Thyroid disease can be insidious — it generally comes on slowly and can take years before it manifests enough to take action. Left unchecked, it can be serious. Both hypothyroid (low-functioning thyroid) and hyperthyroid (overactive thyroid) can cause many problems and should not be ignored.
As with all disorders, proper diagnosis and management is essential. If your doctor is only ordering one or two lab tests, push to have more done. It is important not only to diagnose you properly, but also to find out WHY the thyroid is suffering in the first place. One or two tests only tell you that it is struggling, not why. Many people have most of the symptoms of thyroid disease, but their lab tests show “normal,” so the doctor stops there. Many times I have suspected thyroid disease in the absence of thorough testing, and when adequate testing was done, my hunch was right.
There can be many culprits responsible for a malfunctioning thyroid. The pituitary, liver, parathyroid, adrenals and hypothalamus can be involved. Healthy functioning of all these endocrine glands is critical to healthy thyroid function. Who is not doing their job?
Beyond that, we look for other culprits. Over-exposure to radiation without a thyroid guard is suspect in autoimmune thyroid disorders. Certain dietary factors can precipitate thyroid issues. According to Dr. Raphael Kellman, an integrative and functional medicine doctor and author of The Microbiome Diet, gluten appears to have a direct correlation to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. He is also concerned about the effect of soy and peanuts on the thyroid. It is important to look at dietary deficiencies as well.
Once the causative factors (generally there are more than one) are figured out, we can put in the corrections. Dietary supplements, good wholesome dietary food choices and herbs can be helpful. There are times that thyroid medications are necessary, but never stop your thyroid medication without professional guidance. However, much can be done to support the thyroid and prevent further deterioration.
Acupuncture has been shown to have a positive impact on thyroid disease in several studies. In one study, done by the School of Chinese Medicine of Hong Kong Baptist University found that “Chinese medicine is effective in improving the symptoms of patients with hyperthyroidism and enhancing their quality of life in general.” It also regulated the immune system and had an overall efficacy rate of 88.7%. The British Acupuncture Council, in a 2018 overview of research, found that acupuncture increased levels of thyroid hormones in people with hypothyroidism and lowered levels of thyroid hormones in patients with hyperthyroidism.
If your thyroid is not happy, do not despair. There is hope. Learn more by attending one or both of our upcoming health classes, Battling Auto-Immune Diseases Naturally, on Sept. 11, and Adrenals and Thyroid: Answers to Fatigue and Weight Gain, on Sept. 25. Both start at 7 p.m. at Vital Health in Coeur d’Alene. Fee: $10. RSVP: 208-765-1994.
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Holly Carling is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Naturopathy, Clinical Nutritionist and Master Herbologist with nearly four decades of experience. Carling is a “Health Detective.” She looks beyond your symptom picture and investigates WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Carling is currently accepting new patients and offers natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements in her Coeur d’Alene clinic. Visit Carling’s website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Carling, view a list of upcoming health classes and read other informative articles. Carling can be reached at 208-765-1994 and would be happy to answer any questions regarding this topic.