hypothyroidism

 'invisible illness'

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What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. Symptoms can include loss of appetite, lack of concentration, difficulty sleeping, reduced motivation, mood swings, a short temper, depression and excessive stress.

You may feel like you can't get through a day without a nap, or you sleep more than usual but still feel completely exhausted. You may not have the energy to exercise, or you may fall asleep during the day or very quickly at night and find it difficult to get up in the morning.

Brain Fog

Brain fog is a term used for certain symptoms that can affect your ability to think. You may feel confused or disorganized or find it hard to focus or put your thoughts into words.

 

Thyroid disease can affect your mood — primarily causing either anxiety or depression. Generally, the more severe the thyroid disease, the more severe the mood changes.

 

 Many symptoms of psychological dysfunction have been described with hypothyroidism. Those symptoms most commonly related to thyroid deficiency include forgetfulness, fatigue, mental slowness, inattention, and emotional lability.

Symptoms of thyroid storm include: Feeling extremely irritable or grumpy. 

The disease is hereditary and may develop at any age in men or women, but it's much more common in women ages 20 to 30, according to the Department of Health and Human Services .

The thyroid hormone regulates metabolism in every organ of the body, including the brain. When thyroid hormone is low, it can affect your memory span and ability to concentrate. For many people, brain fog is a fleeting symptom.

Even mild cases of hypothyroidism may increase the risk of weight gain and obesity. People with the condition often report having a puffy face as well as excess weight around the stomach or other areas of the body.

Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism—can cause under-eye bags or circles. 

Research suggests that up to 13 per cent of individuals with high cholesterol also have an underactive thyroid. As a result, many experts recommend that doctors routinely test people with high cholesterol for hypothyroidism.

It is vital for people with unexplained fatigue or other signs or symptoms of hypothyroidism to see a doctor. Without treatment, an underactive thyroid can lead to serious complications, such as infertility, obesity, and heart disease.

A doctor can carry out a simple blood test to check a person’s thyroid hormone levels. Treatment for hypothyroidism involves taking synthetic thyroid hormones. These medications are safe and effective once a person takes the right dose.

Helping Thyroid Function

Vitamin B Complex can help improve brain fog by reducing stress and boosting your mood. It can also improve poor memory and a weakened immune system. Vitamin B12 helps stabilize the function of the brain and boost your overall energy levels. The best time to take vitamin B12 is in the morning, so it won't affect your sleep, on an empty stomach.

Supplementing with vitamin C may help maintain brain health and improve brain fog symptoms.

Omega-3s

Magnesium

Supplementing with Selenium - 

helps protect the thyroid from damage caused by oxidative stress. The thyroid contains high amounts of selenium, and a deficiency can lead to thyroid dysfunction - 55 mcg of selenium daily from all sources. No interactions were found between levothyroxine and selenium. This does not necessarily mean no interactions exist. Selenomethionine and selenocysteine are better absorbed by the gut.

 

Always consult your healthcare provider if going to take supplements with medication or underlying health conditions.

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism discovered that fasting resulted in a 53 percent reduction in serum T3 levels (your active thyroid hormone that increases metabolism) and a 58 percent increase in reverse T3 (RT3) levels, which block thyroid hormone.

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Studies in the UK report an annual incidence of primary hypothyroidism in 3.5 and 0.6 per 1000 women and men, respectively. Some 3% of the UK population is currently taking long-term thyroid therapy. Of these patients, 40 to 48% are being over or undertreated.

Rachel Hill’s book is a no-fuss manual for people like you who want to learn about their thyroid health. 

 Complete a saliva test to check for adrenal fatigue. Addressing any adrenal dysfunction helps many people to feel well again.

Order or ask for a 24-hour saliva test, testing your cortisol levels at four key points of the day, to find out if you have adrenal fatigue. If your doctor won’t do this, you can very simply order it yourself and complete it at home. Here U.K and Here U.S.A

  • Dark chocolate or other cocoa-based foods.

  • Fatty fish, including salmon, trout and sardines.

  • Shellfish, including shrimp, clams and scallops.

  • Chia seeds.

  • Walnuts.

  • Citrus fruits.

  • Berries, including cranberries, blueberries and strawberries.

  • A cup of instant oatmeal contains 10 micrograms of selenium, while raw oats have up to 23 micrograms

  • Apple cider vinegar works wonders when it comes to detoxifying and maintaining balanced hormonal levels in the body. Adding 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with a few drops of honey in warm water is an effective remedy to regulate your hormones, including the thyroid. Incorporating ACV may be a helpful step in managing the condition as it helps control one's sugar levels. A recently conducted study stated that people with thyroid who took 2 tablespoons of ACV with a bedtime cheese snack woke up with much lower blood sugar and thyroid levels. Nuts too are a great source to curb unwanted high thyroid levels. Snack on sea salt and ACV almonds. 

  • A sugar-free diet

  • Hydration is good as it boosts metabolism. Hot water works better than cold water when it comes to giving metabolism the required boost. Having said that, just ensure that the water you use is uncontaminated. Tap water tends to contain chemicals such as chlorine, fluoride and lead, which can drastically impact your thyroid health. So it's best to have warm boiled water.

  • Get enough sleep – 7-8 hours a day, go to bed at 10 pm or no later than midnight.

  • Regular exercise.

Optimal thyroid levels

If your TSH, Free T3, Free T4, TpoAb, TgAb, Reverse T3 are not optimal, it could well be why you still don’t feel well and have ongoing issues. Please know that being ‘in range’, ‘fine’ or ‘normal’ is very different to having them optimised. Taking thyroid hormone levels from simple ‘in range’ to optimal can make a world of difference.

Not everyone does well on T4-only medication like Synthroid and Levothyroxine. Some require T3 medicine or Natural Desiccated Thyroid, to feel well.

Combating Brain Fog

A bad thyroid day - a brief journal exercise

Today, as I write this, I'm struggling. My head feels heavy, cloudy, incapable of thinking straight. I've had hot flushes, overwhelm of emotions, but mostly tired, vacant feelings. It's horrible and can be quite scary until realising it is a thyroid flare. You wonder what's wrong with you. Are you going insane? The emotional ride can really hit you that bad.

Cause: My prescription was returned to the doctors by the chemist, a mistake, and so my tablets were delayed for nearly a week. I've been taking my thyroid meds for two days now but obviously, the missed doses took their toll today. It's knocked me for six. Yesterday I was fine. Normal. That's how quick thyroid issues can hit - bam! You're all out of sync. I'm only managing to write this as wanted to record the 'feels' while having the bad thyroid day. I won't be publishing this until later.

 

Nothing can ease you. There are no distractions for you sort of feel numb - too tired. Dazed. Anxiousness rises as you have no control - it's such a challenging time.  

Writing this is helping me to stay logical. I've also not long taken supplements of vitamin D, B/B12, and vitamin C to try and help my system rebalance a little. 

It's evening now, a feel a little more myself. The anxiety has passed. I'm able to concentrate, and my mind has mostly cleared of brain fog. I have a dull headache. Still tired, probably mental exhaustion from stress chemicals. The best way that I can explain the fogginess is that neurons just refuse to communicate - and it's like you're stuck in a void of heaviness and so very tired but anxious so can't sleep. SCD is made worse by these episodes. My inflammation has flared again too, started today after only about a week of improvement.

It's draining when the physical affects the mental. Invisible to all but you. Finally, I'm openly communicating these areas, albeit via this website. For me, it's a sanctuary in a way, a created safe space to share with no embarrassment, shame, or need of further explanation. 

 

xoxo

Many thyroid patients are kept non-optimally treated when doctors test TSH only and keep them on T4-only medicine like Levothyroxine which doesn’t help them get better. 

Knowledge about hypothyroidism in the general public is so poor, workplaces often aren’t aware of how much it can cripple people. Doctors refusing to listen about how our inadequately treated hypothyroidism is affecting simple daily living and how work lives are also causing a lot of harm.

Read more Here  

My Experience

Since I hit my forties, I always felt tired. I thought it was just a me thing. I found it hard to get things together sometimes, and my anxiousness came and went in unexplained ways - mostly for no reason. I didn't want to tell the doctor that I felt tired, it seemed trivial to me, not an illness. Hence, I lived with it for years before other stuff started happening. I thought that I was going through the menopause. Putting on weight but not eating a lot at all. Periods were all over the place. The one thing that bothered me and seemed weird, my hair started falling out - a lot. I had a routine smear appointment and general check-up. The nurse said that I was overweight and I explained that I didn't know how as didn't really eat much. My appetite had got less and less over the years. I didn't ever feel hungry. Then I explained that my hair was falling out and was probably all due to menopause. She stated that she wanted my thyroid levels checked - and the rest is history. I had chronic hypothyroidism. I had never heard of it. This is one of the reasons I wanted to add this page to the site. If I hadn't heard of it, how many others haven't either?

It really is such a vital organ that affects every part of your body. I'm amazed, in truth, why there are no routine checks for patients. There should be. 

What I thought were small things not to concern a doctor with, were in fact big things. It took nearly three years for my hair to thicken again, not all body hair has grown back, and I still struggle with weight and appetite. I also developed an unprovoked DVT not long after and bad inflammation and was diagnosed with arthritis, gastro, and gallstones. My teeth had been deteriorating too. I was told it was due to lack of enamel, but now I know it was due to my thyroid being so bad - I literally felt as if I was falling apart. It's why my second novel wasn't published soon after my first as intended. I was ill, quite bad. I also have SCD which I write about on this website, similar to ASD (autism) and was feeling so fragile. For years I managed to get by and face the challenges of SCD but the hypothyroidism has heightened it. That time period, for me, was the dark night of the soul that rocked me hard. I'm still healing from it three and a half years later. I have no idea how many years I actually had this disorder, but if screening was made common practice, perhaps much of this could've been avoided or at the very least, treated sooner. Awareness is everything.

I just want you to be aware of thyroid issues and if there are any areas of your life that don't feel right/interfere with normal daily routine, talk to the doctor, or a nurse. Please, do not leave for as long as I did. Your health matters, physical and mental. Even if the change seems small, or comes and goes, discuss with a doctor. 

Big love,

 

 

xoxo

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