As you recall, last month we addressed why the standard of care treatment for thyroid disease is inadequate from both a testing and treatment standard. This month is dedicated to why the standard of care approach to thyroid health makes it difficult to identify autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis).
The reason the standard of care approach to thyroid health makes it so difficult to identify autoimmune thyroid disease is because Hashimoto’s often manifests itself as a polyendocrine autoimmune pattern. This means that a person with Hashimoto’s will commonly present with other symptoms that appear to be unrelated. Someone may have antibodies to transglutaminase (causing Celiac disease), cerebellum (causing neurologic symptoms), intrinsic factor (causing pernicious anemia), glutamic acid decarboxylase (causing anxiety/panic attacks and late onset of type 1 diabetes), just to name a few.
An all too common story involves a patient who starts out feeling less than their best and they go to the doctor asking to get some blood work done and possibly checking their thyroid health. The test results, often inadequate (see our April 2018 article), indicate nothing is wrong with their thyroid. They then end up seeing multiple doctors/specialists chasing a variety of symptoms many times with no answers to why they feel so bad. It is the seemingly never-ending loop of referrals from specialist to specialist that makes it almost impossible to get the actual diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease. This is extremely frustrating for anyone who has found themselves in such a loop.
What do I actually mean by the “never ending loop of referrals?” Let’s paint a picture like this. A patient goes to their primary care doctor complaining of fatigue and exhaustion, hair loss, brittle nails and constipation. The primary doctor runs a handful of labs and rules out thyroid problems (remember they likely only ran at best 30% of the necessary testing for thyroid health). Ruling out thyroid, they refer the patient to a gastroenterologist for the constipation complaint. By the time the patient arrives at the gastroenterologist, complaints of slight balance issues have started as well as some anxiety. The gastroenterologist tests for tissue transglutaminase, maybe gliadin and maybe secretory IgA (3 tests) and they show up negative. Unfortunately, there are 24 tests that could have been run but were not. The gastroenterologist then refers the patient to the neurologist for the balance issues and to a psychiatrist for the anxiety. The neurologist finds nothing and the psychiatrist prescribes some form of anti-anxiety medication or antidepressant to address the anxiety complaints. Meanwhile, the initial problems of fatigue and exhaustion, hair loss, brittle nails and constipation are slowly getting worse. I know this will sound familiar to many of you. Let me invite you to get off of that merry-go-round endless loop of referrals and find someone to truly address the cause of your problems.
What needs to be understood for the vast majority of patients is something that is two-fold. First off, the initial testing that is ran is many times inadequate and simply not enough is checked to adequately assess what is truly happening from a body physiology (cellular health) standpoint. Second, most people do not have a problem with their thyroid gland. They really have a problem with their immune system and it is attacking the thyroid, or transglutaminase, or the cerebellum, or intrinsic factor, or glutamic acid decarboxylase, causing the symptoms of fatigue, hair loss, brittle nails, constipation balance issues, anxiety, etc. This is why many people chase symptoms for years before finally getting to the root of what is actually causing the problem, which is their dysfunctional immune system. This is also why we do things differently in our clinic and why we have so much success getting people healthy.
If you would like more information regarding thyroid health or any of the treatments, therapies, or services offered at The Institute of Natural Health, please contact us at (314) 293-8123 or visit us at the theinstituteofnaturalhealth.com. Dr. TJ Williams is the Clinic Director for the Institute of Natural Health and the host of the radio program Wellness 101, which provides common-sense, science-based strategies for a healthy life. Wellness 101 airs Sundays at 3:00pm on FM NewsTalk 97.1.