Monday, July 2, 2007

Hypothyroid & Hyperthyroidism

It's funny to me that as common as this disease seems to be, it is not more widely discussed. In early 2002, I noticed a "ring" forming around my throat. I had just had my third child who, in retrospect, had been tested and showed that there was a problem with his thyroid the day he was born, and I was for once in my life staying at a nice, healthy weight. The Doctor had told me I needed to gain enough weight to be at 160 lbs. when I delivered so as to compensate for the rapid and significant weight loss I experience after child birth. I managed 155lbs. so 6 months after having my child, I saw it perfectly normal for me to still be at a healthy 125 lbs. I had done everything the Doctor had requested I do so as not to lose all my baby weight so quickly and drastically.

Well, when I noticed the "ring" forming, I made an appointment to see my Doctor and a few days later after an examination, blood work and an ultrasound of my throat, I found out that I had a Goiter. A Goiter is an enlargement of the Thyroid Gland. No explanation or cause was ever given to me as to what may have caused this. I was then told that I had Hypothyroidism which was the cause of my steady weight, my hair falling out, my inability to fall asleep, my fatigue and just about anything and everything else that ailed me at the time.

The Cure: Synthroid, which is exactly what is sounds like, a synthetic thyroid. So I started taking the medication and every three weeks I had to go and have my blood drawn and tested until we got the correct dose and got my TSH levels under control. So for two years I faithfully took my medication and kept getting tested. Well it seemed I would never get regulated and I was getting discouraged, especially since the doctor had told me that under no circumstances was I to even think of getting pregnant and here I was, just under a year after starting this process, pregnant with my forth child!

Well after having my beautiful daughter, I was still faithfully taking the medication and suddenly found myself without medical insurance. I had started sometime ago doing my own research into the causes of my disease. One of the things I ran across over and over was the reference of Iodine being linked to Thyroid Disease, but it always referred to a lack of Iodine as the cause and I was an avid salter, we are talking snowing salt on my food, until I was the only one that could possibly eat it. No Iodine deficiency here! Well, about this time I came across a reference that for the first time linked an excess of Iodine to Thyroid problems! Well, there you have it! I had found my culprit, I was sure of it, and without medical insurance I had to do something drastic. So I finished off the last of my Synthroid, threw out the bottle and the canister of salt! Wow, was that hard! No salt on my veggies, my meat, even potato chips and anything else with Iodine left the house and were not allowed in. So I gave my body time to cleanse itself, lots of water and regular fasting until I felt that my body had been cleansed thoroughly.

Without the Synthroid regulating my TSH levels, I felt instantly worse. my hair started to fall out worse, it never fully stopped, I could no longer sleep at nights and I could not tolerate any change in temperature. I could tell immediately that I was off the medication that my body had relied on for the last two years. But I had made a decision, my body was going to learn to regulate it's own TSH levels. So after the cleansing I slowly started feeling better, so slowly that I didn't notice it until one morning in the shower, I realized that I had washed and conditioned my hair and not a single piece had wound itself about my fingers. This was a huge accomplishment as in the beginning I was removing a full handful of hair from the drain after each shower.

So, now that my body was cleansed, I did realize my body's need for small amounts of Iodine. Salt has been allowed back into our home, however, it is sea salt and used very cautiously and scarcely. I have had my blood tested three times in the last three years and I am happy to announce that my TSH levels have regulated and I am living a happy, thyroid problem free life.

Now, when I said earlier that Thyroid Disease and Problems are common, when I started going through this whole ordeal I got with my Mother, Grandmother, Aunt and Close Friend, all women and requested that they, themselves go and get tested. Amazingly enough each and every one of them tested positive for Thyroid Problems and they are, to this day on the daily Synthroid medication. So this is a highly common problem and I am a very, very rare example of mind over body healing in this case. But below is a list of symptoms related to Hyper and Hypothyroidism. It never does hurt to get yourself tested.

*The following are symptoms for hypothyroidism:
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent, heavy menstrual periods
  • Forgetfulness
  • Weight gain
  • Dry, coarse skin and hair
  • Hoarse voice
  • Intolerance to cold

*The following are symptoms for hyperthyroidism:

  • Irritability/nervousness
  • Muscle weakness/tremors
  • Infrequent, scant menstrual periods
  • Weight loss
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Vision problems or eye irritation
  • Heat sensitivity
*Taken from The Cleveland Clinic Health Information Center

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