For much of my adult life, I’ve experienced mild fatigue.It never made me want to crawl under the covers and sleep all day, nor did it inhibit me from pursuing my interests.
I was also becoming increasingly restless and impatient.
It wasn’t until 2008 that I discovered I suffered from the most common cause of hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack its own thyroid tissue.
If you’re feeling blue or unmotivated, you may be prescribed an antidepressant.
If you’re constipated, you’re told to take a laxative.
I am thankfully now in remission from Hashimoto’s and, motivated by the mantra “We teach what we most need to learn,” I’ve changed the focus of my health-coaching business in hopes that those who have thyroid issues can benefit from my research.
The thyroid is hailed as “the master gland” of our complex and interdependent endocrine system.And even when conventional docs do diagnose hypothyroidism, the drug regimens they routinely prescribe don’t always do the trick.The good news is that knowledge of proper diagnosis methods, dietary choices, lifestyle modifications and thyroid drug alternatives can help many people reclaim their health. I simply focused on whole-foods nutrition and some simple thyroid-friendly lifestyle modifications.If you’re having difficulty sleeping, you’re given a sleeping aid.If you’re overweight and having trouble shedding pounds, you’re instructed to work harder at the gym or consume fewer calories (which can actually exact a greater toll on the thyroid gland).When my then-doctor asserted that I had to be on thyroid drugs for the rest of my life — drugs that can cause heart palpitations, shortness of breath, troubled sleep and a host of other side effects — I again blurted, “I don’t think so,” and my journey into sleuthing low thyroid function and autoimmunity began.It’s estimated that hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, affects more than 30 million women and 15 million men.I’ve never suffered from depression, and until just a few years ago my metabolism burned hot.During the worst of times, I just felt like I had one foot on the gas and one on the brakes.(For more on lab testing, as well as a simple at-home test, see “Testing in the Lab” and “Testing at Home,” below.) When you’re tested, it’s also a good idea to be checked for adrenal fatigue, since those with hypothyroidism often have some level of the condition and it can be difficult to treat the thyroid without assessing both systems.(For more on adrenal fatigue, read “Pick Yourself Up.”) Hashimoto’s is one of the most common forms of autoimmune disease in the United States.