Take the time to educate yourself, you're the only one who cares about your health the way you do.
If you're new to my page, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's in December 2013 and it was a long over due diagnosis. The details about my symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment can all be see in previous posts by clicking on the hyperlinks.
What I want to share with you today is how to get answers and a diagnosis if you think you might be suffering from thyroid problems or Hashimoto's - an autoimmune disease that causes your body to attack your thyroid.
Link between diet and thyroid disease
The first thing to note is that there is a big difference in hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's (Hashi's). As I mentioned above, Hashi's is an autoimmune disease, which means your body is having an abnormal response to a substance. It has been discussed and shared that some of the triggers of Hashi's can be caused from gluten and products with refined (white table) sugar.
See the following studies for supporting research based evidence:
Autoimmune thyroid disorders and coeliac disease
The presence of the antigliadin antibodies in autoimmune thyroid diseases
Even more evidence regarding the sensitivity of gluten in thyroid deficient people. Chris Kessler (2010) wrote about the connection. Kessler shares, it’s a case of mistaken identity. The molecular structure of gliadin, the protein portion of gluten, closely resembles that of the thyroid gland. When gliadin breaches the protective barrier of the gut, and enters the bloodstream, the immune system tags it for destruction. These antibodies to gliadin also cause the body to attack thyroid tissue. This means if you have AITD and you eat foods containing gluten, your immune system will attack your thyroid. Even worse, the immune response to gluten can last up to 6 months each time you eat it. This explains why it is critical to eliminate gluten completely from your diet if you have AITD. There’s no “80/20″ rule when it comes to gluten. Being “mostly” gluten-free isn’t going to cut it. If you’re gluten intolerant, you have to be 100% gluten-free to prevent immune destruction of your thyroid.
I am, at the present time, mostly gluten free and I have noticed a great difference in my feeling of wellness when I take in gluten. I was feeling so good after removing all gluten that I decided to add some back in to my diet. After all, "bad food" in moderation is okay, right?
I have learned through personal experience and tracking my own reactions that I need to eliminate it completely from my diet. I am having a hard time accepting this because I love to bake. I loath cooking, but love to bake. Of course flour is a staple for baking, and gluten free flour just isn't the exact same, especially with respect to baking goods.
However, as I sit here feeling exhausted and worn out, after consuming gluten for the past few days and at every meal and getting normal sleep, I am able to tell myself it isn't worth it. I'd rather not eat horribly delicious foods in order to feel normal.
So with that said, I want to share with you all the basics of figuring out if you could have a thyroid problem.
What to do now?
Most doctors only test for the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) when checking to see if patients have a thyroid problem. Unfortunately, this is an outdated way of confirming there is a problem with the thyroid function for several reasons.
The range in which is considered normal can be vast, and varies from one lab to the next. In the fall of 2002, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) changed the suggested range of the TSH levels to reflect 0.3 - 3.0. This change, unfortunately, has not been accepted harmoniously and therefore is not representative of the united affect that was intended. Thus, leaving patients responsible for being their own advocates.
Here is an excerpt from the AACE, I suggest you take the time to read this and educate yourself of the affects of TSH, T3, T4, Free T3, Free T4 and the thyroid antibodies have on one another, and what they mean for you.
"Although there is a consensus that the lower limit of the euthyroid reference interval for TSH should be 0.2–0.4 mIU/L, experts disagree about the appropriate upper limit. In 2002, researchers published an analysis of thyroid function test results from a large survey of individuals representative of the U.S. population (3). The study revealed that within a small standard error the mean TSH level in the general population is approximately 1.5 mIU/L. This finding prompted organizations to call for lowering the upper limit of the normal TSH reference range. The National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry recommended 4 mIU/L, while the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists set the upper limit at 3 mIU/L, and other groups went as low as 2.5 mIU/L. Many clinicians resisted these new limits, because they worried that a significant number of patients would be unnecessarily labeled as having thyroid dysfunction, especially given the fact that there was no evidence that treatment of these individuals would provide any benefit."
Thyroid tests to ask your doctor for.
You need the following:
TSH - Thyroid Stimulating Hormone - range is 0.3 - 3.0 - optimal range is lower end of the range.
T4 - The hormone your body produces and sends to your thyroid to be "processed".
Free T3 - The hormone your thyroid converts the T4 into. This is the hormone that your body actually absorbs.Read all about T3 and the importance of it here, The Thyroid World’s Queen T3.
Thyroid antibodies - This is the test that tells your if you have Hashimoto's, an auto immune disease that attacks your thyroid and gives you symptoms of hypothyroidism.
At minimum you should have the TSH, Free T3 and the Thyroid Antibodies.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Synthroid and it's generic version, Levothyroxine, are only T4 correcting medications. If your Free T3 is not optimal these medicines will not be helpful in ridding your symptoms. You would need to discuss another medicine with your doctor that contains a T3 component. Some examples would be Armour Thyroid (desiccated thyroid hormone) and Nature Thyroid. I am not a doctor, and it is important that you only use the information I share as a guide to figure out a plan with your own doctor. If your doctor isn't listening to you, fire them. You are their boss.
Patient Recommended Doctors
Hashimoto's Institute shares information on how to figure out triggers that are causing the autoimmune disease, Hashimoto's, and put is into remission. There are many experts that have come together to share the information they have learned from studies and experiences.
Article regarding testing and T3 Hormone: The Thyroid World’s Queen T3. She shares a great deal of information and specifics on the T3 hormone and the importance it has on body function.
Dr. Rouzier shares how inaccurate the TSH test is alone.