Thyroid UK
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Are you being served?

Are you being served?

Hi Everyone, I've just completed my training in Functional Medicine to broaden my approach as an osteopath. Hope some of you find value in my blog here, would really appreciate any feedback.

"You must be very confused. If my doctor had just told me that my thyroid was to blame for my low mood, constipation, weight gain and generally feeling pretty crappy I would be too. Just a quick Google of any one of these symptoms, or any of the many more that can be associated with thyroid problems, will leave you bamboozled.

For a decade, I’ve dived deep into why some people maintain good health whilst others suffer ill health. I’ve therefore studied the thyroid on many different occasions. I even have a vested interest as family members suffer thyroid problems and so this encourages further reading in that area.

What I can now safely say is; if your doctor has only measured one or two markers, such as Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) they’ve not delved deep enough into your case. If you’ve only ever been offered synthetic T4 (it has different brand names across the globe), you’ve probably been short changed when it comes to interventions.

Imagine many different sized buckets all on the floor together in the rain. The buckets represent the different systems within your body and smallest bucket of these is your thyroid gland, because it fills up quickest and alerts you a problem with your health as a whole. Now you could tip the water from this bucket into another bucket and that would relieve the pressure temporarily but surely it’d make more sense to find the leak and stop so much rain reaching the buckets in the first instant.

Having read Dr Ray Peat’s work, Chris Kresser LAC’s work and Dr Kharrazian’s work, there’s one common theme: start with the diet and digestive system. If your doctor doesn’t acknowledge the role of the digestive system in your current symptom picture then they clearly aren’t interested in finding a long-term solution for you. Take ownership of your own health and find somebody else to work with to get the results you want.

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AncestralHeath,

Why would anyone be confused to be told that their symptoms are due to low thyroid levels? Did your studies include hyperthyroidism too?

We're aware that TSH, FT4, FT3, thyroid antibodies and possibly rT3 are the desirable thyroid tests to diagnose hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's, hyperthyroidism and Graves. We're also aware that due to cost cutting primary care will often only test TSH and FT4 and sometimes TSH only.

You don't appear to be aware that Levothyroxine is the only therapy recommended by the British Thyroid Association and therefore the only treatment available on the NHS for most hypothyroid patients. Liothyronine (synthetic T3) can be prescribed in combination with Levothyroxine or instead of when recommended by an endocrinologist but it is so expensive that NHS England is consulting on whether Liothyronine should be withdrawn from NHS prescribing due to cost. NDT is not licensed for UK use and therefore rarely prescribed on NHS although a couple of members are prescribed it. Many of our members buy NDT online and self medicate.

Your bucket analogy doesn't work for me. If one's thyroid bucket is over full one is hyperthyroid and needs to stop production of thyroid hormone with anti-thyroid drugs. Excess can't be diverted elsewhere. If one is lacking thyroid hormone ie hypothyroid the only replacement is thyroid hormone and that can't poured from another organ's bucket.

I doubt anyone's NHS GP or endocrinologist will consider diet and digestive system when diagnosing hyper or hypothyroidism but many of our members have researched extensively and improved their gut health immeasurably. Dr Ray Peat, Chris Kresser, Dr Kharrazian and a number of other doctors and pharmacists are widely read by members who dissatisfied with NHS and private doctor's thyroid care took control of their own health a long time ago.

I think many of our members have a better understanding of thyroid dysfunction than you have demonstrated and I find your post rather patronising. Please don't make the mistake of trawling for business here.

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Thank you for taking the time to reply and I take on board everything you say. My post's aim was to simply try to open reader's minds up to delving more deeply into why their 'thyroid' symptoms have manifested in their life. I'm a firm believer that the current medical paradigm for treating chronic disease is failing and that a new approach needs to emerge and that approach is Functional Medicine. it's unfortunate that this is only available privately at the moment and this may change in time.

The bucket analogy is a way of thinking 'upstream' - not simply accepting the fact that you may now have thyroid issues that need medication for life but instead doing some research into why this has happened and whether diet and lifestyle changes could lead to a better solution for that individual. I'm not saying this will always be the case but if you solely approach things from an orthodox medical paradigm you'll never even consider this possibility.

How about I use a car analogy - having symptoms of tiredness, weight gain, joint pain etc. is a sign that there's a oil warning light on the dashboard. The medical paradigm that you're proposing as the only approach would be to take the bulb out of the dashboard and carry on. I'm saying lets find out what's causing that warning light in terms of lifestyle and diet, because all the research now shows that 85% of chronic disease is due to lifestyle factors and not genetics. Now not all of those lifestyle factors are controllable, for example the health of your mother whilst you were in utero, but the majority are.

I hope this clarifies the point of view I'm coming from, with a true intention of wanting to help people. Believe me, if I just wanted to get business - I wouldn't be in the private health profession - most people are brainwashed with the medical paradigm from the mainstream media. I just feel a calling to help those that start to wake up to the fact that the pursuit of a 'label' i.e. diagnosis from multiple different specialists in the current medical system just isn't serving them. The alternative is to focus on creating health within their own bodies and taking a long term view.

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AncestralHealth,

If you spent a little time reading posts you would see that many members are very concerned about the 'why' and want to understand the origins and causes of their thyroid dysfunction. A considerable number of members are not happy with allopathic treatment and consult FDs and nutritionalists already.

If we're to stay with the car analogy I think a better analogy is that having weight gain, fatigue, joint pain and constipation may be a sign of having run out of petrol. If the tank is empty the car will not drive until the tank is topped up. The petrol in this case being thyroid replacement. Topping up the oil or screen wash simply wouldn't cut it.

The pursuit of a 'label', or as I prefer to describe it, a diagnosis for the debilitating symptoms one is experiencing, is what will lead to resolution of the symptoms ie a prescription for thyroid replacement if one is hypothyroid. Improving diet, lifestyle and optimising vitamin and mineral levels is, of course, important but none of those things will restore low thyroid levels in a person experiencing thyroid failure or pituitary or hypothalmic dysfunction nor will they repair or regenerate a damaged thyroid.

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I also trained as an osteopath and naturopath and practise Functional Medicine. My health crashed after a year when all my close family got ill or upped and died and I became hypothyroid over a week. The people on this forum are the world's experts on the thyroid and related subjects, and without them I think I would have died. I suggest regular reading of the posts if you want to learn more.

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DNA is definitely involved for those with DIO2 gene variation. No amount of lifestyle changes or diet will change that.

But obviously many of us are streets a head of the TSH & T4 only testing NHS offers.

Most GP's (but not all) see zero connection between Hashimoto's and gut function, low stomach acid, gluten or low vitamin levels. In fact many rarely even test for Hashimoto's in the first place.

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Hi SlowDragon. I just read your story and fair play to you for all your experimentation with supplementation, drug levels and diet. Makes for a very interesting read.

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I do not know how my situation would enter into your world of buckets and water. I have no thyroid, caused by a simple benign multinodular goitre being surgically removed to save my life. I have no problems whatsoever with any other organs, except for a nephrectomy for cancer.

I never recovered my good health after the thyroid op after the several months it took for my hypo symptoms to fully manifest themselves. After 8 years I gave up on the doctors who only ever gave me levo despite numerous complaints that it was the wrong medicine. Now take NDT and my health has improved but it seems will never recover fully to what it was in the period before the goitre struck me down.

Possibly caused partially by the aging process, just reached 70.

There is not just a single variation of the story about thyroid afflictions. Many of them involve Hashimoto disease, but you must be aware that each case can be very different.

There is no way on earth that any osteopath could ever have been of the slightest use to me when I really was taking the WRONG medicine. Neither can you be of any use at all to anybody else who remains ill because they also are being given incorrect treatment by their GP and their endocrinologist. My GP disobeyed the INSTRUCTIONS of the GMC by failing to inform me of the existence of either T3/T4 combined treatment or of NDT, a mistake that I shall be taking further very soon. They ruined my retirement and I cannot forgive them for that.

It would be more use to the world if you recognised the extremely bad treatment being handed out to numerous thyroid patients, some of who may be referred to you, who simply need a change of medication rather than anything you could possibly do for them.

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There are always going to be individual exceptions. However, taking a step back from your experience and looking at the wider picture of health and it's clear that too many people are becoming unwell with chronic issues. One of the ways this ill health is manifesting in some people is thyroid symptoms. I believe through years of experience working with lots of different patients in different states of health, that not enough people are asking the question WHY.

The is far too much focus on fire-fighting once the problem gets to a stage where it's difficult to reverse. I'm simply promoting a view that as soon as the earliest symptoms of decrease in vitality appear - be that constipation, pain, energy fluctuations, mood disturbances - that is the time to delve deep and find out WHY. GP's and specialists simply won't do this delving, they will simply try to 'label' you with a condition and prescribe medication. Let us not forget that medical error is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2139

It takes a different way of thinking to have a preventative approach rather than a reactive, reductionist approach that I feel most people on these forums have been brainwashed into believing because they put so much faith into a medical system that it failing them.

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I would certainly be very happy if someone would give me a definitive answer, sufficient to satisfy a judge in a court of law, as to what caused my thyroid gland to effectively self-destruct. It had to be surgically removed in 2 operations to save my life. I did ask the surgeon and others but nobody seemed to know. Neither did they seem to care.

I realise that my case is unusual but each and every case is different for thyroid afflictions, according either to the symptoms or the quantity and type of medication that is needed to actually fight those symptoms successfully. This is hampered tremendously by the lack of knowledge of many doctors, their unpreparedness to accept their ignorance, their unwillingness to deviate from their "recommendations", the state of mind of their patients which accepts the status quo because they feel so bad and the difficulties of obtaining the alternative medicines that will probably return them to good health. What we have now, not only in this country but seemingly worldwide, is unacceptable and horrific in the effects it has on many people's lives. I experienced it and I managed to escape by moving onto NDT, but for many people, and I mean several hundred thousand in the UK alone, their problems remain for the rest of their lives for many different reasons.

When we have such corrupt and influential Pharmaceutical companies who encourage the current system to remain in place thereby making themselves rich, it would be far more sensible to solve this problem first rather than try to concentrate on another area where the same resistance to change would be encountered as, once again, it is in the interests of Big Pharma for it to not succeed.

In my case I know how my problem was caused but I cannot possibly prove it. I just wish I could. Possibility the same thing manifested itself in others in the form of Hashimoto disease. It would certainly cause immense problems for the world's economy in the form of medical compensation if that could be proven.

I would suggest that, if you want a starting point for discovering what causes thyroid diseases, you obtain statistics about its worldwide prevalence over the last century and correlate this to the incidence of radioactivity in the environment. If you manage to do this please send me the data as I have been unable to do this. It may prove or disprove my genuine current beliefs. For your information, I live very close to the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant which has definitely released vast quantities of nuclear materials into the environment for several decades and I have had significant close contact to naturally occurring iodine on the local beaches. Sellafield did deal with nuclear bomb materials in the 1950's.

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I too believe there are significant environmental factors at play here, from all my studies I can safely say nothing happens in the body randomly. There is always a reason, but as you say it can be difficult to prove one way or another. Unfortunately I don't have the time or inclination to perform the research you speak of with regards global thyroid statistics.

I wholeheartedly share your opinions on the damaging effects of the pharmaceutical industry, but instead of concerning myself with that I'm looking to bring about change for the next generation through education. For me currently, this starts with trying to get my message to those generally in their 30's and 40's who are starting to show the signs of becoming unwell. If I can intervene with these people who are open minded enough to see there is another way and that decades of suffering can be avoided.

Through education, these can then teach their children and subsequent generations how to stay well, something that is unequivacolly possible for the vast majority. Our human body is an incredibly magical being with greater powers than any of us can comprehend, we just need more people to reconnect to that magic.

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