Dr. Chris Heimlich, DC, DACNB, Arizona Thyroid Doctor Comments:
If you suffer from low thyroid symptoms, there is a very high chance you have an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. We have talked about it on other posts. Hashimoto’s is a condition where the body attacks the thyroid. Unfortunately, it tends to attack other parts of the body as well. These parts include the brain, pancreas, GI system, and others.
It is common knowledge that most endocrinologists and researchers consider low thyroid symptoms or hypothyroidism synonymous with Hashimoto’s. One thing you have to realize is that if you do have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, you are more likely to have other types of autoimmune conditions because they tend to run in packs.
There are over 100 autoimmune conditions and this number is growing.
We are going to take a look at some of the factors on why these numbers are growing. Now, normally the immune system recognizes what is self and what is not self. And anything, which isn’t self, is not tolerated and it is attacked. The key word here is identified. So we have to see why is the body not identifying itself as normal? That is the million-dollar question.
A big reason is genetics. If mom has thyroid problems, the daughter is probably going to have thyroid problems and the granddaughter is probably going to have thyroid problems. I see three generations of women in here sometimes from all over the place that have thyroid issues. So that is one of the reasons.
Some of the other reasons that cause this blurriness of the line between self-tolerance and non self-tolerance, well, it could be infections. So now I’m referring to chronic types of things: bacterial, viral, or parasitic. You could have bacteria or yeast infections causing these different radicals in the body, causing a whole different cascade of inflammation to go on.
Other factors include old age, stress, and lack of sleep, hydrogenated oils, junk food diet, physical trauma, and systemic acid in your body.
Researchers are also discussing that pesticides could also play a big role on this too. Plastics and food allergies can also contribute to the rise in auto immune. There are some suggestions as far as vaccines and low vitamin D causing these types of problems.
Auto immune conditions can cause poor digestion. Why is that? Because about fifty-seventy percent of our immune system by weight is in our gut, it’s in our gastrointestinal system. You may be able to relate to this if you have constipation, upset stomach, diarrhea, taking medications for heart burn or other digestive problems. These can accompany other thyroid symptoms like your hair falling out, fatigued, lethargy, cold hands and feet, and depression.
You know what, there are things we can do to test to see if you have any of these things going on in your gut. There are tests that you can do. There are stool tests and there are – some of them out there are really great. Others of them out there, you might as well just save your pennies. They are really lacking.
I’m going to be going over that in another post. I have a new post coming out that will talk about the differences the tests. Some doctors will just do a little testing or they’ll do a different type of test that maybe antiquated – why? Well, they probably just don’t know any better. They probably haven’t done any of the recent research in the past five, ten, twenty years – maybe they haven’t really done anything. They may just be doing what everyone else is doing and that is the problem.
You have to constantly educate yourself as a healthcare provider because there is more and more information out there. You’ve got to find someone who understands about the autoimmune conditions.
If you’re suffering with low thyroid symptoms, you’ve got to get tested.
Then once you get tested, you have to find someone who knows how to help you and how to manage that.
Just taking thyroid medication is just a small piece of the puzzle. Is it important? Yeah. But is it going to make you feel optimal? No. If it did, you’d be out there enjoying life right now, you wouldn’t be watching this video. You’d feel as though you had control over your life. So get out there and find a doctor who understands what we’ve talked about and take control of your health.
Never Order Thyroid Medication On Your Own
Here is how bad it is for some women suffering with low thyroid symptoms. One of my long time patients brought her daughter in to see me this morning. Actually, her daughter brought her in. Betty is 87 years young. It had been years since I saw her daughter and she just wanted checked out for some musculoskeletal complaints. As I was doing a consultation and examination with her, I noticed she was presenting with symptoms and neurological signs that were consistent with hypothyroidism. I was able to uncover complaints of being tired all the time, fatigue, cold all the time, some weight gain, tingling in the hands, and joint pain. As I dug a little deeper I told her she needed to get her thyroid checked out because it sounded like she had low thyroid or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
She told me she thought she had thyroid problems for years and was checked out for it last summer. She had asked her doctor for years and he finally did a blood test and told her she was fine. She was told not to worry about the symptoms she was having and that they were not related to her thyroid and she should just learn to live with them.
She didn’t like his response. She had done some reading in the net and knew she had almost all the signs of hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. She had also read that your TSH could be in the “normal” limits and you could still feel cruddy.
Unfortunately she had not told me anything that I don’t already hear on a daily basis. But what she said next nearly floored me. She said:
“I ordered some thyroid medication from Canada and I am going to try them out to see if I feel better.”
Of course I told her that under no circumstance should she do that. I don’t make blanket statements often, but I don’t think anyone should order any medication, let alone thyroid medication without a prescription from a doctor.
Now this lady is a smart, educated woman. I would have never expected her to do such a thing. It just shows how desperate she is to be able to feel normal again. How frustrated she is with the type of care that she had received. She feels jaded and doesn’t know what to do. The place that she trusts with her health has told her to just live with it.
Her statement made me realize that more women must be out there feeling the same way. So if this has happened to you, don’t take matters into your own hand and order up thyroid medication off of the net or anywhere else. This is something that has to be monitored by your physician.
Part of the problem for this woman was that she only had her TSH tested. I have talked in other posts how important it is to get not only the TSH tested, but also the rest of a thyroid panel. And you can’t just stop there if you want to find out what is contributing to the thyroid not working properly. You have to look at what the rest of the non-thyroid blood markers are, like blood sugar, adrenals, liver, etc. You have to look at the thyroid antibodies. You also have to look and see what other factors can be contributing to inflammation in your system and how the immune system is working. So in essence you have to look at the health of the patient, not just their thyroid.
Why? For starters, every cell in the body has a thyroid receptor site. That means that you can have all type of symptoms from thyroid dysfunction. Also, almost every system in the body has a direct or indirect feedback loop with the thyroid. That means a problem with the adrenals, for example, can cause the thyroid to look bad, even if the thyroid isn’t the problem. It can get pretty complicated when you look at all the factors that contribute to the thyroid functioning properly.
You should not have to scour the net to try to learn all of this information. You doctor should know this.
It boils down to finding a doctor that knows what we just talked about and understands that you can still feel crummy, even though you don’t have a high TSH on your labs. Find a doctor that knows there are many other factors that play into the health of your thyroid. One who is willing to examine you, look at all your health factors, and help you get your body to heal itself back up the way it was designed too.
Dr. Chris Heimlich DC, Director of the Arizona Thyroid Institute in Scottsdale, AZ Answers a Common Question Asked By Women Suffering With Low Thyroid:
Here is a question I get asked a lot. Can you cure Hashimoto’s? When I get asked this question, I always tell the patient about Dr. Hawkinson. He was one of my instructors in school and he would always drill into our heads that-
“You only cure two things: bacon and ham. The power that created the body will heal the body. Your job as a doctor is to figure out why the body isn’t healing itself, remove any road blocks that are stopping it, help support it when necessary, and let it do what it was intended to do. “
So the answer is “no”. You cannot cure Hashimoto’s.
But…Can the symptoms of Hashimoto’s be reversed? YES!
Now Hashimoto’s is a genetic condition. That means you get it from your parents. It usually happens at three different times in a woman’s life: puberty, pregnancy, and perimenopause. And at these times your epigenetic factor can get turned on and your body has an auto immune response to your thyroid.
That means that your body starts to attack your thyroid and starts destroying it.
Now I know there are a few doctors out there saying that they can cure Hashimoto’s. That is not the case. Many times what they will do is look at the TSH level and when it goes back into the normal level they will say that the Hashimoto’s is cured. That is not the case. You can look at a woman’s TSH level throughout the year without treatment and it can bounce up and down. The same is true for antibody levels. They can fluctuate as well. That is why we are lucky when we test antibodies and they show positive. An estimated 15% of woman that have Hashimoto’s will not even show the antibodies on the blood test. That means they don’t make the antibodies.
So what do you have to do to help these ladies with Hashimoto’s? Well you have to help with reversing the symptoms; the constipation, fatigue, dry skin, cold hands and feet, brittle hair or hair falling out. You can reverse those symptoms. That can be done without question. So how do you reverse the symptoms? How do you do that? Well, the first thing you have to do is find a doctor that understands that Hashimoto’s is an auto immune condition. You have to look at gut toxicity, T cells, B cells, vitamin D and food sensitivities, blood sugar, adrenals, and all the stuff that plays a role in the immune function.
If your doctor is not trained in that and is not schooled in those ways, they are not going to be able to offer much help in reversing those symptoms.
So don’t get caught up in the idea of having to cure your Hashimoto’s. That is not possible. But it is possible to reverse the symptoms. You can be better. You can feel better.
What if you could to feel 70%, 80% or 90% better and your Hashimoto’s had not been cured?
Would that be worth it? Of course it would. So can you reverse the symptoms of Hashimoto’s? Yes you can, as long as your doctor knows how to help you.