One of the most misunderstood glands in the human body is the thyroid. This small butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck plays a crucial role in the functioning of your body. But thyroid problems are often overlooked and misdiagnosed. Many times my patients complain about feeling tired and sluggish which are very common symptoms that can be attributed to a number of conditions. However, it could also signal a thyroid problem. And that’s why I want to get answers to questions and misconceptions about the thyroid.
Lynda considers herself a healthy person. She worked out and ate right. So she very surprised when she diagnosed with thyroid disease. Her symptoms were a bit subtle at first. But over time, she started feeling more sluggish and she gained weight. Then anxiety started creeping in. At first, she thought it was because she was getting older. But over time it just got worse. She says, “When it got to the peak of it, when I was feeling really bad, I had pressure on my chest. It almost felt like a five-pound weight”. She was also very uncomfortable on the inside, feeling shaky all the time, and feeling very weak. Lynda finally went to the doctor and found out she had Hashimoto’s, which means she has an underactive thyroid.
So Lynda started medication but was a bit surprised with how long it took for her to get her life back. She tells me how it’s important for her to listen to her body more often, and also shares how her eating habits have changed and why it’s important to eat clean.
Not everyone understands how the thyroid really works or it’s importance to the human body. And that’s why Endocrinologist, Dr. Opada Alzohaili, joins me to provide some valuable information.
The thyroid is small gland we all have at the bottom of our neck. It sits on top of the trachea. It’s so important that we can’t live without it. It affects our metabolism, it’s like the gas or the energy for the body. It controls your temperature, your sleep, your mood, your weight, your skin, and hair. It affects almost every part of your body! And everything you eat, including medicine you take, has to be metabolized by the thyroid. So why is it so hard to diagnose thyroid disease? Dr. Alohaili explains that there are two parts to this, one is that thyroid symptoms are vague and common, and two that the symptoms can be misleading. So a patient may think they have sleep problems and then see a sleep specialist. And then they can end up being misdiagnosed. Dr. Alohaili also explains why blood tests can be misleading, why it’s important to have a physical exam, and how exposure to chemicals and toxins may be affecting this very vital hormone gland.
One in eight women will develop thyroid problems during their lifetime. Yet thyroid disease is still widely misunderstood. So my next guest, Functional Medicine Physician, Dr. Amy Myers, has made it her mission to help patients address the root cause of thyroid disorders. Dr. Myers herself was affected personally with a thyroid issue. During her second year of medical school, she started having tremors and weight loss. Her legs became weak as she walked down stairs. She suffered from insomnia and panic attacks. She went to see a doctor, and since she was a very healthy person, the doctor told her that “it was medical school stress”. Dr. Myers says many women are “sort of dismissed by their doctors.” But Dr. Myers insisted on blood work. And sure enough, she found out she had Graves’ disease. She explains, “I had an autoimmune condition that was causing my thyroid to be overactive. So that’s why I was having all of these terrible symptoms.”
Dr. Myers finished medical school and after working as an emergency physician, she decided to go into functional medicine. She says she “took all the training and found out the real root cause of why I got what I got and have successfully helped many people reverse their conditions.” And that’s exactly what we discuss in depth during our discussion. Dr. Myers shares that she’s come up with five root causes for thyroid or autoimmune conditions and explain what they are. It won’t’ be the same for everyone, but she says, “those five pieces of that puzzle tend to be for everybody with thyroid and autoimmune dysfunction.” I can tell you that one of them is about food. She does a great job of explaining how nutrient deficiencies is one of the main reasons that people aren’t producing adequate amounts of thyroid hormones, and exactly which ones you should be focusing on.
Women are eight times more likely than men to experience thyroid issues. And the symptoms can drastically change a woman’s quality of life. So if you’re a man whose significant other is suffering, what can you do? That what my last guest and I discuss. Rock Robbins actually found himself in that position and used it as an opportunity to empower other men through his website, MarriedToHashimotos.com.
Rock and his wife were married for about seven years when she started having symptoms. She was feeling tired, her stomach was bothering her, her skin and hair were feeling dry, but nobody put the pieces together. It was quite the change from her usual self, as Rock says, “She was just dynamo, tons of energy. This force of nature getting things done, and then at the end, she was gaining weight. She was afraid to go out… I felt like, where was the woman I married?” Rock’s wife was eventually diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and that started to get her life back on track. Rock and I discuss the many ways men can help support women. Rock says that many guys feel like they can take a back seat in a marriage. When in reality they should be focused on “being a partner, not just a passenger.” I fully agree with him.