Sunday, September 18, 2011

"What the doctor didn't tell me"

Found this from my favorite site and it affects me directly so I thought I would share :)

As many of you know, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis earlier this year. Hashi’s is an autoimmune condition where the thyroid is being attacked, and the symptoms are widely varied from person to person. As with other autoimmune disorders, conventional wisdom states that nothing can be done to stop the attack by your immune system, and that medication will only relieve symptoms at best. I simply refuse to believe that nothing can be done to correct my immune system, and I’m on a mission to treat my condition!

My conventional doctors actually tell me that “nothing” can be done to treat Hashimoto’s directly. They simply prescribe thyroid hormone pills to supplement my thyroid’s decreasing abilities, which acts to soften the symptoms I experience from Hashi’s. The long-term prospect is that my body will simply continue to attack my thyroid until one day it just up and dies, leaving me dependent on thyroid hormone meds like Synthroid for the rest of my life. No thanks, I’ll keep looking for a better outlook.

After doing a lot of my own research on the topic, I learned there are many “alternative” therapies patients have used with varying degrees of success, none of which the general practitioners or endocrinologist specialist mentioned. So here’s what I learned that the MD’s never told me:

Many autoimmune symptoms are improved on low-inflammation diets.
     Guess what the major inflammation causers are…grains (esp wheat), sugar, and vegetable oils! Yep, you guessed it – going paleo/primal has helped many people to manage their autoimmune conditions.

If you have thyroid problems do NOT eat these vegetables raw: broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, mustard, kohlrabi, and turnips.
     These belong to the cruciferous family of vegetables and are known as crucifers. Cooking or fermenting these vegetables greatly reduces their effect on thyroid functions, and they are then generally considered safe.
     Monitor your symptoms after consuming to determine your sensitivity to the cooked versions.

Nutrient levels can have a profound effect on your body’s ability to deal with imbalanced systems, so get a full panel of blood work done to check for any nutrient imbalances or other signs of unwellness. Review this with your health care provider.
     There is one nutrient in particular that I have seen reported numerous times to have improved autoimmune symptoms once brought back into a healthy range: Vitamin D. Get frequent but limited sun exposure, and look into taking a good D3 supplement, if necessary.

The immune system *may* be brought back into a balance through appropriate treatments and lifestyle changes.
     In order to pursue these therapies, you must find a practitioner who specializes in these “alternative” or “holistic” approaches to thyroid health.
This is NOT an exhaustive list, and you should NOT take this as advice or recommendations to treat your own condition. Talk to your own doctor or specialist before making changes in your treatment plan to ensure that it is the right thing for you. I put this list together to inform you of steps that have helped others, but these may not apply to your individual case. Aside from the Hashimoto’s, I am in excellent health and do not have contending afflictions that may have interfered with any of these steps. Please work with a professional you trust to assess your current care.

I know there are many, many amazing women and men out there dealing with thyroid issue, but many individuals still think they’re the only ones they know with these problems. It just isn’t true. Please share what has or hasn’t worked for you in the comments!

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