Seventy percent of my fibro patients suffer with an undiagnosed or mismanaged thyroid condition. The symptoms of fibromyalgia, fatigue, low moods, anxiety, brain fog, hair loss, tingling in the hands in feet, and cold hands and feet, are similar to those of low thyroid.
Did You Miss My Recent Tuesday Night Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia Teleconference? If so, you missed a good one? One of my patients joined me and shared her story of recovery-battling poor health and fibromyalgia for years only to be passed from doctor to doctor including a well-respected thyroid doctor who FAILED to diagnose and treat her low thyroid!
The sad thing, I think he is one of the brightest endocrinologists in the state.
Following my protocols she is off 90% of her meds and feels better than she has in years. Finding and fixing causes is the key to reversing fibromyalgia symptoms!
Listen to the recording and hear what Robin shares about her road to recovery
You can listen to the free recording and hear what I have to say about thyroid disorders including explaining why low thyroid is so detrimental to your health, what tests you need to have done, what Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is and how to treat it. I shared quite a bit of information on the importance of finding and fixing low thyroid disorders.
I encourage you to listen to the recording and find out for yourself if your thyroid is part of your problem. Could it be one of the KEY pieces of the puzzle for your recovery? Learn more by listening to the FREE recording:
Undiagnosed or misdiagnosed low or hypothyroid, continues to be a real concern for those with fibromyalgia. I find that in my practice, as many as 70% suffer from low thyroid function. Most have been tested for and cleared of having the disease, despite the fact they have all the symptoms of low thyroid.
There are over 27 million Americans who currently suffer from thyroid dysfunction, over half of which never get diagnosed. About half of the cases that involve hypothyroidism (low thyroid), come from Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disorder. Currently, it’s estimated that 10 million women with low thyroid function go untreated, and almost 8 million people with hypothyroidism go undiagnosed. This is essentially because the blood test to look at the TSH level (thyroid-stimulating hormone) usually comes back normal, which leads doctors to think symptoms are more psychological in nature.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism or thyroid dysfunction are similar to the symptoms seen in fibromyalgia and include, but are not limited to:
- Fatigue and feeling run down all the time. This is the most profound symptom
- Swelling, especially in the face, hands, and feet
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Memory problems
- Tingling and burning in the hands and feet
- Balance problems
- Joint and muscle pains
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Chest pain
- Hardening of the arteries
- High cholesterol
- Fibrocystic breast disease
- Nasal allergies
- Skin yellowing
- Weight gain, despite less eating
- Thinning hair
- Pale, dry skin
- Decreased smell and taste
- Skin thickening
- Slow speech
I can’t even tell you how many of my CFS and fibromyalgia patients come to me with all or most of the above symptoms that have gone untreated for years.
Normal blood work does not tell us anything; it is simply the start of an investigation because, clearly, something is wrong. If you’ve got all the symptoms of low thyroid and your doctor says your blood work is fine, something isn’t right.
It’s important to keep in mind that blood tests are compared to results from the general public, and we all know that those with CFS and fibro are not normal. Their biochemistry is different from everyone else’s, so “normal” levels are not necessarily determinative for them. Blood work in these patients needs to be carefully scrutinized for any changes or differences over a period of time. Otherwise, they will fall through the cracks and continually get worse.
There is a herd mentality that is in place in our current Western healthcare system. Many doctors have this idea that “well, blood work looks normal, so it must be psychological; therefore, I will give you medication that has nothing to do with the problem!” Many of these herd doctors will take one or two of your symptoms and prescribe a medication that will treat just that one symptom… or at least, try to treat that symptom.
Popular medications that are being used when patients are found to have “normal” blood work despite their low thyroid symptoms are antidepressants, pain pills, stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall, and cholesterol-lowering drugs.
The art of doctoring is in the investigation; it’s taking the time and energy on the detective work to figure out underlying causes rather than simply taking a symptom or few and covering them up with potentially harmful drugs.
Sadly, most doctors do this because “it’s what we’ve always done.” Most will not take the time to find something new, even though they know what they are doing is not working. Einstein once said that the “definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
Not all physicians are like this, of course, but their numbers are still overwhelming. Even if blood work does come back slightly abnormal according to “normal standards,” many doctors are reluctant to prescribe thyroid replacement therapy because it puts the health of the patient at risk. Risks of this replacement therapy include increased thyroid hormone, which can elevate heart rate, increase pulse, and accelerate bone loss.
However, we need to remember that patients with low thyroid, especially if they have had it for years, are suffering with symptoms far worse than what comes inappropriate (given when blood tests are normal) from thyroid replacement therapy.
My experience is that patients DO IN FACT need thyroid hormone therapy or need the ones they are taking changed to one that works.
And fortunately I’m able to use special over the counter thyroid hormones and don’t have to depend on “follow the herd doctors.”
If you take a good long look at the pros and cons of giving replacement therapy to a patient with normal blood work and all or most of the symptoms of hypothyroid, in my professional opinion, I would say it is malpractice to withhold that therapy. This is especially true for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue patients because they are already on a long list of possibly damaging medications that are likely contributing to their low thyroid function. If you can take the chance to treat this problem with thyroid replacement therapy, which would help these patients reduce or remove some medications from their pill box, why not do it?
The state of affairs in treating hypothyroid is absolutely tragic. It is why I have worked so hard to advocate for more accurate testing and treatment of hypothyroid. Doctors need to take a chance and think before acting with a herd mentality. The world, our culture, and our biochemistry and genetics are changing so doctors should be innovative, not stagnant.
There are a lot of doctors with their heads in the sand. They don’t understand fibromyalgia and certainly don’t know how to successfully treat it. Finding and fixing the CAUSES of fibromyalgia, rather than covering up symptoms with an ever-growing list of prescription drugs is the best way to reverse fibro symptoms. Drugs don’t make you healthy. They can be helpful but they don’t make you healthy. The way to beat fibromyalgia is to get healthy. Again finding and fixing the underlying causes is the key to success.
One common cause of fibromyalgia symptoms is low thyroid function. Finding and fixing low thyroid should be high on any doctors and patients lists.