10 Things I Hate About Thyroid Cancer

One year ago today, I was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer. I have been blessed in so many ways over the past year, but health-wise, it has sucked. Plain and simple. I have been down on my knees, crying out to God for help. And the message I seem to be getting is this: Trust your struggle. If you haven’t struggled, you can’t help people.

I’m writing a book. It’s called 10 Things I Hate About Thyroid Cancer. Sure, there are “Patient Guides” and “What to Expect” books out there. But I am telling my story in real-life, plain-speak.

Here’s the deal: You’re not crazy. Thyroid cancer sucks. But now it’s time to GET EDUCATED and OWN YOUR TREATMENT. Here is a sneak peek at the 10 worst things that get glossed over in all the other books.

10. It’s the best cancer!

When you get thyroid cancer, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, will tell you that it is the best kind of cancer to get. You will feel dismissed and guilty for even complaining about it. You won’t fit in with the thyroid disease crowd, and you definitely won’t fit in with the chemotherapy crowd. We’re on a tired, fat, lonely and depressed island. We are so lucky!

9. Endocrinologists

Patients with other types of cancer get the best of the best in doctors: oncologists. We ThyCa patients get endocrinologists. The “accountants of medicine.” One of the lowest paid and least empathetic medical specialties. They spend most of their day scolding diabetics to diet and exercise. Any guesses how they treat us?

8. The TSH Prison

After your thyroid is removed, your entire well-being will be reduced to one number = your TSH. You will no longer be allowed to have any thyroidless symptoms unless your TSH – a PITUITARY hormone marker – is elevated. If you do, the symptoms will be blamed on something else, and you will be completely on your own to find relief. You will have to fight like hell to find a doctor who thinks beyond the TSH number, especially as a cancer patient. Put your boxing gloves on!

7. Low Taste Iodine… Diet

Every year, you have to do an AWFUL low-iodine diet for your scan, and if there happens to be a Thyrogen medication shortage, you will have to go off your hormone replacement medication (and become completely incapacitated) for 6 weeks too. What’s a low-iodine diet? Just imagine 98% of the foods you eat. You can’t have any of those. There – that’s the diet.

6. RAI

RAI = Radioactive Iodine Treatments. I (luckily) haven’t had any of these yet, but I had to fight my way out of it. Based on everything I have learned from my ThyCa network of friends, it sucks pretty bad. I can’t imagine anything good coming from being so radioactive that you need a Geiger counter to find out if you are safe to be around other humans. Here’s the crappy thing: it’s shockingly unnecessary for many thyroid cancer patients whose tumors are less than 2 centimeters. Too bad most of our idiot doctors can’t be bothered to know that.

5. Getting fat

You’re probably going to gain weight. When I was diagnosed, I found ONE blogger who said she could not keep weight ON after her thyroidectomy. I clung to that hope, that I would at least get to be THIN after all this anguish. But I became “just another fat thyroid cancer patient.” Prepare yourself. Your metabolism will forever be changed, one way or another. And more often than not, you won’t like it.

4. The “new normal” sucks.

Being thyroidless brings all sorts of unwelcome symptoms. You’re tired all the time. Sometimes you are freezing. Sometimes you get hot flashes and sweat through your clothes. Your menstruation gets screwed up. Your hair falls out. You forget things. You’re clumsier. You’re depressed. You’re anxious. But the worst thing is that you never know how you are going to feel on a day-to-day basis, so there is no “normal.”

3. Most people don’t die from thyroid cancer.

Yes, the fact that most people don’t die from thyroid cancer DOES suck in some respects! That means doctors don’t take you seriously. I’ve even heard doctors say that it’s not “real cancer!” There is no cute thyroid cancer branding like “Save the Ta-Tas.” NFL players are not going to wear little butterflies on their jerseys to increase awareness about your disease. Pharmaceutical companies don’t invest in research for new thyroid cancer treatments. Insurance companies don’t cover medications that improve your quality of life. Sometimes your friends and family are unsympathetic. Half the time, people have to Google “thyroid” because they don’t even know what it is.

2. You’ve never really “beat” thyroid cancer.

No matter what kind of thyroid cancer you have, you are always left with the chronic disease of hypothyroidism. You don’t go through treatment and then move on with the rest of your life. You are forever dependent on pills to keep you alive. Your body never recovers from the day you lose your thyroid. You keep fighting, monitoring your symptoms and changing your medication. You don’t check the “survivor” box. Surviving becomes your lifestyle.

1. If Synthroid doesn’t work for you, GOOD LUCK.

It was patented in the 1960s and it is the “gold standard” of thyroid replacement. Too bad it only replaces 20% of what your real thyroid would give you. Over the last year, I have been to four different doctors, given 18 vials of blood, and spent over $5000 in cash to find a way to get something better. Oh, the stories I can tell! But there ARE options. And it is up to us to find them, and fight for optimal treatment.

My book will do more than complain about how much I hate thyroid cancer. I will tell my story, offer up coping mechanisms, and make you laugh along the way.

What do you think, thyroid cancer survivors? What do you hate about thyroid cancer?

 

Source: thyroidlesslife.com

Vitamin D Rates an A+ for Thyroid Health

A day without Vitamin D3 is like a day without sunshine — literally, as the sun is nature’s way of providing our bodies with this crucial vitamin that is so vital to the health of our cells, bones, muscles, heart, brain, and lungs. Vitamin D also provides potent immune system support, protecting us against infection.

For thyroid sufferers, this vitamin is particularly critical. Vitamin D, aka cholecalciferol, is essential to thyroid function — so much so that researchers classify it as a co-hormone. The thyroid’s very ability to function depends on the presence of Vitamin D, and thyroid treatment may not work as well without sufficient enough D present.

If you’re trying to shed pounds, here’s more sunshiny news: Increasing Vitamin D levels is associated with more efficient weight loss.

As hypothyroid patients, we owe it to ourselves to make sure our Vitamin D levels are regularly tested. The test is called 25-hydroxy vitamin D. At many labs, the reference range is 20-100 — many integrative hormone experts like to see levels of at least 50.

Vitamin D is called “the sunshine vitamin” for a reason — one way to absorb Vitamin D through ultraviolet B (UVB) is exposing bare skin to sunlight at midday, when the sun is at its most intense (and bare means unblocked by sunscreen). For best results using this method, spend some time outdoors, ideally in the middle of the day, and as far as possible from areas where heavy pollution blocks UVB rays, and at the highest possible altitude.

The more skin you expose, the more D is produced. Successful absorption of UVB takes as little as 15 minutes for fair-skinned folks, but as long as two hours for darker-skinned sunbathers. Your body can produce as much as 10,000-25,000 IU of Vitamin D in half the time it takes for your skin to turn pink and begin to burn — which is good news for those of us concerned about the risk of skin cancer.

Sun exposure may not be practical or recommended for everyone, so most people need to ensure that they have a Vitamin D rich diet. Foods that contain D3 include i.e. beef, sardines, salmon, shrimp, eggs, butter, goat cheese, chicken livers, sour cream, fortified milk, and mushrooms. It’s still very difficult to maintain optimal Vitamin D levels with sun exposure and food, so many people need to supplement with Vitamin D, using capsules or flavored liquids.

Supplements are widely available in capsule, tablet, or liquid drop form. For best absorption of another valuable vitamin, K — also an antioxidant that promotes brain, bone, and cellular health — take your supplemental Vitamin D together with healthy servings of K-rich greenery such as watercress, dried basil, sage, thyme, and asparagus. Kale, collard greens and Brussels sprouts are also rich in vitamin K (but they are also goitrogens, so be sure to cook or steam them.) .

Periodically, have your D3 levels rechecked, to make sure that you’re getting enough D from your various sources.

How do you get your Vitamin D3? Have you noticed any changes since boosting your intake? Please share in the comments.

 

Source: nahypothyroidism.org

Pregnancy and hypothyroidism – what patients have learned

I remember when I made the phone call to my doctor to find out if I was pregnant. “Yes,” the nurse said, “you are.” And my reaction? OH MY GOSH. I AM PREGNANT! ME!! I t was shocking, exhilarating, scary, fun.

Pregnancy: a time of a growing belly, different clothes, new dreams…and a host of physical demands on your body:

Your breasts increase to prepare for nursing;
your body’s blood volume increases to give nutrients to your baby;
your heart rate will rise to meet the demands of your increasing blood supply,
calorie storage will increase, and
progesterone and estrogen levels will rise.
And not only will your thyroid gland enlarge slightly, your TSH will raise and thyroid hormones will increase by 50%.

Why does my TSH go up with pregnancy? As your estrogen levels go up with pregnancy, so does a particular protein called T4-binding globulin (TBG). That, in turn, binds and lowers your thyroid hormones. Your pituitary responds by producing far more TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) which will increase your FT3 and FT4 to equal things out. Additionally, the placenta secrets high amounts of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) which also stimulates the thyroid similar to the TSH. That can even cause some women to have symptoms of HYPERthyroidism.

How can I detect I develop a thyroid problem when I’m pregnant? Though your thyroid gland will enlarge slightly with pregnancy, it shouldn’t be detectable. But if your thyroid gland is noticeably larger, or you notice far more fatigue than you think you should have, it’s time to suspect you have a thyroid problem and need to talk to your doctor. You could either have HYPOthyroidism, or HYPERthyroidism.

If I am on thyroid treatment for HYPOthyroidism, will I need to increase it when pregnant? Yes, say many knowledgeable doctors, since the growing fetus and its tiny brain will need your thyroid hormones for many weeks. It’s only when your baby is about 20 weeks old does it start to use its own thyroid hormones, but demand for your own thyroid hormones will continue until the baby is born. (And this early need is why some mothers outright “become” hypothyroid while pregnant! The demand overwhelms the thyroid!) The need to increase your thyroid hormone medication, whether natural desiccated thyroid or T3-only, occurs because as estrogen increases with pregnancy, so does the binding of thyroid hormones.

Additionally, if you have the autoimmune version of hypothyroidism called Hashimotos, you’ll want to keep a check on adequately treating your hypothyroidism and antibodies, since some experts state that thyroid antibodies cross the human placenta and could attack your baby’s thyroid.

How much do you increase it? That is something you should talk to your doctor about.

What about iodine when I’m pregnant? Just as the need for thyroid hormones increases, so does the need for adequate levels of iodine. Many scholarly articles and health organizations recommend this, range from 150 to 250 µg of iodine supplementation.

Why natural desiccated thyroid for HYPOthyroidism if I’m pregnant? Because, say new moms, it will give you and your little one exactly what your own thyroid would be: T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin. You can read about natural desiccated thyroid here. Even being on T3-only is a big step from T4-0nly.

How do healthy levels of my thyroid hormones, or the right supplementation, affect my little growing baby? Even by the late 1800′s, medical professionals knew about the importance of thyroid hormones on the developing brain of the fetus. Since then, numerous animal studies haves supported that knowledge. Your thyroid hormones also positively affect your baby’s nervous system.

What if I’ve given birth and am nursing? Your own need for good thyroid function (or thyroid medications like natural desiccated thyroid) and iodine still continue when nursing, and is higher than when you are not nursing. Janie, the creator of the Stop the Thyroid Madness movement, was sick, sick, sick when nursing her second and third babies due to undiagnosed hypothyroidism!!

Resources:

A scholarly article on thyroid hormones and fetal brain development
Read about Thyroid hormones and the fetus
Article about multi-vitamins and iodine content
Read about low thyroid hormones and a hard birth

 

Source:  www.stopthethyroidmadness.com

Thyroid problems & exercising

Health conditions, such as thyroid disease, can make exercising difficult or even impossible. Thyroid disease manifests itself as either an underactive thyroid gland, or hypothyroidism. The disease can also cause overfunctioning of the gland, or hyperthyroidism. Because the thyroid gland is responsible for producing hormones that regulate metabolism, both hypo- and hyperthyroidism can impair your ability to engage in physical activity. However, if one of your health goals is regular exercise, understanding thyroid disease and its symptoms can help you meet that goal.

Hypothyroidism

Conditions or events that cause destruction of the cells of your thyroid can lead to deficient functioning of the gland. One cause of hypothyroidism is a disease called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a condition that results from an attack of your thyroid gland by your body’s own immune system. Also, some women develop hypothyroidism after pregnancy. A major cause of hypothyroidism is, ironically, aggressive treatment — medication, radiation, surgery — of an overactive thyroid gland. Regardless of the cause, your risk for developing hypothyroidism increases with age and is higher in general if you are a woman. An impaired thyroid gland results in reduced production of important hormones that regulate many of your body’s processes, resulting in a mild to profound decline in your regular functioning.

Hypothyroidism’s Effect on Exercise

You may not experience any symptoms of hypothyroidism until the disease progresses. In fact, feeling increasingly fatigued, particularly during physical activity, may be one of the first signs of the condition that you initially ignore. In addition to fatigue and sluggishness, other symptoms of the disorder that can affect your ability to exercise include general weakness and unintentional weight gain — despite a normal diet and exercise. You may also experience depression, the result of which may lower your motivation to engage in exercise and other normal activities.

Hyperthyroidism

An overactive thyroid produces too much of the hormones responsible for your body’s metabolic processes. This results in a measurable acceleration of these processes. One cause of hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune disorder, called Graves’ disease, which causes overstimulation of the thyroid gland and overproduction of hormones. Other potential causes of hyperthyroidism include inflammation, thyroid nodules and tumors of of the gland. Whatever the underlying cause, hyperthyroidism is more common in women and in those with a family history of the disease.

Hyperthyroidism’s Effect on Exercise

A potentially dangerous manifestation of hyperthyroidism that may make exercise difficult is a rapid heart rate, or tachycardia, even at rest. Physical activity that raises a heart rate that is already too high overtaxes the heart and can lead to decreased exercise tolerance. Another symptom of an overactive thyroid gland is unintentional weight loss, which can also cause weakness, fatigue and an overall decrease in your exercise capacity. You may also experience a profound intolerance to heat exacerbated by exercise. You may notice that you sweat much more than normal, both at rest and during exercise. Hyperthyroidism can also cause sleep disturbances, such as insomnia. A lack of sleep can increase fatigue and weakness, which compromises your ability to exercise.

References

  • MedlinePlus: Hypothyroidism
  • MayoClinic.com: Hyperthyroidism: Causes
  • MayoClinic.com: Hyperthyroidism: Symptoms

 

Source: www.livestrong.com

13 Ways to Treat Hypothyroidism Naturally

Your thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck below your Adam’s apple, is your chief gland of energy and metabolism and is like a master lever that fires up the genes that keep cells doing their jobs. You can think of the thyroid as a fundamental mechanism in a complex machine, as every cell in your body has thyroid hormone receptors.

Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, is a silent epidemic, according to many functional medicine doctors. People can suffer for years with symptoms that our conventional medical system frequently doesn’t know how to treat because complaints seem scattered or vague and often there is no pill for the ill(s).

What’s worse, in most cases, hypothyroidism isn’t rooted in a thyroid problem in the first place. It’s rooted in an immune system gone awry, but most doctors don’t test for the antibodies that show the presence of autoimmunity.

According to Dr. Datis Kharrazian, 90% of people with hypothyroidism have Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune hypothyroid condition, whereby the immune system attacks thyroid tissue. Therefore, to cure thyroid disease, or any autoimmune condition, you have to get to the source of the imbalance; focusing on suppression of symptoms with medication is simply barking up the wrong tree.

Your Dietary Defense

Making dietary changes is your first line of defense in treating hypothyroidism. Many people with hypothyroidism experience crippling fatigue and brain fog, which prompts reaching for non-nutritional forms of energy like sugar and caffeine. I’ve dubbed these rascals the terrible twosome, as they can burn out your thyroid (and destabilize blood sugar).

1. Just say no to the dietary bungee cord. Greatly reduce or eliminate caffeine and sugar, including refined carbohydrates like flour, which the body treats like sugar. Make grain-based carbohydrates lesser of a focus, eating non-starchy vegetables to your heart’s content.

2. Up the protein. Protein transports thyroid hormone to all your tissues and enjoying it at each meal can help normalize thyroid function. Proteins include nuts and nut butters; quinoa; hormone- and antibiotic-free animal products (organic, grass-fed meats, eggs, and sustainably-farmed fish); and legumes.

Note: I’m not a fan of soy and soy products: tofu, soy milk, fake meats, energy bars, etc. Even when organic and non-GMO, soy can impede cell receptors and disrupt the feedback loop throughout your entire endocrine (hormonal) system.

3. Get fat. Fat is your friend and cholesterol is the precursor to hormonal pathways; if you’re getting insufficient fat and cholesterol, you could be exacerbating hormonal imbalance, which includes thyroid hormones. Natural, healthful fats include olive oil; ghee; avocados; flax seeds; fish; nuts and nut butters; hormone- and antibiotic-free full fat cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese (yes, full fat, not skim); and coconut milk products.

4. Nutrient-up. While nutritional deficiencies may not be the cause of hypothyroidism, not having enough of these micronutrients and minerals can aggravate symptoms: vitamin D, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, zinc, copper, vitamin A, the B vitamins, and iodine.

A few highlights:

  • It’s commonly believed that hypothyroidism is due to insufficient iodine, but this isn’t true. Dr. Kharrazian states that if you have Hashimoto’s, taking supplemental iodine is like throwing gasoline on a fire, so eschew iodine supplements and iodized salt. Primary sources of iodine: sea vegetables and seafood. Secondary sources: eggs, asparagus, lima beans, mushrooms, spinach, sesame seeds, summer squash, Swiss chard, and garlic.
  • Optimal vitamin D levels are between 50-80 ng/mL; anything below 32 contributes to hormone pathway disruption.
  • Omega-3s, found in fish, grassfed animal products, flaxseeds, and walnuts, are the building blocks for hormones that control immune function and cell growth, are critical to thyroid function, and improve the ability to respond to thyroid hormones.

5. Go 100% gluten-free. The molecular composition of thyroid tissue is almost identical to that of gluten. So for those with Hashimoto’s, it’s a case of mistaken identity. Eating gluten can increase the autoimmune attack on your thyroid.

6. Be mindful of goitrogens, which are foods that can interfere with thyroid function. Goitrogens include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, rutabaga, turnips, millet, spinach, strawberries, peaches, watercress, peanuts, radishes, and soybeans. Does it mean that you can never eat these foods? No, because cooking inactivates goitrogenic compounds and eating radishes and watercress in moderation isn’t going to be a deal-breaker.

7. Go for the glutathione. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and is one of the pillars of fighting Hashimoto’s. It can boost your body’s ability to modulate and regulate the immune system, dampen autoimmune flare-ups, and protect and heal thyroid tissue.

While few foods contain glutathione, there are foods that help the body produce glutathione: asparagus, broccoli, peaches, avocado, spinach, garlic, squash, grapefruit, and raw eggs. A plant substance found in broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, (those goitrogens), helps replenish glutathione stores.

8. Address underlying food sensitivities. Just like the body’s attack on the thyroid in the presence of Hashimoto’s, the body will also see offending or inflammatory foods as an invader and will up the ante on the autoimmune response.

9. Do a gut check. A whopping 20 percent of thyroid function depends on a sufficient supply of healthy gut bacteria, so it’s best to supplement with probiotics (friendly intestinal bacteria).

10. Address silent inflammation with whole foods nutrition. Systemic inflammation and autoimmunity often go hand-in-hand.

11. Address adrenal fatigue. There is an intimate connection between your thyroid and adrenal glands and it’s uncommon to have hypothyroidism without some level of adrenal fatigue. The thyroid and adrenals are like Frick and Frack – so tightly in cahoots that it’s not effective to address one without the other.

12. Look at your stressors and practice relaxation. The thyroid is a very sensitive gland and is exceptionally reactive to the stress response.

13. Ask for the thyroid collar. The thyroid is sensitive to radiation, so next time you’re getting an x-ray at the dentist, ask for the thyroid collar. Do not let your thyroid get zapped!

 

Source: www.mindbodygreen.com

Thyroid Cancer: Five Things You Really Need to Know

Thyroid cancer is very much on the rise. But while it’s one of the fastest growing cancers — up 274 percent since 1997 — it’s still a rare disease. According to the American Cancer Society, 60,220 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer this year, and 1,850 won’t survive. Young women in their childbearing years are most at risk, though it can affect men, women and children of all ages. However, because thyroid cancer is rare, it’s not in the spotlight like other cancers. And the exposure it does get often overlooks some of the real issues that go along with this cancer.

I was diagnosed with metastatic papillary thyroid cancer with a follicular variant when I was 28 years old and it was quite a journey to that point (read my story here). Here are some things that I’ve learned, and what I feel patients and survivors need to hear:

1) It’s not the ‘good cancer’ — You’ve just been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Your doctor tells you it’s the ‘good cancer.’ That if you’re going to get cancer, this is the one to get. This is what the majority of us hear, and it’s one of the most derogatory and misleading statements that can be made to someone who has just received a life-changing diagnosis. The reason why we’re often deemed ‘lucky’ to have thyroid cancer is because of the high survival rate. If caught early, the most common types have a five-year survival rate of nearly 100 percent. There are much rarer types and later stages that drop that survival rate down to as low as 7 percent. But no matter which type you have, or when it’s caught, no one is lucky to have any kind of cancer. Check out this video by ‘Bite Me Cancer’ to hear from other survivors about their challenges. We all need to stand up to this ignorance.

2) It’s usually not as easy as ‘just taking a pill every day’ — Another ignorant statement made by too many doctors. Patients hear about their ‘good’ cancer and how removing the thyroid is no big deal. You just take a pill and you’ll be fine. But the majority of the time, that’s not the case. The thyroid is a vital organ, and the body needs thyroid hormones to function properly (Click here to learn about the thyroid and what it does). It often takes a lot of tweaking to get those levels where they need to be, not only to function well but to help prevent recurrence. And sometimes where you need to be to prevent recurrence can bring unwanted symptoms. It can be very complex… for most there is nothing ‘easy’ about it. Which leads me to…

3) You will have a new normal — More than likely, you will not go back to feeling exactly the same as you did before your thyroidectomy. It can often take up to a year after surgery and radiation before our bodies fully recover. This study concluded that patients had significantly decreased quality of life, with scores only improving 12-20 years after treatment. You will probably feel like you’re all over the place as you get used to hormone replacement, and to the blood levels your doctor will keep you at. Furthermore, getting the necessary hormones through medicines is far different than your body producing them itself. With a thyroid your body can make adjustments when needed, on demand. We no longer have that luxury. Be patient. Don’t expect that you’ll be back on your feet and feeling good as new right away. Even if your cancer never comes back (which you’ll probably worry about every day from now on), you’ve been left with permanent hypothyroidism from your treatment. Accepting that you now have a lifelong, chronic illness can oftentimes be the hardest part.

4) Embrace your scar — Yes, I’m vain. When I found out I had cancer, my main worry was the big scar right on the front of my neck. All I could think about was how I’d cover it up after surgery. But then, once it was all over and the bandages came off, I realized that I didn’t want to cover it up. People will stare. Even with it almost completely faded away, I still catch people looking at my scar instead of my face when I’m talking to them (Hey buddy! My eyes are up here!). In the beginning when it was more noticeable, I’d sometimes have fun when people stared, telling them I got into a knife fight (and they should see the other b*tch). But mostly when I see someone looking, I just point to my neck and say ‘thyroid cancer.’
Your scar tells a story. It’s proof of how strong you are. And it can be used as a tool for awareness. Embrace it. And spread the word.

5) You are not alone — I’m the only person in my family with thyroid cancer. Before I was diagnosed, I never knew anyone who had it. And while my friends and family are an amazing support system for me, they don’t understand completely. And I don’t expect them to. Unless you’ve walked this path, there is no way you could possibly know what it’s like. But there are other patients and survivors out there who have been down your path. Who understand, and can help you. Check out these amazing resources for more information and support:

ThyCa — ThyCa has been created and is maintained by thyroid cancer survivors. Since October 1995, they have been developing a network of services that link thyroid cancer survivors and health care professionals around the world.

Light of Life Foundation — The Light of Life Foundation was established in the spring of 1997 by Joan Shey, a patient herself. The mission of the foundation (a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization) is to improve the quality of life of thyroid cancer patients through continual education of the lay public and the medical community, and by promoting research and development to improve thyroid cancer care.

Being diagnosed with cancer is completely life-changing, and thyroid cancer is no exception. I’ve learned that it’s key to educate yourself about your condition. Do your research, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or to stand up for yourself. Ultimately, it’s up to you to take charge of your own health and the care you receive.

I’d love to hear about your experience with thyroid cancer. Were you told it was the ‘good cancer’? What else do you feel other patients and survivors need to know?

 

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com

Obesity may cause disorder that actually harms the thyroid

Obesity in Children May Trigger Thyroid Disease

In September of 2008, the editors at Medical Only questioned a possible link between hypothyroidism and weight gain in children. This week, we will review the results of a study that explored a possible connection between obesity in children and thyroid disorders. This study discusses a potential association between obesity and thyroid damage in children, and the subsequent weight gain which can occur, which then leads to even more weight gain resulting in a “vicious cycle”.

Indeed, overweight children may be damaging their thyroids, creating a vicious routine of lower metabolism and weight gain, according to Italian researchers and a release reported on Wednesday.

Obesity may cause a disorder that actually harms the thyroid, the gland which discharges hormones in order to accommodate metabolism balance and other momentous functions, according to Dr. Giorgio Radetti and colleagues, who are the with the Regional Hospital of Bolzano in Italy.

Their study involved over one hundred and fifty severely overweight children covering a period of three years, during which their thyroid hormone levels and thyroid antibodies were documented using thyroid gland ultrasound, among other testing. Dr. Radetti stated that that the study shows alterations in thyroid function frequent in children who are obese or severely overweight. Dr. Radetti continued by stating that he and his colleagues found a coalition between body mass and thyroid hormone levels, which demonstrate a link between fat surplus and thyroid production.

The researchers wrote in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism that seventy-three of the children who participated in the study had aggravated-looking thyroids, but not to the point of being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disorder in which T-cells mistakenly attack the thyroid. However, these children did indeed lack the antibodies that are linked to the disease. Dr. Radetti suggested that inflammation could have caused the antibody insufficiency in these children, rather than Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Studies of Thyroid Hormones and Obesity in Children

Researchers have concentrated on the link between thyroid hormones in childhood obesity, even to the point of some scientists suggesting that an issue with the thyroid may be accountable for some statistical cases of overweight children. This link does, however, still remain contentious and further research released from the Hospital in Bolzano, Italy may only add to the debate.

Further Evidence Released from the Study Suggests a Link Between Obesity and Thyroid Disease.

Dr. Radetti specified that the thyroid ultrasound results are unexpected, however, they do demonstrate that there is a parallel between low-grade inflammation of the thyroid and childhood obesity. The study shows that thyroid function in severely overweight children may be the unearthed link. Dr. Radetti said “We found an association between body mass index and thyroid hormone levels which suggests that fat excess may have a role in thyroid tissue modification.”

Can Weight Loss Fix the Damage Caused to the Thyroid?

Even though weight loss can accompany effective thyroid hormone production in tests, Dr. Radetti stated that he was positive that the pattern of changes found by ultrasound could possibly be reversed through weight loss. However, it would require more testing and studies in order for this association to be confirmed.

What Categorizes a Child as Obese?

Obesity is defined as an excess amount of body fat. At this time, there is no specific general agreement that exists among scientists on the definition of obesity in children as in adults. The majority of professional researchers use published guidelines, which state the body mass index (BMI) for age in order to calculate obesity in children. Some scientists define obesity in children as the body weight at least 20% higher than an otherwise normal child with healthy weight for that height. In other words, obesity in children is calculated as body fat percentage above 25% in boys or above 32% in girls.

Does Excessive Weight in Children Lead to a Vicious Cycle and Low Thyroid?

Abnormally low thyroid function can be associated to weight gain, however, it is known by scientists that stimulating the thyroid does not lead to weight loss. However, weight loss has been shown to restore normal and efficient thyroid function in some people.

And because some people with low thyroid have the tendencies to have a low basal metabolic rate, an obvious result of hypothyroidism is weight gain and even the perpetuated cause of excess weight due to the difficulty to lose extra weight.

Sometimes a metabolic burn may continue to drop as calories are reduced when dieting. This is why some women with hypothyroidism or low thyroid can have weight gain even when they are maintaining a very strict calorie intake diet.

Consult a Professional

If you or loved one suspects that their child may suffer from obesity due to a thyroid disease, or suspect that their thyroid disease may be caused by obesity, it is highly recommended that they consult with a Pediatrician as soon as possible.

 

Source: www.medicalonly.com

How Has Thyroid Disease Affected Your Relationships?

by thyroid patient Todd Reinen (US)

I did a quick video for a Graves’ support site recently and one of the things I stressed was the other side of the coin. I completely understand how frustrating it can be to try to explain this disease to others, but I can say that until I was diagnosed with this horrible disease, I did not know it even existed, let alone the devastating effects it has on those who suffer from it. As we struggle and focus to just get through a day, while battling all of the physical and mental effects, we often focus so much on all of these devastating effects that we are not aware of the fact that, subconsciously, we are turning our backs on most other aspects of what was our normal lives. This includes our loved ones, who are very conscious of the fact that the person they love is deteriorating on a daily basis before their eyes. More than likely, unless they too have had this disease, they will not understand the cause, only the effect.

After my diagnosis this past September, I then reflected on all of the ways I withdrew and treated those I love, including the most important person in my life, the love of my life.

I saw it as an accumulation of months of actions that are NOT me, my loved ones lived it and saw it every day during those months. I am now heavily medicated as my endocrinologist attempts to get my TSH level to even register on their tests (4 straight tests at <.01), but our loved ones are not undergoing treatment or taking medication to try to deal with this devastation. They can continue to medicate me, remove my thyroid or pump me full of RAI, but none of this will cure the broken heart I have because of my withdrawal.

As I wake up each morning with my numerous challenges due to Graves’, I still feel my broken heart and all of the regret that I know will stick with me forever. I look back and see a person I don’t recognize or ever want to be again and I hurt to know she lived it and saw it every day during those months. I lost interest in everything and what I did do was a struggle and done with so much effort, physical and especially mental, and without the passion that I have within me and that she deserves. There is nothing worse than trusting, believing and relying on a person who promised their life and love to you, only to have that person withdraw from you with no explanation and, despite her constant and sincere desire to communicate, be met with no effort. That was me as I had no idea that I was slipping daily further into this abyss. She tried to tell me we were losing our connection, both physically and emotionally … and I was blaming everything on her, others and I ultimately was so tired from just making it through another day, that I was just spinning with no direction or understanding. Then I was diagnosed … but the damage was already done. This disease stole my passion, my mind, my body, but it will never steal my heart or soul nor the love I have for her.

Try to remember that this disease hurts our loved ones just as it hurts us, in a different way, but nonetheless it attacks us all.

 

Source: www.thyroidchange.org

11 Hidden Signs You Might Have a Thyroid Problem

If you are a Dancing with the Stars fan, you are likely familiar with co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet’s recent surgery to remove her thyroid cancer. Unfortunately, Brooke’s history with thyroid issues is not unique; an estimated 27 million Americans (including myself) are living with a thyroid condition. Fortunately, thyroid conditions are treatable; however, they can be tricky to diagnose since the symptoms tend to be subtle and can easily be mistaken for symptoms of other health issues. Here are some of the most common red flags to watch out for.

First things first: What is the thyroid?
The thyroid gland is one of several endocrine glands in the body. This butterfly-shaped gland is in the neck just below the larynx (voice box). Your thyroid gland makes hormones that help control the function of many of your body’s organs, including your heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin.

What is thyroid disease?
There are a variety of diseases and conditions that cause the thyroid to malfunction. Two of the most common thyroid conditions are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is underactive and unable to produce enough hormones to meet the body’s needs. This can occur because of a birth defect, surgical removal of the thyroid gland, an autoimmune disease, goiter or nodules.

Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is overactive and produces more hormones than the body can use. The autoimmune condition known as Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Multiple nodules, thyroiditis and excessive iodine intake can also contribute to overproduction issues.

It is also possible to get cancer of the thyroid, as was the case for Brooke Burke-Charvet. Although thyroid cancer rates are on the rise, it still remains one of the most treatable types of cancer.

What are the symptoms of a thyroid condition?
Thyroid issues can be difficult to spot at first since many of the symptoms are also indicative of other health conditions. The symptoms of thyroid dysfunction can also vary in severity from person to person. If you have other medical conditions, symptoms associated with those conditions may be more severe due to underlying thyroid issues. The cause of thyroid disease, severity of thyroid hormone deficiency and the length of time the body has been deprived of the correct levels of hormones all affect symptom severity.

Here are some signs to look for that might indicate a thyroid condition:

  • Feeling run down, exhausted, drowsy and/or fatigued, even with proper rest
  • Feelings of depression or lack of interest in things previously enjoyed
  • Increased and/or heavier menstrual periods, PMS, fertility/miscarriage issues
  • Constipation, even with adequate fiber intake
  • Forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, difficulty learning or feeling like you are in a ”fog”
  • Unexplained weight gain beyond a few pounds, increased fluid retention and/or puffy face
  • Dry and/or itchy skin, even with regular moisturizer use.
  • Dry, brittle nails and hair (with or without thinning)
  • Hoarse voice and/or difficulty swallowing
  • Intolerance to cold, especially in extremities such as fingers and toes
  • Muscle cramps

If you have been experiencing many of the above symptoms, speak with your doctor about screening your thyroid hormone levels to rule out a possible condition. Don’t put off getting tested just because your symptoms seem like ”normal” everyday ailments (fatigue, forgetfulness, etc.). With the proper care, it’s completely possible to lift the fog and feel like yourself again.

 

Source: www.sparkpeople.com

Thyroid Health – The Care and Feeding of Your Hypothalamus

Why you want to know about and keep your hypothalamus healthy

Where is it?

The hypothalamus is a region of brain anatomy located deep within the brain, just above the base of the skull, on each side of the third ventricle.

It’s function.

The main function of the hypothalamus is to regulate homeostasis (maintaining the body’s status quo). The hypothalamus contains many specialized nuclei (collections or nodules of specialized brain cells), that help maintain many basic physiological functions, such as body temperature, blood pressure, fluid and electrolyte balance, and the regulation of digestion.

It’s a full body regulator.

The hypothalamus also helps regulate complex behaviors controls your hormones. This brain area is responsible for regulates

  • appetite/hunger
  • thirst
  • sleep
  • sex drive and general arousal
  • reproductive behaviors
  • body temperature
  • mood
  • release of hormones

It plays a role in emotional reactions, including

  • anger
  • aggression

In other words, the hypothalamus takes care of the many necessary brain functions that occur without us having to think about or plan them.

Why you need to feed it right.

Since this part of your brain is so important, it makes sense to nurture it by eating the right foods. Certain foods support the health of your hypothalamus, which in turn helps keep your entire body healthy.

4 FOODS AND FOOD GROUPS TO KEEP YOUR HYPOTHALAMUS HAPPY

1. Foods that contain Vitamin B1/Thiamine
Sunflower seeds: A handful of sunflower seeds as part of your daily diet may boost the function of your entire brain, including your hypothalamus. Sunflower seeds contain vitamin B1, or thiamine, which is crucial for the maintenance of your appetite, as well as the function of your nervous system, Beverly A. Potter and Sebastian Orfali note in their book, “Brain Boosters: Food and Drugs That Make You Smarter.”

Vitamin B-1 also contributes to cell repair, which may keep your hypothalamus as strong and healthy as possible. Other foods that contain vitamin B-1 include pork, bran, whole grains, split peas and lima beans.

2. Fruits and Vegetables: Tons of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
Increasing your daily plate of fruits and veggies may also stimulate your hypothalamus to help you control your weight and hunger.

3. Fish: Vitamin B-12
Fish contain vitamin B-12, which is crucial for mood and regulation of fatigue and energy, functions which are controlled by your hypothalamus. Vitamin B-12 also helps your body make use of the energy from the food you eat.

Nutrition, a journal that focuses on all areas of diet, notes that fish may also help decrease depression. Your mood is largely regulated by the hypothalamus and its ability to properly regulate your hormones and the oil in fatty fish, such as salmon or trout, can aid in this process by increasing your intake of docosahexaenoic acid.

4. Citrus Fruits: Vitamin C
Citrus fruits are most commonly associated with their high vitamin C content, and they may have benefits for your hypothalamus, as well as the rest of your brain. Vitamin C plays in role in brain functions including sleep regulation, immunity promotion and anxiety reduction, processes that the hypothalamus takes part in. Eating foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes, can help protect your hypothalamus by protecting it from toxins. Other foods that contain vitamin C include red bell peppers, potatoes, strawberries and cantaloupe.

References
National Institutes of Health; Hypothalamus; October 2009
“Brain Boosters: Foods and Drugs That Make You Smarter”; Beverly A. Potter and Sebastian Orfali; 1993
“Nutrition, Exercise, and Behavior: An Integrated Approach to Weight Management”; Liane M. Summerfield; 2011
“Nutrition”; Higher Dietary Intake of Long-Chain Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids is Inversely Associated with Depressive Symptoms in Women; L.A. Colangelo et al; October 2009

 

Source: www.thyroidu.com