Hypothyroid Symptoms

Hypothyroid Symptoms

Hypothyroid Symptoms Overview

First of all, there are many hypothyroid symptoms which can go unrecognized by doctors and patients. It’s important to understand that just because a patient has a normal TSH level, they can still have hypothyroidism. Many patients, including myself, had hypothyroidism even with normal TSH levels. Since TSH can be an unreliable measure of hypothyroidism, its important to look at hypothyroid symptoms.

A good doctor will look at hypothyroid symptoms as well as certain lab tests to diagnose hypothyroidism. Once a patient is on the right treatment, their hypothyroid symptoms should improve considerably.

Here is a list of hypothyroid symptoms collected from patients and advocates 1 2. Hypothyroid symptoms can vary from person to person, therefore not all symptoms apply to everyone. If you have many of the symptoms, especially low body temperature, consult a good doctor.

Body Temperature and Metabolism

  • Low body temperature (below 98.2-98.4 at 3pm)
  • Easily gain weight
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Difficulty tolerating cold
  • Feeling cold when others are comfortable
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Raised body temperature

Energy, Motivation, and Exercise

  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feeling tired even after a full nights sleep
  • Sleeping more than average
  • Less stamina than others
  • Less energy than others
  • Nodding off easily
  • Requires naps in the afternoon
  • Exhaustion
  • Difficulty working a full-time job
  • Inability to stand on feet for long periods
  • Complete lack of motivation
  • Long recovery period after any activity
  • Inability to hold children for very long
  • Arms feeling like dead weights after activity
  • Bizarre and debilitating reaction to exercise
  • Slowing to a snail’s pace when walking up slight grade

Mood and Mental Focus

  • Depression
  • Feeling uninterested in life
  • Seasonal blues
  • Memory loss
  • Fuzzy-thinking
  • Difficulty following conversations
  • Brain fog
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Less ability to cope in relationships
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Irritability
  • Intolerance of others

Digestion

  • Candida
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Inability to eat in the mornings
  • No appetite
  • Constipation
  • Colitis
  • Extreme hunger, especially at nighttime
  • Nausea

Hair, Skin and Nails

  • Irregular periods
  • Dry skin, brittle nails
  • Brittle hair, itchy scalp
  • Hair loss, thinning hair
  • Bumps on legs
  • Breakout on chest and arms
  • Hives
  • Thinning outer eyebrows, or no eyebrows
  • No hair growth, breaks faster than it grows
  • Broken/peeling fingernails

Hormones

  • PMS moodiness, bloating, heavy periods, and cramps
  • Irregular periods
  • Reduced sex drive or no sex drive
  • Fertility issues including lack of ovulation
  • Inability to get pregnant
  • Miscarriages

Endocrine

  • Puffy face, around eyes, neck, wrists and/or hands
  • Hoarse voice
  • Bruising or blood clotting problems
  • Elevated levels of LDL cholesterol
  • Heightened risk of heart disease
  • Swollen lymph glands

Other

  • Asthma or allergies that suddenly appear or get worse
  • Persistent cold sores
  • Sleep apnea which can be associated with low cortisol
  • Air hunger which feels like you can’t get enough air
  • Osteoporosis
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Handwriting nearly illegible
  • Internal itching in ears
  • Ringing in ears
  • Fluid retention
  • Swollen legs that prevent walking
  • Low blood pressure issues
  • High blood pressure issues
  • Varicose veins
  • Tightness in throat
  • Plantar fascitis
  • Cold gluteus maximus

 

Notes:

  1. http://www.womentowomen.com/thyroid-health/hypothyroid-symptoms-2/
  2. http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/long-and-pathetic/
Miss LizzyHypothyroid Symptoms
My Success Story with Hypothyroidism and Weight Loss

My Success Story with Hypothyroidism and Weight Loss

Living with Undiagnosed Hypothyroidism

Much of my life I lived with hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue. Like many people with untreated hypothyroidism, my symptoms included weight gain, high cholesterol, mild depression, blood pressure issues, feeling tired, cold hands and feet, brain fog, hair loss, dry skin, low energy, and so much more. This is my hypothyroidism success story.

Having the basic energy to do everyday tasks like other people seemed impossible. As a result I had resigned myself to being fat and lazy. If you or someone you know is experiencing these kinds of hypothyroid symptoms, have hope and know there can be solutions.

Weight Loss and Hypothyroidism

From early childhood through much of my adult life I had been overweight and simply could not lose weight no matter what I did. Weight Watchers did not work, eating 1000-1500 calories day did not work, exercise definitely didn’t work. I tried every diet with no success. At age 11, the doctor put me on a diet program counting every calorie. Even though I followed perfectly I did not lose weight. People thought I was sneaking food and lying. But I wasnt.

My metabolism was incredibly slow. Imagine how discouraging it is to see other children eat all kinds of junk food and stay slim. While I ate tiny servings of cottage cheese and pineapple and gained weight. It was terribly discouraging. There are so many of us who experience this issue with weight loss and hypothyroidism. It’s important to know there could be an underlying health issue preventing us from losing weight.

40% of all Americans suffer from hypothyroidism yet only about 10% of the patients tested will be diagnosed.
– Dr. Broda O. Barnes M.D., Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness

Exercise and Hypothyroidism

Rather than diagnose the underlying thyroid condition doctors told me to “just exercise more”. Due to untreated hypothyroidism, exercise had the opposite effect resulting in weight gain rather than weight loss. In addition, because my adrenals were weak, the stress of exercise would exhaust me for days and often made me sick.

People thought I was a hypochondriac because I was sick so often. I thought I was a hypochondriac too. After treatment for adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism, I learned exercise could cause adrenal crashes due to cortisol issues. Once I was on good treatment, my body was healed and finally I was able to exercise. Most of all I was able to actually enjoy exercise because I finally had endurance and muscle strength.

Tired All the Time, Insomnia, and Brain Fog

Sleep was another huge issue with hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue. Due to low cortisol, and irregular cortisol, my body clock was not working in the normal pattern. With health cortisol production, cortisol rises high in the early morning to wake us up, then tapers slowly through the day. By night time, cortisol should be at its lowest level which allows us to fall asleep easily.

Unlike normal people whose cortisol rises in the morning, my cortisol did not rise until the evening. Consequently it was extremely hard to wake up in the morning. At night my cortisol was finally starting to rise which then meant I had difficulty going to sleep. As a result I could only fall asleep with sleeping pills. Most importantly, even with 8 to 10 hours of sleep I would be tired the next day. This is not normal.

Basic tasks like cooking dinner, shopping, doing laundry, or washing the dishes took all my energy.

My Success Story with Hypothyroidism

Low Body Temperature and Hypothyroidism

Due to hypothyroidism, even in summer, my hands, feet and body were always. My face and neck were puffy. I had allergies, asthma, low blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic sinus infections, severe PMS and many other seemingly unrelated symptoms. I was sick with sinus infections so often (6-7 times a year) that I often missed work.

Much as living this way had become normal to me, it was not normal. Once I was treated, finally I was able to experience a normal life. How much fun it was to exercise, feel warm, have energy all day, and sleep well at night.

Trusting Your Inner Self

Through all those years, I always felt like something was wrong inside my body. Doctors always said my lab results were normal, that there was nothing wrong with me.  People thought I was just overweight and perhaps lazy, but in my heart I knew there was more to it.

People would politely make excuses like “you’re tired because you’re in high school… college… working a full time job… a new mom.” People said it was normal to be tired. But the truth is, it is not normal. They didn’t understand this was a different kind of tired. A bone-deep, can’t-get-off-the-couch-even-though-I’ve-done-nothing-all-day kind of tired. Until you know what good feels like, its hard to know what is normal.

But I have this amazing sister who has tons of energy, could eat twice as much as me, easily run three miles every day, and stay slim without almost no effort. My girlfriends could do the same. Physiologically, I knew there was something going on with my body. I just didn’t know what!?!

Doctors Who Didn’t Help Me

After pregnancy I was diagnosed with a lump (goiter) on my thyroid which is considered by many doctors as a sign of Hypothyroidism. But the doctors insisted I wasn’t hypothyroid.  Surgery to remove my thyroid was recommended but it just didn’t make sense!

Very little information was available at that time (2006) so I began a research journey to find answers. Eventually, I found Stop the Thyroid Madness for which I am forever grateful. Finally, there were people with similar stories to mine! People with the same symptoms of Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue but with normal lab results like me. People who found good treatment and were able to get healthy. It was the biggest ray of hope!

Feeling sure I had undiagnosed Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue, along with the information & symptoms to support my theory, I went to see an Endocrinologist. In the consultation she said: “According to your lab results, you are fine. If you want medicine as a quick fix for loosing weight, it won’t work. You are not Hypothyroid and I won’t give you medicine.”  I was devastated. She didn’t listen to any of my research and looked only at my labwork. On the drive home from her office I cried in despair that she was right and I was wrong.

Finding a Good Doctor!

Nearly giving up, my sister coaxed me to try one more doctor in hopes that he could help. He is an Integrative Medicine doctor, Dr. Charles Brummer, who had a great reputation. Later I realized, a good doctor is vital for getting the right treatment.

As I sat in Dr. Brummer’s office explaining my lifetime of symptoms (and a little wary that he wouldn’t believe me), he said something which changed my life. Dr. Brummer said: “If your sense of well-being tells you something is wrong, we need to listen. Trust your sense of self.” Never before had I heard these words from a doctor. My sense of well-being mattered??? Finally someone who understood!!

Then Dr. Brummer took my body temperature. He paused, checked again three times, then said “Amazing, I thought my thermometer was broken! I checked three times and your body temperature is 95.5 in July. 95.5 is not normal! Your body temperature should be 98.6.” Then he asked “Doctors never noticed your low body temperature?”

No. During all those years not one doctor had ever cared about low body temperature!! Even though low body temperature is one of the most significant symptoms of hypothyroidism, previous doctors had dismissed it.

Can you imagine my relief? Dr. Brummer listened to my symptoms. He ordered thorough lab tests including Free T3, Free T4, vitamin panels, hormone panels, candida test, lyme tests, and adrenal tests. Not just the TSH test which can be unreliable. Most importantly, as a good doctor he listened to me. The journey to recovery from hypothyroidism began.

 

Hypothyroidism Success Story

Hypothyroidism Success Story

After being treated for hypothyroidism, my life and body work the way I always wanted. Like normal people, I can exercise five or six days a week and recover just fine. When I eat healthy I lose weight and can easily maintain my weight as size 4 or 6. With good energy levels, I can work all day while still having energy to cook dinner, do the dishes, read to my son, do laundry, and more.

With treatment for low cortisol, when I lay down to sleep at night I fall right asleep after five minutes without sleeping pills. The quality of my sleep is good and I can wake up at 8 AM feeling refreshed, with energy.

My body temperature is in the normal range which means my hands, feet and overall body are warm. No more sweaters in summer. In addition, all the other Hypothyroid and Adrenal symptoms including asthma, sinus infections, candida, headaches, dry skin, depression, brain fog, high cholesterol, low blood pressure are miraculously cured. 

The best part is that feeling healthy means I have energy to care about girly things like doing my hair and makeup, wearing high heels and doing my nails. It’s so important to feel feminine and have energy to care for ourselves.

Living with Properly Treated Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue

Through this journey, I learned many amazing lessons.

  • Be kind to ourselves, especially when other people don’t know what we are going through
  • Be patient and loving with ourselves
  • Persevere without judgement
  • Reach for the happiest thought in every moment
  • Trust your inner being
  • On the days I am tired, rest
  • On the days I have energy, take on a little more
  • Ask a friend or buddy to help in the early stages

 

This is where your hypothyroidism success story begins.

Miss LizzyMy Success Story with Hypothyroidism and Weight Loss
Can I have hypothyroidism with normal TSH?

Can I have hypothyroidism with normal TSH?

Can I have Hypothyroidism with Normal TSH Lab Results?

Absolutely. Many patients report having hypothyroidism with normal TSH. It’s important to understand, TSH is actually a test of the pituitary gland, not the thyroid. 1 Even though many doctors have used TSH to measure thyroid function over the last 40 years, this does not mean it is accurate. Consequently, patients can have hypothyroidism with normal TSH. This was the case for me, and many others. As a result, I do not use TSH as the measure of thyroid function.

How Common is Undiagnosed Hypothyroidism?

In case you’re wondering just how common it is to have an undiagnosed thyroid condition here are some interesting statistics:

  • According to as many as 13 million Americans — or 10% of the population — have an undiagnosed or under-treated thyroid disorder due to the inaccuracy of the TSH test.   2
  • Another study says over 20 million (1 in 20) Americans have a thyroid disorder 3
  • Hypothyroidism affects women more than men.
  • 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid disorder 4

You’ve probably seen friends who are hypothyroid and didn’t realize it. They are the ones who are tired all the time. They can’t lose weight no matter what they do. Perhaps you’ve heard them complain about being cold, especially cold hands and feet. Their face and neck may look puffy. When yu talk with them, they may seem foggy, slow or disconnected. If you know someone who fits this description, they might have undiagnosed hypothyroidism. Give your friend lots of love and compassion. Tell them there is help. If that friend sounds like you, be kind to yourself and know there is hope for getting treatment. First they must understand that even if their doctor told them they were fine, they can still have hypothyroidism with normal TSH.

Why is the TSH test unreliable?

For myself and many others, the TSH test was not reliable. Consequently, I was not treated properly for hypothyroidism and lived a miserable existence. Read my story. Before relying on the TSH test, consider the following:

  • Dr. Utiger, the creator of the TSH test said that body temperature is a better test of thyroid function than TSH.  5
  • During the day TSH levels can vary as much as 200%
  • Normal ranges of TSH are disputed
  • During pregnancy a woman’s pituitary gland can be damaged, a condition known as Sheehan’s Syndrome. When this damage happens the result is that the TSH looks normal even though the patient has hypothyroidism.
  • TSH measures hormone levels in the blood, rather than tissue levels 6
  • Some patients cannot convert inactive T4 to active T3. TSH does not measure this conversion issue. 7
  • TSH does not measure cellular receptor hormone resistance. 8
  • Adrenal fatigue is not measure by TSH. 9
  • Paradoxically, a low TSH may occur with a low thyroid function. 10

I have sadly come across very few doctors who can accept the fact that a normal or low TSH may still occur with a low thyroid… as a result of the (TSH) test, thousands are denied treatment.
– Barry Durrant Peatfield


What is the Consequences of Inaccurate TSH?

People are misdiagnosed for hypothyroidism based on what doctor’s believe to be normal TSH result. Consequently these patients go untreated, continuing to experience a myriad of life hindering hypothyroid symptoms. Patients like myself feel emotionally hopeless because we know something is wrong, yet we cannot get proper treatment. Some patients are told by doctors “it’s all in your head” and “you just need therapy” when in fact hypothyroidism with a normal TSH is real and treatable. Your health matters, you don’t have to suffer with symptoms of hypothyroidism.

How Can I Get Treatment for Hypothyroidism with Normal TSH?

If you have symptoms of hypothyroidism but your doctor says your TSH is fine, have hope! You could still have hypothyroidism with a normal TSH.

First, I would ask my doctor to run a wider range of thyroid tests including:

Next I would ask my doctor to treat me based on hypothyroid symptoms and body temperature. It’s important to note, if a doctor will not run these tests or won’t acknowledge symptoms, I would find another doctor immediately. I would not waste any emotions trying to educate a doctor who has a different viewpoint.

Why is Body Temperature Important for Hypothyroidism?

In addition to the above lab tests, body temperature has long been a helpful measure of thyroid function. According to Dr. Broda Barnes (1), measuring basal body temperature was the most accurate testing method. Dr. Barnes explains that a temperature below 97.8 indicates Hypothyroidism, a temperature above 98.6 indicates hyperthyroidism. In addition, body temperature test can be used to monitor the treatment of hypothyroidism. As low temperatures rise up to 98.2, hypothyroid symptoms will disappear.

According to Dr. Barnes, more information can often be brought to the physician with an ordinary thermometer than with all other thyroid test combined. Read more about how to measure and track body temperature. In my experience, tracking body temperature is essential for understanding thyroid health and medicine. Learn more about body temperature and what it can mean.

With all this information, its easy to see how patients can have hypothyroidism with normal TSH, and how to find treatment.

Miss LizzyCan I have hypothyroidism with normal TSH?
Lab Tests for Hypothyroidism

Lab Tests for Hypothyroidism

It’s important patients order the right lab tests for hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, and related conditions, otherwise, patients may go untreated. While TSH test has been used as the main test for hypothyroidism over recent years, it is not a reliable measure of thyroid function. Below is a list of lab tests recommended by patients and doctors.  1 2 3 4.

PRIMARY LAB TESTS for HYPOTHYROIDISM

The following is a primary list of lab tests for hypothyroidism run by my doctor. These lab tests provided a baseline for diagnosing hypothyroidism and related conditions. In addition, these primary lab tests are the ones we run regularly to monitor my thyroid health. To help monitor and assess treatment, I find it helpful to track lab test results, body temperature and medicine doses.

FREE T3 Lab Test

Free T3 is the workhorse of all thyroid hormones, measuring the free, unbound levels of triiodothyronine in the bloodstream. It’s important to remember that Free T3 is considered more accurate than Total T3. In hyperthyroidism Free T3 is typically elevated. In hypothyroidism, Free T3 is typically low. 5

According to Stop the Thyroid Madness 6, at the optimal dose of natural desiccated thyroid, with no lingering hypothyroid symptoms and with healthy adrenals, patients tend to have a Free T3 at the top of the range.

On natural desiccated thyroid (lower than 3 grains), with the Free T3 high or above range, and continuing hypothyroid symptoms or even hyper-like symptoms, patient could have adrenal fatigue.

For patients who are not on thyroid medication, a lab test showing high Free T3 could mean they have Hashimoto’s disease or Graves disease. Whereas for patients who are not on thyroid medicine and have hypothyroid symptoms, a lab test showing Free T3 mid to lower range could mean hypothyroidism.

Free T3 Results by Miss Lizzy Hypothyroid Advocate

FREE T4 Lab Test

Free T4 measures the available and unbound T4 hormone. For patients on natural desiccated thyroid medicine with healthy adrenals, a normal lab test will show Free T4 at mid to high range, and Free T3 at the top end of the range. Hypothyroidism generally occurs with Free T4 in the low range, and Free T3 at mid-range or slightly high.

Reverse T3 (RT3) Test

The RT3 test must be done at the same time as the Free T3 in order to calculate the ratio with the results and measurements. According to Thyroid-Rt3.com, divide Free T3 by reverse T3. The amount should be 20 or greater. If it’s less then that you have a RT3 problem. If it’s vastly smaller or larger you may have to move the decimal point to get the units right.

FT3 should be twenty of more times higher than RT3.  (Stop the Thyroid Madness book  page 162-163 for more.)

24-Hour Cortisol Saliva Test for Adrenal Fatigue

This lab test is done at home to evaluate cortisol levels during a 24 hour period. This test helps patients determine if they have adrenal fatigue. In addition the lab test will show the times during the day when adrenal function is too high or too low. Patients with healthy adrenal function will have the follow results:

  • 8 am will be at the very top of the range
  • 11 am-noon in the upper quarter of the range
  • 4-5 pm will be mid-range
  • 11 pm to midnight at the very bottom of the range

It’s important to remember, the rise and fall pattern of cortisol reflects the a person’s energy throughout the day. In simple terms, we have more energy in the morning, yet as the day goes on our energy tappers down slowly until bedtime. When the cortisol pattern is off, it greatly affects our energy and sleep patterns in the following ways:

  • Low morning cortisol may make it hard to wake up, especially before 9 AM.
  • Low afternoon cortisol may cause patients to require a nap.
  • High bedtime cortisol may make it hard to fall asleep.

Two weeks prior to the 24 hour saliva test, make sure to stop all adrenal supplements.

Order the 24 Hour Saliva Test from TrueHealth Labs

Antithyroglobulin Test

According to About.com, testing for thyroglobulin antibodies (also called antithyroglobulin antibodies) is common. If you have already been diagnosed with Graves’ disease, having high levels of thyroglobulin antibodies means that you are more likely to eventually become hypothyroid. Thyroglobulin antibodies are positive in about 60 percent of Hashimoto’s patients and 30 percent of Graves’ patients.

B-12 Test

According to Stop the Thyroid Madness, B12 can can be low in hypothyroid patients due to low stomach acid. The normal range for B12 is 200-900 pg/ml. Though Stop the Thyroid Madnesss indicates a healthy range is on the high end.

Ferritin 

The ferritin test measures the level of ferritin, the major iron storage protein in the body 7. The results may vary slightly among laboratories, but in general, normal ferritin levels are 12-300 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL) for males and 12-150 ng/mL for females.

According to Stop the Thyroid Madness, if your Ferritin result is less than 50, your levels are too low and can be causing problems…as well as leading you into anemia as you fall lower, which will give you symptoms similar to hypo, such as depression, achiness, fatigue. Optimally, females shoot for 70-90 at the minimum and men 100-130.

Elevated Ferritin, can indicate inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, liver disease, hyperthyroidism, adult Still’s disease, type 2 diabetes, leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, iron poisoning or frequent blood transfusions.

For at least 12 hours before testing and as much as 5 days  before testing, stop taking iron supplements for best accuracy.

Iodine Loading Test

While iodine is an important nutrient for thyroid and whole body health, iodine deficiency is a primary cause of Hypothyroidism. Learn more about iodine. In The Iodine Crisis by Lynne Farrow, the 24 Hour Iodine Loading test is recommended for assessing iodine sufficiency.

People undergoing the test are deemed to be deficient in iodine if they excrete less than 90% of the iodine loading dose. 8

Sodium Test 

The sodium test is often part of the Basic Metabolic Panel. The right amount of sodium is important for health. Blood sodium can also be part of an electrolyte panel.

Normal results for this test are 135-145 mEq/L 9, however Stop the Thyroid Madness noted that healthy folks report 142 and even slightly higher.

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody (TPO) Test

The TPA antibodies work against thyroid peroxidase and the enzyme that plays a part on the conversion of T4 to T3. TPO antibodies can indicate Hashimoto’s disease. In 95% of patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis TPO antibodies are detectable. While in 50-80% of patients with Graves disease TPO antibodies are detectable. 10

TSH Lab Test

TSH is a measure of the pituitary function, therefore it is not an accurate measure of thyroid function. Learn more about why TSH can be unreliable. Here is how TSH can be used in thyroid treatment to:

  • Help determine hypothyroidism only if it’s in the high range.
  • Understand the relative range for you.
  • Diagnose a pituitary problem, not a thyroid problem. Especially if low TSH is accompanied by low Free T3.

Vitamin D test

As explained by Dr. Mercola 11, there are two vitamin D test. The 1,25(OH)D and the 25(OH)D. The correct test is 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. The lab test ranges for 25-hydroxyvitamin D are:

  • Deficient > 50 ng/ml
  • Optimal 50-70 ng/ml
  • Treating Cancer and Heart Disease 70-100 ng/ml
  • Excess > 100ng/ml

Low vitamin D can contribute to thyroid problems 12.

Serum Iron

According to Healthline 13, the serum iron test measures how much iron is in your serum. This test can help your doctor figure out if there is a problem with your iron levels (high or low) resulting in symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, difficulty concentrating, and moodiness.  Though its a less common test.

Stop the Thyroid Madness suggests a value of about 110 for women, and the 130′s for men, based on what they’ve seen on hundreds of lab results. 14

TIBC (Total iron binding capacity) test: measures whether a protein called transferrin, produced by the liver, has the ability to carry iron in the blood. Used to determine anemia or low body iron. If your result is high, and in the absence of chronic disease, you may be anemic. With healthy amounts of iron, this test will be low in the range—about 1/4th above the bottom number.

SECONDARY LAB TESTS

Aldosterone

Aldosterone is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands to help maintain the balance of fluids and electrolytes in our bodies through the kidneys. In addition, aldosterone affects blood pressure, as well as regulating salt (sodium) and potassium in the blood. If aldosterone production is not functioning properly, there can be serious consequences to the heart, kidneys and electrolyte balance. 15

According to GlobalRph.com 16, the normal range for Aldosterone is 4-31 ng/gl.  Low range results indicate adrenal insufficiency.

Stop the Thyroid Madness suggests for women to test aldosterone in the first week of the menstrual cycle, or up until the beginning of the second week. This phase of the menstrual cycle is when progesterone is at its lowest. By the end of the second week in the menstrual cycle progesterone begins to rise. Progesterone can falsely drive up aldosterone.

DHEA test

DHEA is a natural steroid and precursor hormone produced by the adrenals. The truth is that — for the women who need it — adrenal support with DHEA supplementation can make a big difference. I’ve seen it help patients get going again when they feel like they’ve hit rock bottom. But it’s never as simple as just popping a pill. For me personally, supplementing with DHEA was not the right fit but for others it can be effective. On WomentoWomen they like to see estrogen, progesterone, and DHEA in the upper quadrant of normal.

Folate Test 

Folate or Folic acid, is a b-vitamin which can be low in hypothyroid patients. The normal reference range of folic acid in the blood is 2.7 to 17.0 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). Low levels of folic acid may indicate anemia, malabsorption, or malnutrition. 17

RBC Magnesium Test

While a lack of magnesium in normal diets can cause low thyroid function, it can be solved with proper diet and supplements. Magnesium deficiencies are common, especially in well-developed countries where processed foods are a part of the diet. Seven out of every ten Americans is likely to have a magnesium deficiency, causing many problems including underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). 18

Signs of magnesium deficiency include weakness, extreme thirst, muscle cramps, muscle twitching, poor memory, confusion, Type II Diabetes, high blood pressure, fatigue, anxiety and more. 19

For RBC Magnesium results, Stop the Thyroid Mandess suggests a good range is mid to high. 20

Renin Lab Test

Aldosterone and renin tests are used to evaluate if adrenal glands are producing appropriate amounts of aldosterone. The test is also used to distinguish between the potential causes of excess or deficiency. Aldosterone may be measured in the blood or in a 24-hour urine sample, which measures the amount of aldosterone removed in the urine in a day. Renin is always measured in blood.

Low renin can mean primary aldosteronism (Conn syndrome) or Cushing Syndrome. While high renin can mean Secondary aldosteronism, or Adrenal insufficiency.  21

Zinc

The plasma zinc test can establish zing deficiency. While the plasma zinc test is good at detecting major zinc deficiency, it is not as good at catching minor zinc deficiency. When this happens, a patient can have “normal” zinc results but still be zinc deficient. The optimal range for plasma zinc is 3.8 – 22.9µmol/L ( 90-150µg/dl).

ACTH STIM

The ACTH Stimulation test assesses the function of adrenal glands stress response to ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone). This test is used to diagnose primary or second adrenal sufficiency, Addison’s disease, and related conditions. 22

For details about range, see the simple diagnostic chart.

T7, Total T3, Total T4, Uptake, or any other thyroid labs

These tests are unnecessary 23

When talking with a good doctor, it’s important to know which lab tests for hypothyroidism and track the results over time!

Notes:

  1. StoptheThyroidMadness.com
  2. The Iodine Crisis by Lynne Farrow
  3. Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. James L. Wilson
  4. Mary Shomom at About.com
  5. http://thyroid.about.com/od/gettestedanddiagnosed/a/bloodtests.htm
  6. StoptheThyroidMadness.com
  7. http://www.medicinenet.com/ferritin_blood_test/article.htm
  8. http://www.townsendletter.com/Jan2013/iodine0113.html
  9. http://www.healthline.com/health/sodium-blood#Results
  10. http://thyroid.about.com/od/gettestedanddiagnosed/a/bloodtests.htm
  11. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2002/02/23/vitamin-d-deficiency-part-one.aspx
  12. http://www.wellnessresources.com/health/articles/low_vitamin_d_contributes_to_thyroid_problems/
  13. http://www.healthline.com/health/serum-iron#Overview
  14. http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values/
  15. http://pcos.about.com/od/normalmenstrualcycle/f/aldosterone.htm
  16.  http://www.healthline.com/health/aldosterone#Overview
  17. http://www.healthline.com/health/folic-acid-test#UnderstandingtheResults
  18. http://www.progressivehealth.com/thyroid-magnesium.htm
  19. http://naturalsociety.com/16-magnesium-deficiency-symptoms-signs-low-levels/
  20. http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values/
  21. http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/aldosterone/tab/test/
  22. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACTH_stimulation_test
  23. http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/lab-values/
Miss LizzyLab Tests for Hypothyroidism
Find a Good Doctor for Hypothyroid Treatment

Find a Good Doctor for Hypothyroid Treatment

How Do I find a good doctor?

The single biggest question patients have in getting treatment for Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue is “how do I find a good doctor?” Many patients do not even realize that doctors have different points of view and experiences. As a result when a doctor doesn’t share the patients point of view or is unwilling to listen that patient may go untreated for hypothyroidism. This is totally preventable when patients find a good doctor.

What do I Look for in A Good Doctor?

The first step in getting treatment for hypothyroidism is to find a good doctor. When researching doctors, look for someone who will do the following:

  • Treat based on hypothyroid symptoms and lab results for FREE T3 and FREE T4 (not just TSH)
  • Prescribe medicines such as Natural Desiccated Thyroid Medicine (Armour or WP Thyroid)
  • Or Prescribe T3-only medicine such as Cytomel or Liothyronine as needed
  • Increase medicine dose based on body temperature, and elimination of hypothyroid symptoms
  • Run lab tests for vitamin deficiencies, iron levels, hormone imbalances and adrenal fatigue
  • Make you feel like they are on your side and willing to listen

What kind of Doctor do I avoid?

To find a good doctor, avoid any doctor who says or makes you feel this way:

  • It’s all in your head.
  • You don’t have a thyroid problem. Your TSH labs are normal.
  • You may be depressed, overweight and tired, but it’s not your thyroid.
  • I won’t treat you.

Please keep in mind, doctors should be treated with kindness and respect. Doctors don’t know everything but a good doctor is willing to work with you. Your health matters, and you are your biggest advocate. Trust yourself. But don’t waste energy on a doctor who isn’t willing to help.

Understanding the Different Types of Doctors

There are many types of doctors who treat hypothyroidism. Endocrinologists, Family Practice, Integrative Medicine Doctors, sometimes OB/GYN. However, its important to find a good doctor who truly understands the depth and complexity of hypothyroidism and does not use a “one-size-fits-all” treatment approach. Often I hear of patients how are prescribed Levothyroxine or Synthroid by their Endocrinologist, who will not prescribe anything else. The patients are still very hypothyroid and don’t realize they need different treatment.

Doctors who practice Integrative Medicine are a great starting place in your search. In the experience of myself and many other patients, we did not find help from Endocrinologists or Family Practice doctors. Though if we could find an Endocronolist or Family Practice doctor who is willing to treat based on Step 1 above, then certainly that would be a good start.

Interview Your Doctor

Your doctor should be on your team. While trying to find a good doctor, you can save yourself tons of time and frustration with this one simple step. Call the doctor’s office and do a pre-interview with someone on the staff. Ask for an advice nurse or just ask the front desk.

The most discouraging experience from patients, myself included, is waiting months for an appointment with a new doctor only to find out the doctor isn’t the right fit. Save yourself from this misery. Take 5 minutes, call the doctor’s office and ask the following questions in a nice manner:

  • Does the doctor treat Hypothyroidism by symptoms?
  • Will the doctor test Free T3, Free T4, adrenal fatigue, vitamin deficiencies and hormone imbalance?
  • Is the doctor open to prescribing natural desiccated thyroid medicine like Armour or WP Thyroid?

If the office can’t answer these questions or isn’t willing to help, then just move along to the next doctor.

Where to Find a Good Doctor 

Through my research, I have collected the following resources for good doctors.

Dr. Charles Brummer

My doctor is Charles Brummer, M.D. in Northampton Massachusetts. It may take some time to get an appointment with Dr. Brummer, but he is thorough and listens.

HOTZE HEALTH AND WELLNESS CENTER

A patient name Jill recently shared that she had great success by going to the Hotze Health & Wellness Center in Texas. After years of living undiagnosed by doctors, Jill is getting good treatment for hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue. At the Hotze Health and Wellness Center, Jill said that she was “treated like gold.” The doctor listened to her symptoms and explained what was happening to her body on a level she understood. The doctor is treating her with Armour, a low dose of DHEA and a low dose of Cortisol and she is seeing great improvements.

If you try the Hotze Health and Wellness Center let me about your experience.

Hotze Health and Wellness Center

Support Groups 

MY FACEBOOK PAGE

To see a growing list of good doctors and Iodine Literate Practitioners join my Facebook page. If you don’t see a doctor in your area feel free to ask others for suggestions. If you have a good doctor please share as well. Everyone needs our help. Click here to join my Facebook group.

YAHOO NATURAL THYROID HORMONES (NTH) GROUP

NTH is a private group to which you can request to join. They are wealth of knowledge with a comprehensive Good Doctor list from patients around the USA. To join this group you need a Yahoo account. Click here to join.

FTPO: FOR THYROID PATIENTS ONLY

From the groundbreaking site Stop the Thyroid Madness, the Facebook group is knowledgable and active. Click here to join.

ASK YOUR COMMUNITY

Start by asking friends for a good doctor. Tell them what you are looking for in a doctor. Try asking specialists like massage therapists, herbalists, chiropractors, etc.. Or asking at your local health food store. You’re looking for a doctor or physician’s assistant who is considered to be open-minded and has a great reputation.

Other Places to Find a Good Doctor

BRODA BARNES

Broda Barnes was a leader in educating and treating patients with Hypothyroidism. Doctors trained by Broda Barnes, or believe in his viewpoint will understand the importance of using desiccated thyroid in treatment. Visit the website

PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES

Try contacting the pharmaceutical companies who make natural desiccated thyroid medicine and ask if they have a list of doctors in your area who often prescribe their medicine. NP Thyroid is manufactured by Acella Pharmaceuticals, Armour is manufactured by Forest Laboratories, Naturthroid by RLC Labs.

LOCAL PHARMACY

Ask your local pharmacist (not the clerk at the counter) if they know doctors in your area who prescribe natural desiccated thyroid medicine.

Miss LizzyFind a Good Doctor for Hypothyroid Treatment
The Importantance of Body Temperature

The Importantance of Body Temperature

Many doctors use body temperature to help assess thyroid function. Many doctors also disregard low body temperature. It’s important to educate yourself on the importance of body temperature. Patients can learn much about their well being simply from track body temperature correctly and regularly. For me, tracking body temp is the cheapest, easiest way to know that my thyroid medicine is working.

According to Dr. Broda Barnes (1), measuring basal body temperature is the most accurate testing method. He explains that a temperature below 97.8 indicates Hypothyroidism, a temperature above 98.2 indicates hyperthyroidism. In addition, when treatment is given for hypothyroidism the body temperature test can be used to monitor the treatment. As low temperatures rise to 98.2, hypothyroid symptoms will disappear.

Dr. Barnes also said “more information can often be brought to the physician with an ordinary thermometer than with all other thyroid test combined”.

Body temperature is such a simple idea. Before getting thyroid treatment my body temperature was very low. At its worst, my temperature was 95.5 degrees. And no this is not normal! Over the years I asked doctors about my low body temperature but was told it was fine. Little did they I was not fine. I felt awful and low body temperature was part of the reason.

How Temperature Effects the Body

What happens when body temperature goes above 98.4-98.6 degrees? We have a fever and typically feel awful. The higher the temperature, the worse we feel. If high temperature doesn’t feel good, consider what happens when body temperature is below normal? It seems logical that we would also feel bad with low body temperature. Patients report feeling tired, sluggish, foggy, cold, and all the other hypothyroid symptoms.

Many patients, myself included, have been told by doctors that low body temperature is fine. But this is not true. Low body temperature can be a very clear sign of hypothyroidism and is the first step in diagnosis.

How to Track Body Temperature

Here are  simple instructions from Broda Barnes…. Men, children, and woman (who are past menopause) can take this test anytime. Women who are still in child-bearing years should track temperature on the second or third day of their period. 

  • Preferably use a glass thermometer orally, under the tongue. These are most accurate.
  • Shake down the thermometer the night before, and place on your night table. Take temperature first thing in the morning before getting out of bed
  • Record your temperature (use this nice PDF chart from the Wolfe Clinic).
  • Repeat for several days to see if the temperature changes. Keep in mind, a big fluctuation is common and could be a sign of adrenal fatigue! One day the temperature might be 97.8 and then next 97.0, this is important information.
  • According to Dr. Barnes the morning (basal) temperature should average 97.8 to 98.2 to indicate normal thyroid function.
  • Taking afternoon temperature is also important. Take temperature again at 2-3pm and track results.
  • A normal afternoon temperature range is 98.4-98.6.

Understanding Body Temperature

Dr. Broda Barnes and Dr. James Wilson explain how to test thyroid and adrenals through body temperature precisely. Checking your body temp at 3pm when the body is at it’s warmest will give you quick insight. Here is a chart explaining what body temperatures could mean:

Body temperature is important for diagnosing and treating hypothyroidism.

If you have low body temperature take these results to your doctor! If your doctor doesn’t believe in the body temperature thyroid connection find another doctor.

 

Miss LizzyThe Importantance of Body Temperature
Children Can Have Hypothyroidism with Normal TSH

Children Can Have Hypothyroidism with Normal TSH

Just like adults, children can have hypothyroidism with normal TSH.

When my son Jack was nine years old I realized that his struggle with weight gain, inability to focus at school, and low energy may be caused by hypothyroidism. That it wasn’t just a matter of just eat less, pay more attention, and try to exercise more. Looking into his eyes, Jack had the dull flat look of hypothyroidism. I know this look all too well.

Weight Gain is a Clue to Hypothyroidism

In an effort to slow the weight gain, my son tried my diet of no grain, no flour and minimal sugar. He was a real trouper about this very limited meal plan. As an example for breakfast he would eat eggs, potatoes and lettuce. For lunch, he had smoothies made with frozen fruit, chocolate and stevia for sweetener. For dinner, he would have a hamburger without a bun. While the diet was limited, I tried to make the meals fun and satisfying for Jack.

Most normal people on this kind of diet would lose weight. But not Jack. Difficulty loosing weight makes hypothyroidism so frustrating. Even when we eat a very healthy diet, weight loss can be almost impossible. However, by doing this paleo-like diet, it helped me realize that Jack didn’t have an issue eating too much. He had  underlying hypothyroidism. Until we solved the hypothyroidism, weight loss was going to be hard.

When Doctors Misdiagnose Because of TSH

In the past Jack’s primary care doctor said his TSH labs were normal, therefore he didn’t have hypothyroidism. The doctor never told me the actual TSH result, and they didn’t run any other tests. At the time, I accepted the normal diagnosis even though I should have known better.

However, with the weight gain issues and other hypothyroid symptoms, I knew that patients can have hypothyroidism with normal TSH. Rather than try to debate the thyroid results with Jack’s primary care, instead I took Jack to the doctor who helped me with hypothyroidism, Dr. Brummer.

Dr. Brummer ran a full panel of tests for Jack. Even though we don’t rely upon TSH, Dr. Brummer said Jack’s TSH was a 6. He said this was the very high end of a normal range, whereas a range of 2.5 is more normal. Finally we had a diagnosis that made sense.

As a mom, it was heartbreaking to watch my child gain weight uncontrollably and have low energy. When other kids played at recess he would sit on the sidelines because he didn’t have the stamina to keep up.

Hypothyroidism Treatment for Children 

Just like adults, children can be treated for hypothyroidism with medicine. Dr. Brummer agreed to prescribe natural desiccated thyroid medicine for Jack, know that we preferred NDT over T4 only medicine like Synthroid.

Since starting natural desiccated thyroid medicine for hypothyroidism, Jack’s health, well being and childhood is so much better. Now he is better able to manage his weight on a normal, non-restricted diet. He said he now has energy to play at recess and enjoys keeping up with the other children.

 

 

 

Miss LizzyChildren Can Have Hypothyroidism with Normal TSH
Why Iodine is Vital for Thyroid Function

Why Iodine is Vital for Thyroid Function

Iodine is vital for thyroid function because it helps in the production of thyroid hormone. According to The Iodine Crisis by Lynne Farrow, iodine is an essential micronutrient needed by every cell in the body. In recent years, iodine deficiency has become a public health crisis because iodine can displaced by environmental toxins. People are exposed to these bromine, chlorine and fluoride toxins every day through drinking water, medications, body products, make up, toothpaste and more. 1

Risks of Iodine Deficiency

The World Health Organization has recognized up to 72% of the world’s population is affected by an iodine deficiency disorder 2 According to Dr. Brownstein, iodine deficiency may result in the following severe medical conditions:

  • Cretinism
  • Mental Impairment
  • Reduced intellectual ability
  • Goiter
  • Infertility
  • Increased risk of of breast, prostate, endometrial, and ovarian cancer
  • SIDS
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • ADHD

Iodine is Vital for Thyroid Function

Iodine is not only necessary for the production of thyroid hormone, it is responsible for the production of all other hormones 3 Since the body does not make Iodine on its own, we need to get iodine from food or supplemental sources.

Brief History of Iodine

For over 100 years, iodine has been known as the element necessary for thyroid hormone production. 4 Records showing the use of iodine as a “universal medicine” date back 150 years. Archaeological records from over 15,000 years ago show iodine use in the form of seaweed [re]Farrow, Lynne. The Iodine Crisis. Devon Press. 2013. xviii.[/ref]

Since the 1970s, we’ve become iodine deficient because bromine has purged iodine from our bodies.[re]Farrow, Lynne. The Iodine Crisis. Devon Press. 2013. page 25.[/ref]

We know from world studies that if you give iodine during pregnancy the babies that come out are usually 20-30 point higher in IQ than their parents – Jorge Fechas, MD, MPH

Do I get enough Iodine from Salt?

First it’s important to know not all sources of salt have iodine. With salts that have added iodine, a significant amount of iodine may evaporate before the salt arrives in your kitchen. The longer iodized salt sits the less iodine remains. [re]Farrow, Lynne. The Iodine Crisis. Devon Press. 2013. page 166-167.[/ref]

In addition, according to Dr. Browenstein, the use of iodized salt has not eliminated iodine deficiency disorders. Studies by the NHANES show iodine levels have dropped 50% in the USA over the last 40 years. [re]Brownstein, David. Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It. Medical Alternatives Press. 2014. page 44.[/ref]

Testing for Iodine Deficiency

Dr. Guy E. Abraham suggests The Iodine Loading Test to determine whether a person has iodine insufficiency. To order the Iodine-Loading Test try FFP Labs at 877-900-5556 or Hakala Labs. 5

Basics of the Iodine Protocol

Dr. Guy Abraham, MD, David Browenstein, MD, and Jorge Flechas, MD have used the Iodine Supplementation Protocol to treat over 4,000 patients with iodine. 6. Read  The Iodine Crisis to understand the Iodine Protocol. Here is a summary of the Iodine Protocol:

  • 50mg Iodine Daily in the form of Iodoral or Lugol’s Solution Tablet Formulation (starting at 12.5mg).
  • Some practitioners may recommend another form of iodine such as Lugol’s Solution Liquid or Nascent Iodine
  • Vitamin C: 3,000 mg per day in divided doses (more be necessary to detox bromide)
  • 300-600 mg magnesium in the form of magnesium oxide, magnesium glycerinate or magnesium citrate depending on preference
  • 200 mpg selenium (patients preferred selenomethionine)
  • 500 mg niacin (B3) twice a day (not niacinimde). Starting at a lower dose to avoid flush.
  • 100 mg Vitamin B2 three times a day, or use the ATP Cofactor instead
  • 1/2 TSP unprocessed sea salt added to meals
  • 1/4 TSP unprocessed salt in 8 oz. water twice daily or as needed for detox
  • A comprehensive vitamin and nutrition program

Lugol’s Solution

Lugol’s solution is a mix of elemental iodine and potassium iodine, first made in 1829. It was named after French physicist J.G.A Lugol. [re]http://alternativa-za-vas.com/en/index.php/clanak/article/lugols-solution[/ref]

Lugol’s 5% the strongest formula legally available in the USA contains Iodine 2.5 mg, Iodide 3.75 mg for a total of 6.25 mgs total per vertical drop.

Buy Lugol’s Solution of Iodine 5%

Lugol’s Solution Tablet Formulation

The tablet formulation of Lugol’s Solution contains the same ratio of Potassium Iodine and Iodine in Lugol’s Solution liquid. Tablets can be more convenient for traveling.

Nascent Iodine

Nascent iodine is an atomic rather than its molecular form of iodine. Because nascent iodine is an iodine atom that has an incomplete number of electrons, it can hold an electromagnetic charge. Nascent iodine has a large energy release.

Since nascent iodine is recognized by the body as the same iodine that is produced by the thyroid, it is absorbed effortlessly by the body. 7.  Nascent Iodine is a highly stable mono-element, nano-colloidal iodine not bound by mineral salts such as calcium or potassium.  This formula allows the body to efficiently utilize every drop to support thyroid and cellular iodine levels.

Notes:

  1. The Iodine Crisis, Lynne Farrow, p.219-229
  2. Brownstein, David. Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It. Medical Alternatives Press. 2014. page43.
  3. Brownstein, David. Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It. Medical Alternatives Press. 2014. page 25.
  4. Brownstein, David. Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It. Medical Alternatives Press. 2014. page 24.
  5. The Iodine Crisis, Lynne Farrow, p.199-200
  6. Farrow, Lynne. The Iodine Crisis. Devon Press. 2013. page 201.
  7. http://drsircus.com/iodine/sources-and-uses-for-iodine-iodine-to-rescue/
Miss LizzyWhy Iodine is Vital for Thyroid Function
Adrenal Fatigue Overview

Adrenal Fatigue Overview

Adrenal Fatigue Overview

Adrenal fatigue is a condition that weakens the adrenal glands due to stresses on the body.  It’s important to understand, people can have adrenal fatigue separate from Hypothyroidism. However it is quite common for patients to have both Adrenal Fatigue and Hypothyroidism.

According to Natural Thyroid Treatment, of the millions of people who are diagnosed with thyroid conditions, many of these people also develop adrenal fatigue. If a healthcare professional aims their treatment directly at the thyroid gland and ignores the adrenals, there is absolutely no chance of restoring the patient’s health back to normal.

Basics Causes of Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands cannot adequately meet the demands of stress.* The adrenal glands mobilize the body’s responses to every kind of stress (physical, emotional, and psychological) through hormones that regulate energy production and storage, immune function, heart rate, muscle tone, and other processes that enable you to cope with the stress.

Whether you have an emotional crisis such as the death of a loved one, a physical crisis such as major surgery, or any type of severe repeated or constant stress in your life, your adrenals have to respond to the stress and maintain homeostasis. If their response is inadequate, you are likely to experience some degree of adrenal fatigue.*

During adrenal fatigue your adrenal glands function, but not well enough to maintain optimal homeostasis because their output of regulatory hormones has been diminished – usually by over-stimulation.* Over-stimulation of your adrenals can be caused either by a very intense single stress, or by chronic or repeated stresses that have a cumulative effect.*

  • Stressful relationships, stressful work, financial stress, or traumatic events
  • Major surgery
  • Long-term malnutrition or poor eating
  • Drug addition
  • Long exposure to toxic chemicals or pollutants
  • Recurring disease, infection or illness

Basic Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

Natural Thyroid Treatment explains there are many different symptoms people can experience with adrenal fatigue, but here are the more common symptoms:

  • Extremely tired, especially in the morning
  • Find it difficult to obtain quality sleep
  • Crave sweet and salty foods
  • Feel stressed out most of the time
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Low blood pressure (light headedness)
  • Loss of body hair
  • Needing stimulants or high doses of caffeine

How Stress Affects Adrenals

The adrenals are what handle the Fight or Flight” response in the body. Meaning, we experience stress, adrenaline kicks in and gives our body an energy boost.  As cave women, it was great for fighting the occasional tiger (or running from said tiger) which we only had to do on occasion. But in the modern world we can experience stress every day from work, family stress, financial stress, poor diets, sickness, chronic illness or disease which means continually draining the adrenal system. When we are sick with a condition like Hypothyroidism, our bodies are continually draining the adrenals. Many people who have hypothyroidism also find they have adrenal fatigue.

We risk burning out the adrenals, resulting in a “crash”.  You know that feeling, for example, after a big family holiday ends you just want to lie on the couch for days?  Or you’ve finished a big work deadline and either you get sick, or simply can’t do anything for a few days? That’s the adrenal crash from stress.  When you say “you burned yourself out” that’s totally true! You did. You fought that tiger, and you won, sister! But now you’re paying.

Adrenal Fatigue Can Be Missed

Although adrenal fatigue affects millions of people in the U.S. and around the world, conventional medicine does not yet recognize it as a distinct syndrome. According to AdrenalFatigue.org, Adrenal Fatigue has been known by many other names, such as non-Addison’s hypoadrenia, sub-clinical hypoadrenia, neurasthenia, adrenal neurasthenia, and adrenal apathy. 

Adrenal fatigue can wreak havoc with a person’s life. In more serious cases, the activity of the adrenal glands is so diminished that people may have difficulty getting out of bed for more than a few hours per day.

As the adrenals become more tired, every organ and system in the body is increasingly affected. Changes occur in carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, fluid and electrolyte balance, heart and cardiovascular system, and even sex drive. The body does its best to make up for under-functioning adrenal glands, but it does so at a price.

Learn more at According to AdrenalFatigue.org, or read Dr. Wilson’s book, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome.

Can people experiencing adrenal fatigue heal and feel good?

According to AdrenalFatigue.org, YES. In my own experience, and reports from other patients, YES. It is possible to heal weak adrenals and feel healthy again.

How to Get Started

Miss LizzyAdrenal Fatigue Overview
Adrenal Fatigue Testing

Adrenal Fatigue Testing

Adrenal Fatigue Testing

There are several options for Adrenal Fatigue Testing, including the free at-home Pupil Test, Blood Pressure test; and the 24 Hour Saliva Test. These testing options may give you some information in order to have more insight when you talk with a good doctor.

Symptoms Checklist

If you answered yes to at least half the Adrenal Fatigue symptoms, in particular the symptoms related to low energy and poor sleep that’s a good first indicator of Adrenal Problems.

The Pupil Test

Adapted from Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. James L. Wilson, you can do this test at home yourself for free and will give you quick insight about whether there might be an adrenal fatigue. You need a chair, a small flashlight, a mirror, a watch or timer, and a dark room.

  • Darken the room and sit in a chair in front of a mirror
  • Angle a flashlight from the side (not directly into it), and shine the light toward your pupil
  • With the other eye observe, holding for two or three minutes
  • Normally a pupil will stay contracted in the bright light
  • With adrenal fatigue or hypoadrenia, the pupil will not hold its contraction. Within two minutes the pupil will start to dilate and this will last 30-40 seconds before it recovers and contracts again.
  • Make note when the dilation started, how long the dilation lasted, and the date.
  • Let the eye rest
  • Re-take the test monthly
  • If needed, ask a friend to help you with the test

Blood Pressure Test

Also according to Dr. James L. Wilson 1, blood press is an important indicator of adrenal function. Wilson says if your blood pressure drops when you stand up from a lying position this almost always indicates low adrenals. For me personally, when I stood up too fast I would nearly black out!

This test can be done at home. All you need is a blood pressure gauge which does not require a stethoscope. After you know how to use the blood pressure gauge here are the steps:

  • Lie down quietly for 10 minutes
  • Then while laying down take your blood pressure
  • Next stand up and immediately measure your blood pressure
  • Normal blood pressure will rise about 10-20 mmHg
  • If it drops when you stand up this likely means you have some form or hypoadrenia, adrenal fatigue, or you may be dehydrated
  • The more severe the drop the more severe the hypoadrenia
  • Dizziness or light-headedness might accrue when standing, so it is wise to do this test with someone beside you, or next to something you can grab like a chair

For more about the Blood Pressure test see Dr. Wilson’s book., Adrenal Fatigue.

24 Hour Saliva Test

The Saliva Hormone test is the single best lab test available for testing adrenal fatigue 2,. This test is done at home, but  typically it is not covered by insurance. The cost runs about $120-150, but it is more accurate than blood or urine tests which are covered by insurance.   The test measures cortisol levels at four different times of the day to show how your cortisol varies during the day:

  • Between 6-8 AM (within one hour after waking and cortisol is at its highest)
  • Between 11AM-12 PM
  • Between 4-6 PM
  • And between 10PM-midnight

Dr. Wilson also notes that, when doing the saliva test he usually measures DHEA-S (but not necessarily DHEA) because the adrenals are a primary source of DHEA-S.

The 24 hour Saliva test can be ordered by a doctor or by patients directly through these labs:

 

Notes:

  1. Adrenal Fatigue, .79
  2. Adrenal Fatigue, Dr. James L. Wilson, p. 83
Miss LizzyAdrenal Fatigue Testing