Believe it or not, this is one of our diagnostic questions we ask our patients. It goes something like this, “Sarah, let say it’s a Sunday afternoon and you sit down on the couch to read a good book. How long can you keep reading until you start nodding off?” The answer, so many times, is, “Oh, maybe 5 minutes, at the longest. That’s why I just don’t read that much anymore. I just can’t concentrate.” That is one of the cardinal signs of a person with a thyroid problem.
As long as they keep moving, they’re fine. But as soon as they sit still, they’re gone. Snoozin’ big time. Why?
Let’s look at an interesting case study. Pauline is a middle-aged woman. She works 40 hours a week and raises 3 children. Her biggest complaint is her fatigue. She would like to take a nap every day, but can’t. Her husband says she’s just no fun anymore (translation: she’s lost her sex drive). She keeps her weight down except around her tummy, which seems to get bigger each year. She has problems with eczema on her arms due to her very dry skin. She also has problems with constipation and some hair thinning. By the time 8 p.m. rolls around she has pretty much lost it emotional and physically. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being very high), she rated herself at a 4 on a bad day, and 6 on a good day. She used to love to read novels and church books but doesn’t anymore because she just can’t stay awake. She was embarrassed to admit that one time, while waiting for the traffic light to turn green she fell asleep. The cars’ horn behind her woke her up.
So what’s going on here? All of the above problems could be attributed to low thyroid.
Although she has been tested for it before, and been found to be “within the normal range”—she still had a problem. Even though she was “within normal range” she must consider what that means. Normal for one person may be inadequate for the next person.
So if you were Pauline’s doctor, what would you do?
Well, here’s what we did: we put her on a very low dose bioidentical thyroid for 3 weeks and had her come back for a check-up. She stated that she felt no difference. We then told her to increase her dose by one-fourth of a tablet each week until she felt a difference. Then she was to call us. A month later she called to report.
“Finally this last week it feels like someone turned a light on inside my head,” she said, “like the brain fog lifted and I’m alive again.”
Actually, once the right dose is found, we call it “The Lazarus Affect”—like they’ve been brought back from the dead. We try to teach our patients that they are the best judge of how much thyroid they need—not us. We can’t feel what’s going on inside their body and head. (To check to see if you might have a low thyroid, go to www.utahwellnessinstitute.com and take the “Thyroid Self-Test.")
I hope to get you thinking outside the box concerning your health. Consider health care in the United States. Too many Americans have become lazy not only concerning their health but in their acceptance of what doctors tell them to do. I think most people realize that taking drug after drug after drug is not the way to achieve maximum health. Please don’t misunderstand me: there are times when medications can save lives. The amount of medications that I see being taken by many of my patients, however, is appalling.
Eighty percent of the patients we see in our clinics for hormone therapy are women. The men we see generally come in after seeing the marvelous changes in their wives. Women come in for myriad reasons, although the number one reason is probably constant fatigue. They may also be on anti-depressants, tranquilizers, or diuretics and may have food cravings, mood swings, bloating, and anxiety. These are just a few of the reasons we see women and even some men. Most of these women know intuitively that there is something wrong with their hormones.
In the end, the most important thing that you can do is to have your hormones checked and get them balanced. Balance is the key. A doctor who is familiar with BHRT can do that. Your primary care physician may have no knowledge of hormone therapy. When you ask him if he can check your hormones, he may give the pretense that he does by assuring you they will be checked, but as so many of my patients have seen, the wrong tests are done and nothing is solved. This frustrating situation is seen repeatedly in my office and it is only after their hormones are balanced through natural hormone therapy that they live a healthy, good life, not just a long one.
Dr. Robert Jones is the Clinic Director at the Utah Wellness Institute in Draper, Utah. He can be reached at 801.576.1155.