Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Is Linked To…

…Everything!

At least, that’s how it seems. I like to keep informed on the latest medical research regarding Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read an article with the headline that states that there is a link between a particular health condition and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Not only that, but I suffer from some of them as well. I’m sure many of you do too.

I recently discovered that Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) has been linked to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. How’d I discover that? Well, because I have PCOS. I have researched it. And in my research, I discovered Hashimoto’s is linked to it along with other conditions and diseases like insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, and diabetes. My latest focus is the links between Hashimoto’s and the whole slew of irritable bowel diseases. Why? Because guess what I’m going through right now! Yup, testing for GI issues. Joy.

If you have an auto-immune disease like Hashimoto’s, you should be aware that you’re at risk for any other autoimmune disease. I was already aware of that, so it came as no surprise to find articles describing links to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis with diseases like Crohn’s, Celiac Disease, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Sjogren’s Syndrome. Since kidney stones occur pretty frequently in patients with Sjogren’s Syndrome, I suppose it could be argued that there is a link between Hashimoto’s and kidney stones. Call it the six degrees of Hashimoto’s.

I guess my point is this, while you shouldn’t just blame all your ills on your Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, you shouldn’t just dismiss them either. There may be a link and it’s something you should bring up with your doctor to make sure. As a Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis patient, you are at risk for a great many other serious diseases. Stay vigilant. Make sure your concerns are addressed. The more you monitor your health, the easier it will be to 1) recognize new health risks sooner and 2) you’ll be able to mitigate any problems associated with those new health issues.

Are you getting your TSH tested often enough?

I’m sure most people with Hashimoto’s know that the TSH test doesn’t show the entire picture of what’s going on with you, but it’s the test doctors rely on most to adjust your treatment for the disease. The question that occurred to me early on, and which I’m sure has occurred to many other Hashi’s sufferers, is “How often should I have my TSH tested?”

When I went to an endocrinologist last year, for the first time in about 5 or 6 years, he told me as I was leaving that I should get tested again in 12 months and he’d see me again. I was a bit shocked, as it was obvious that my Hashimoto’s was not under well control. I’d had several medication adjustments in the previous years.

I had seen endocrinologists before who told me that at a minimum, I should have my TSH levels tested every 6 months. I would tend to agree with this, even if you feel your Hashimoto’s is under well control. If your Hashimoto’s isn’t under well control, however, I think (and this is just my opinion, consult your doctor) that you should be tested on a more frequent basis, every three to four months.

Listen to your body. If it’s telling you something is not right, get your TSH tested. If you can convince your doctor, get your free T3/T4 tested as well. The more data you can add to the picture, the better. As my grandma-in-law, a registered nurse for over 40 years, says “You know your body better than your doctors. If you think you need to be tested, ask your doctor.”

Finding the Right Doctor

Finding the right doctor can be frustrating and difficult, especially if you need a specialist for a disease like Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Let’s face it, doctors who understand what Hashi patients go through, are willing to listen, and will try treatments “outside of the box” are few and far between. I have had those who were knowledgeable and I’ve had those who listened, but rarely did I have both. Hashimoto’s sufferers need doctors who will do more than just look at numbers and adjust medications.

I am in the process of looking for a good endocrinologist. I have not had one for a while since my last one moved and shortly thereafter, I moved to another state. While doing some research on doctors in my local area, I ran across several great websites that provide doctor ratings across the US. Each of these sites work a little differently, so you’ll need to pick one based on your particular need. For example, some of these sites provide a list of doctors to read reviews on, which is great if you do not have a particular doctor in mind and are just searching for a highly rated doctor to try. Other sites let you research on a specific doctor’s name, which is best if you’re checking up on your own doctor or perhaps a doctor you plan on visiting. Some sites offer reviews by patients and others have reviews by medical organizations.

Below, I will detail the different sites I’ve found so far, how they work, and what information they provide. I will be adding to this list periodically, so check back soon.

Angie’s List.

Angie’s List lets you search doctor ratings by medical specialty. They provide a list of doctors in your area in that specialty, along with a report card compiled from the reviews of Angie’s List members. Each doctor is rated from A to F on:

  • Availability
  • Office Environment
  • Punctuality
  • Staff Friendliness
  • Bedside Manner
  • Communication
  • Effectiveness of Treatment
  • Billing and Administration.

Each patient review includes date of treatment, description of experience, patient comments, and answers to such questions as:

  • Value of service compared to price
  • Why the doctor was chosen
  • If the patient would recommend the doctor and/or visit them again
  • If the staff was helpful and courteous
  • If the examination room was clean and comfortable
  • If staff filed insurance claims for you
  • If staff or doctor helped with ongoing issues with insurance provider
  • How soon after scheduled appointment time patient was admitted to exam room
  • How soon after entering exam room patient was seen by physician
  • Did physician and/or staff discuss preventive care techniques
  • What patient liked most and least about the doctor
  • … and much more.

In addition, the list of doctors in your area includes how far they are, map location, any coupons or discounts offered, and any honors they’ve received.

Thyroid and Metabolism: Give Them a Boost!

Thyroid and Metabolism

Thyroid and metabolism are the main concerns in an article recently posted by physician Mark Hyman . This article details his 7 step plan to boost your low thyroid and metabolism. In the article, he details several factors that contribute to hypothyroidism and low metabolism.

These factors include:

  • Environmental factors such as chemicals and pesticides.
  • Chronic stress. Stress can suppress your thyroid.
  • Chronic inflammation from particular foods we eat.
  • Nutritional deficiencies of iodine, vitamin D, omega-3 fats, selenium, zinc, vitamin A, and the B vitamins.

His 7 step plan includes some very good advice to help you get your hypothyroidism under control. In a nutshell, these steps are:

  1. Treat the underlying causes of your hypothyroidism.
  2. Supporting your thyroid through good nutrition.
  3. Minimizing stress.
  4. Boosting thyroid function via exercise.
  5. Using supplements to provide the nutrients your thyroid needs.
  6. Heat therapy to help eliminate toxins.
  7. Thyroid hormone therapy.

For more details on Mark Hyman’s 7 step plan, view his article here.