Thyroid symptoms related to hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, hyperthyroidism and Grave’s Disease most frequently appear gradually and so these conditions are among the most common to be misdiagnosed. But, surprisingly, this is only one of the reasons that you really may want to have someone other than your primary care doctor or endocrinologist lead the way in evaluating and diagnosing you if you are suspicious you could have a Thyroid condition.
PRELIMINARY WARNING: We are going to get weird, deep and technical for a little while here so PLEASE DON’T LEAVE THIS ARTICLE UNTIL YOU READ THE MESSAGE OF HOPE and the take-home messages further along in this article … just saying, you need to know this technical stuff exists to understand there are answers out there to this frustrating condition.
To start of the discussion today let’s talk about the list of conditions and symptoms that mimic or cause a Thyroid problem and therefore contribute to misdiagnosis and confuse the diagnosis process.
- Depression, Anxiety, and Bipolar
- Tachycardia and arrhythmia
- Constipation or Diarrhea
- Irregular Menstruation
- Chronic Fatigue
- Dry Skin
- Brain Fog / Memory Issues
- Various Liver conditions and detoxification problems
- Undiscovered Toxicity – Halides, BPA, PCB, Phalates, Phenols, Parabens and more
- Simple Chronic Stress / Adrenal Dysfunction
- SIBO / IBS / Gut Infections
- Dental Infections and Inflammation
- Undiagnosed/Untreated Infections – Yersinia, H pylori, Chlamydia, Hep C, Mycobacterium, Epstein-Barr Virus, Herpes Virus … and these are the ones we know about now …
- Pituitary (Brain) trauma, toxicity or dysfunction
Whew … my fingers are tired from typing!
The fact is that it is well documented that 75-90% of all human diagnosis have a foundation of inflammation and Thyroid Disease goes right along with that. Approximately 90% of Thyroid conditions are hypothyroidism and nearly 90% of those are Autoimmune and so treating with Thyroid replacement hormone (synthetic or natural) will never fix the problem. It’s not my place to definitively call that malpractice, but if you ask my opinion in private I’ll tell you.
You might think that this information makes it impossible to fix a Thyroid condition (and maybe that’s why the Standard of Medical Treatment is to ignore the cause of your Inflammation and give you replacement drugs). But in reality, we can breakdown disruption of Thyroid hormone’s intended function (to control your metabolism in every cell) to 6 types of Thyroid dysfunction.
In order to understand how a Thyroid condition can be approached differently, it helps to understand that there are 12 steps involved in your body’s proper Thyroid hormone cycle.
- Circadian Rhythm: the daily process of cycling of brain function, neurotransmitters and hormones
- HPT Axis: how your brain tells your Thyroid, via a hormone, to up or down-regulate Thyroid hormone production
- Thyroid Gland Secretion: what your Thyroid produces; the amount and the quality; Thyroid produces T3 (active, ready-to-go hormone) and T4 (which needs to be converted to T3 to be active)
- Hormone Transportation: like an Uber for your Thyroid hormones; your Thyroid hormones need to hitch a ride to where it needs to be in the distant parts of your body
- Hormone Conversion: enzymes convert the T4 to T3 so that you now have “ready-for-action” hormone; 25% of this happens in the liver so if you have a liver condition … look out! It could be leaving you with only 75% of Thyroid Hormone you should have available to control your metabolism
- Cell Membrane Transporters: kind of like taking an elevator to the 35th floor … fat chance you are going to take the stairs so there is no other way you’ll get to your office; Thyroid hormone receptors are on the nucleus of the cell so if the elevator is out chances are you aren’t going to work today
- Thyroid Hormone Receptors: once you finally get to your office on the 35th floor you better have remembered your office door key or again if something goes wrong with you getting in the door, probably not a lot of work getting done today
- Post Receptor Translation: finally your Thyroid Hormone does it’s job; 7 steps later …
- Regulation: our bodies have multiple interactions and systems of checks and balances. It is possible for the first 8 steps to go right and then something else screws up the process (i.e. you made it to your office on the 35th floor and just after you get going on your daily work your boss comes in and hands you an emergency project … aaaarrrgh).
- Detoxification: what goes up must come down; Thyroid Hormone just can’t hang around all day … there’s more coming down the line. It must be processed and moved out to make room for what’s coming.
- Degradation: preparing the “used-to-be” Thyroid Hormone for elimination
- Elimination: finally (again my fingers are tired from typing)
If any of these steps go wrong, a wrench gets thrown into the whole machine. Do you think there is any way that your primary care physician or endocrinologist has figured out what step went wrong in the 10-15 minutes it took them to see you and prescribe that medication? News flash … that medication isn’t supposed to fix your problem … it’s supposed to get you out of their office so that they can prescribe the next drug to the next patient … and quickly.
THE PROBLEM WITH TRADITIONAL MEDICAL THYROID ASSESSMENTS LEADING TO MISDIAGNOSIS
Your Thyroid Hormone is literally the “gas” for your metabolism. So the easiest and most reliable way to assess this has is cheap, easy and has nothing to do with blood labs. Now, when it’s time to dig for the cause(s) of Thyroid Hormone system dysfunction blood labs can be useful, but if you suspect your Thyroid and metabolism might be suffering you can do this easily by monitoring your body temperature. Metabolism is the sum total of chemical reactions in your body and these biochemical reactions give of heat … which can easily be measured! We will provide you with a download copy of The Home Thyroid Test so you can investigate yourself at home for free after the next few paragraphs.
On top of that, the Standard of Medical Care uses TSH and sometimes another value like T4 to assess your Thyroid function and make a decision as to if they are going to put you on medication. There are several more blood tests they could perform that could help determine where in those 12 steps the problem lies, if they ordered them and if they knew how to interpret the information. Problems with the “standard of medical practice” as it relates to blood testing are that they don’t do these tests, so they don’t have the information. Although I promise most of them are very well-intentioned, they are not trained to do these and interpret them … so why use them. Prescribing medication for everyone regardless of the cause is much easier.
Secondarily, your doctor or nurse practitioner has to compare your blood levels to something. And that something is created by those people who are going to get their blood tested … they can’t make it up out of thin air. Well, the question I ask my clients is this … “Who goes to get their blood tested? Sick people or healthy people? So who are you getting compared to?” Can you see how when you are compared to the sickest of the “Sick-O’s” that your developing Thyroid condition, where the symptoms come on slowly and therefore it is confusing, can be overlooked?
When Functional Health Team Doctors read blood work we still pay attention to the “Pathological” (Sick-O) ranges, but more importantly, we compare your labs to OPTIMAL FUNCTION. This lets us catch and work on solutions early … before they become a full-blown disease. And lastly, we also pay attention to your Adrenal function because overactive adrenals will mess up your Thyroid Hormone function and so any Thyroid assessment that neglects looking into Adrenals is often useless.
So within these 12 steps of the Thyroid Hormone journey, it is possible to break down the breakdowns into 6 major patterns.
- The “Thyroid gland is actually not working right” Pattern. It could be toxicity or Autoimmunity that’s causing it, but this one is the only one that Thyroid drugs can effectively manage. The drugs still won’t fix it.
- “Brain and/or Adrenal dysfunction” Pattern. Usually, this is caused by Adrenal fatigue. But remember the Adrenals are fatigues because you have Chronic Inflammation. So, shouldn’t we be asking what’s causing the Inflammation?
- “Thyroid Low Conversion” Pattern. Again the culprit here is some cause or causes of Chronic Inflammation, like an infection.
- “Thyroid Over Conversion & Low Transportation” Pattern. There are no *&@! Ubers available! This is most frequently a hormone problem in women such as Insulin Resistance (pre-Diabetes), PCOS and other hormone imbalances.
- “Too Many Ubers! Pattern” Believe it or not it is possible for there to be some many Ubers transporting Thyroid Hormone that the hormone never gets into the cells. They just keep getting picked up and driven around. Usually associated with Oral Contraception and Estrogen Replacement Therapy.
- “Thyroid Hormone Resistance” Pattern. The brain is telling Thyroid the right info and the Thyroid is doing it’s job perfectly, BUT the elevator is down or your office door is locked and you forgot your keys or your boss has dropped a surprise emergency project on your desk … so you can’t do what you need to do … *&@!
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FOR THYROID SUFFERERS
So to wrap up I want to bring a message of hope, because believe me … everything above what I’m writing right now is a freaking mess! When I was learning about this years ago, it overwhelmed me. Now, it doesn’t so much, because after learning about how much could go wrong and working with clients to fix these CAUSES for years, there is a silver lining.
These issues, when we identify them specifically and early, we can do things to fix the foundational causes, as a team … as YOUR TEAM. We can fight infections, detoxify, clean out your gut, balance inflammation, tweak your diet … etc. See what I mean? FUNCTIONAL HEALTH TEAM IS BETTER THAN MEDICINE.
I want to personally invite you to join our Private Thyroid Forum where people from all over the world are invited to share their stories and their successes so everyone can benefit. We do moderate this group to ensure that it doesn’t become a free-for-all for MLM and ineffective product sales … I’ll see you there!
Click this link to request membership in our private forum group: https://fht.care/FHT_Thyroid_Group
Yours in Health,
Dr. Matthew Flory