medications are started, but they do not prevent the progression to an autoimmune condition. Eventually they will radiate or remove the thyroid but there is never the question WHY. Most are not told there is another way, they are told that Graves disease and Thyroid Cancer require gland removal or radioactive iodine. Some conventional doctors are even pushing for Hashimoto’s to become a surgical disease and we know that there are risk factors with these interventions and that this standard of care is definitely not the best standard of care. It’s important to not just treat the hormonal imbalance but to also consider the autoimmune component.
I recommend checking out her book The Thyroid Cure found on her web page.
Andrea Nakayama CNC, FNLP, MSHNFM
Web page replenishpdx.com
When you have an autoimmune condition and it’s attacking your own cells that there is haywire happening inside the body. If we don’t address that then we are missing the cues that the body needs to come into healing, there is more opportunity for the body to attack itself and more opportunity for immune confusion. We need to empower the patient to be the agent of their own change by tuning in, listening, and understanding what different experts are looking into. Where the research is and seeing which pieces apply to our own health and healing.
When you have one autoimmune condition and it isn’t addressed from the root cause that can lead to other autoimmune conditions. It can lead to imbalances with your vision and balance, I see more and more people experiencing vertigo. It can lead to Multiple Sclerosis or Alopecia or a number of other autoimmune conditions, Psoriasis, Eczema, Crohns, Ulcerative Colitis. They all start to add up, it becomes more and more difficult to get under control. It’s great to know you can prevent it, you can reverse it, you can address it when you look for the root cause and get into the drivers seat of your own health.
Dr. Susan Pierce Thompson PhD
Web page susanpiercethompson.com
I knew early there was a possibility I would get Hashimoto’s because my mother and grandmother had it and there is a genetic component to it. I was tested as a teenager and found out I did have it and they put me on a low dose synthroid and I stayed on it for a long time. When I lost all my excess weight in a six month period of time, went from obese to slender, it threw my body into a lot of turmoil. I had a hard time functioning and didn’t know it was my thyroid I thought that problem was taken care of. In ninety degree weather I would wear a black leather pea coat and gloves to keep from being chilled I was so cold. I would get home and take a hot shower because my feet were so cold and still needed to sit with my feet in a bucket of hot water so my feet could feel warm.
I was completely constipated, no sex drive at all. I was going to doctors and they were running my numbers with blood work and levels were all roughly in the normal range and it wasn’t my thyroid. I finally found a doctor who would treat my thyroid more aggressively and treat my symptoms instead of my blood work numbers. Finally between thyroid treatment and adrenal treatment I got feeling good again. I knew enough to know that standard western medicine was not treating me properly. When you leave that “safe” enclosure you’re like out in the wild west and well who do I listen to. Sadly many people with thyroid disease are told all of their symptoms are just in their head and they get offered antidepressants or sent to psychiatrists when they turn to their doctors for help. Can you see the madness here?
Dr. Kelly Brogan MD, ABIHM
Web page kellybroganmd.com
I had become interested in what they call psychiatric pretenders because my personal experience equipped me to understand the potential for an autoimmune thyroid condition to masquerade as a psychiatric condition. In the literature there is a strong association between potentially a casual relationship between thyroid dysfunction and specifically thyroid autoimmune dysfunction and including thyroiditis and what is ultimately diagnosed as a psychiatric illness. Using psychiatric medications in these illnesses is almost like taking Tylenol for a shard of glass in your foot. There is some possibility that there could be an adaptive sedative effect but the truth is just take the piece of glass out, just resolve the root cause. The strongest signal in the literature is around the significance of the autoimmune function, even in the absence of an altered THA. Subclinical Hypothyroidism where there is some diminished reserves of hormone levels but the TSH is normal. How many internists just use TSH and a very generous reference range to dismiss the role of any endocrine imbalance in a patients psychiatric complaint specifically around depression, foggy thinking, low mood, no motivation, lack of pleasure, fatigue. It’s very easy to miss this diagnosis and psychiatry becomes the wastebasket because these patients are told their thyroid is fine. In 52% of treatment resistant depression there is a phenomenon of sub-clinical Hypothyroidism where they could be easily missed on a basic screening. Then their literature that says even if TSH and thyroid is normal but there’s the presence of antibodies so how many doctors are screening for antibodies alone, autoimmune activity is significantly correlated with states of depression.
When we examine the efficacy of these medications, not to mention their safety, we really need to look outside the box. Asking the question, what is going on? I was never trained to ask why are these patients struggling, what’s going on behind the symptoms they’re describing. Gluten is a trigger for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, a diet that eliminates gluten, dairy and soy will see tremendous relief of symptoms. Psychiatric depression, Schizophrenia, non functional can also be caused by gluten then diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and Celiac disease. After three months on a gluten free diet they went into total remission which a year of medications was not able to accomplish.
One paper looked at postpartum psychosis and found that 19% had thyroid autoantibodies, 67% of them went on within a year to be fully diagnosed with postpartum thyroiditis. Mood instability and associated symptoms including flatness of emotional range which can manifest into a feeling of disconnection from the newborn is thyroid dysfunction until proven otherwise. To prescribe an antidepressant to a woman who has an autoimmune endocrine problem when we only have three randomized trials of antidepressants in this population and horror stories of antidepressant induced infanticide is at this point an act of recklessness. Pregnancy is a peak time for a woman to develop a thyroid condition.
If we have a patient that has Hypothyroidism and they’re put on Lithium because they were not properly diagnosed and this drug increases the risk of Hypothyroidism which now compounds the injury. Data says patients function more poorly on psychiatric medications than when they are not on them.
Autoimmune thyroid disease is one of the most common conditions in the United States and most western countries. We have up to 28% of people that have thyroid disease and many of them we know for every man diagnosed there is 5-8 women. Tired is the number one symptom of an underactive thyroid, the doctors jump to depression instead of thyroid disease and we know thyroid disease can cause all of these symptoms and yet they don’t test you for that.
I am trained as a clinical psychologist and I don’t remember spending five minutes for looking at the body as a cause for any sort of psychiatric illness we are just so divided and to me it’s all one in the same. If you’re deficient in something and someone is trying to talk therapy to you how does that make you feel.
Dr. Sandra Scheinbaum PhD, IFMCP, BCB, CHC, RYT
Web page functionalmedicinecoaching.org
I turned to functional medicine because as a psychologist I was frustrated with the tolls that we had. Someone could be in therapy and never make the connection that what they are eating has any impact on their anxiety or depression. So I studied functional medicine to take better care of patients not realizing that I would learn more and more that would help me physically. Sadly people are led to believe they are loosing their minds and they’re bad people when in reality they are just dealing with a thyroid disease.
So often I have women coming to me on a load of medications because they have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. When you’re diagnosed with bipolar, and I can tell they are diagnosed because of the medications they are on that are not working and the women are complaining of the side effects. I do a complete lab test on them including particularly with these women is the anti-thyroid antibodies free T3, T4, TSH, reverse T3, and I will find they have Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis. Those medications are not going to work they are only going to cause side effects and harm to the brain because they do change your brain. We have a double problem here, I have to help them address their Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and I have to wean safely off of their medications because you can’t just stop it. This has to be done usually one at a time, you have to know which one to do first and how slowly to do it. Everyone is different but I address the thyroid right away and that already makes a difference.
These women with Hashimoto’s may also have blood sugar imbalances we have to do that too. It’s all treated with diet, lifestyle, and certain supplements, we get them off the medications and they get normal because they are treated at the root cause.
Getting the wrong diagnosis can destroy your life if you are a person with insulin dependent diabetes and instead of insulin your were given a random medication like a blood thinner, this would be considered malpractice and can make your condition worse. This is what is happening with mental health conditions.
Antipsychotic medications I call the dirtiest drugs out there because they affect so many receptors and cause so many problems. We think about how many women or men who are on these who are struggling with their weight because of thyroid disease and struggling with depression were put on a medication to augment the depression when the antidepressants were not working and that made them gain even more weight and even more tired. Sadly people are led to believe they are loosing their minds and they are bad people when in reality they are just dealing with a thyroid condition.
This article although unrelated to the summit speakers I consider some the best and most important information anywhere on thyroid health. I highly recommend it, Why we shouldn’t dismiss Iodine
This is part 1 continue to part 2 here
Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment from a licensed physician. It is essential that you discuss with your doctor any symptoms or medical problems you may be experiencing.
M. Scherker medical researcher.