My own saga started when I had a blood test taken by my gynecologist to check for anemia; the results came back proving I wasn't anemic, but my TSH was 7.35. I had no idea what that meant until he said it appeared I had hypothyroidism, and he referred me to an endocrinologist.
- I was tired all the time with no energy to keep my house very orderly, which upset me because I like a tidy house.
- I also wasn't thinking very clearly: I'd read a passage from a book or website and I'd have to read it over a few times, dissecting each part of the sentence.
- Every time I opened my sliding glass door, one or more of my fingernails would break. In fact, I noticed my fingernails were a little brittle.
- My hair was brittle, too. A strand would break if I tugged on it too hard, not to mention it looked dry and wiry.
- I was gaining weight while on my normal diet. At first I figured it was because I was getting older and tried cutting down on my food intake, but the weight just kept adding up no matter what food I cut back on—even chocolate!
Those were my most troublesome symptoms. I went on to find out that when thyroids do develop problems, the entire body is affected. The thyroid gland controls the body's metabolism and when people are hypo- we gain weight; when people are hyper- we lose weight. Also, if we leave a thyroid problem untreated, other health problems (like heart disease for example) creep up on us.
So, what I decided to do was to start this blog to put all of my research in one place. I've covered topics of what to expect during the first trip to the endocrinologist to the types of treatments that are available. I've also discovered there are herbs and vitamins that can help heal the thyroid. Also, I have discovered that we have to be our own advocate with our doctors in treating our specific condition.
What the Thyroid Does
Here's what I found out about what the thyroid does: basically, the thyroid creates, distributes and then stores hormones that influence the function of every organ in the body. An example of a thyroid hormone is Triiodothyronine, aka T3. One of the things this particular hormone does is regulate metabolism, so when there is too much or too little in the system, the body’s weight is affected.
Yay! Maybe if I could get my TSH at the correct level, I could stop gaining weight.
Different Types of Thyroid Problems
The two main types of thyroid conditions are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Of course it's only logical that each condition requires a different treatment plan. I found out in my research that medical doctors simply treat symptoms of a disease and as long as the symptoms are under control, they consider the treatment a success.
This is all well and good, but sometimes there is an underlying cause for developing hypo- and hyperthyroidism. Like Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Graves ' disease respectively. This is where holistic practitioners come onto the scene. They believe in treating these autoimmune diseases with natural foods and herbs and have had success in curing each condition.
As long as the root cause of thyroid problems exists, medical doctors will keep on treating the symptoms. If the root cause is cured—well then, on to a drug-free life. Of course, I believe in working with both kinds of practitioners until optimal health is reached.
I hope this page has in some way helped, and I invite you to keep reading the research I've put together about thyroid problems and solutions. My next article is about my first endocrinologist's visit and what to expect. I hope you'll find something useful in it.