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
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
The Importance of Sleep for Adrenal Health

The Importance of Sleep for Adrenal Health

If you have adrenal fatigue like me, or know someone who does, getting up before 9 a.m. can often be painful. As far back as high school I joked about not being “a morning person”. Staying up late at night was easy for me, but mornings were so bad that in college I scheduled all classes after 2 p.m. Seriously, I did.  I would be a zombie until around noon. People thought I was lazy, I thought I was lazy. But my brain just didn’t function in the morning, so I did what my body was telling. And you know, my body was pretty darn smart, thank you.

Even as a adult it was painful to wake up before 9 AM. I admired early-risers and longed to be one, having a strange idea that morning people are good people. Only the lure of coffee would pull me from the comatose state of sleep.  The idea of waking up at 6 a.m. actually made me panic. If I woke up before 9 a.m., I could easily drink two cups of coffee and go right back to sleep for hours.  Curiously though, if I slept until about 9 a.m. I could pop right out of bed awake and alert.  This always seemed odd, but apparently, there are lots of people out there like me!

Anyone who has chronic illness will understand you lead a secret life, arranging your business hours around rest opportunities and finding excuses for missing social events – Lynne Farrow, author The Iodine Crisis

Then I started learning about Adrenal Fatigue and how cortisol runs our body clock. So my sleep pattern wasn’t a matter of choice after all. What a revelation! According to James L. Wilson, Ph.D, Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome, though most people’s schedules do not allow it, it helps to sleep until 8:30 or 9 in the morning.

Wilson also writes, for people with normal functioning adrenals, cortisol rises rapidly between 6-8 am, which helps them to pop out of bed.  (And explains why some people can’t sleep past a certain time.)  Further, there is something magical about the restorative power of sleep between 7-9 a.m. for people with Adrenal Fatigue. Partly, he says, because cortisol levels rise slower in people with adrenal fatigue, and when cortisol levels are lower it takes longer to feel fully awake. Wilson also explains that with adrenal fatigue, when you sleep may be more important than how much you sleep.

Finally something that made sense after all these years!  After getting treatment for Adrenal Fatigue, my Cortisol levels have become more normal, so waking up is much easier. In fact, I can get up at 7:45 a.m and actually function these days. But given the chance, I sleep late without guilt, knowing it will help me tackle the day with energy. Brilliant.

 

Miss LizzyThe Importance of Sleep for Adrenal Health
High Cholesterol & Hypothyroidism

High Cholesterol & Hypothyroidism

For many people with high cholesterol the underlying issue may actually be hypothyroidism. Rather than diagnosing and treating the hypothyroidism, many people are told they simply need to eat healthier, exercise more and take medicine to lower their cholesterol.

What’s worse is that sometimes doctors make us feel bad, like we must be fat, unhealthy people who have no control over ourselves when in fact it could be low thyroid.

 When the thyroid slows down (hypothyroidism), it also slows down the body’s ability to process cholesterol.
– Heather M. Ross, About.com

Certainly eating healthier and exercising are good, but cholesterol medicines (statins) have some scary side effects. But even more important, properly treating hypothyroidism could result in naturally lowering cholesterol, like it did for me and many others. On Stop the Thyroid Madness read people’s stories about how they lowered their cholesterol, not through statins, but through the right combination of desiccate thyroid medicine and other treatments.

When I was 18 years old, a doctor told me I had high cholesterol but no one made the connection to hypothyroidism. At that time in my life I was about 15lbs overweight. The doctor made me feel like I was fat and unhealthy, so I was therefore to blame for having high cholesterol at such a young age.

Now at age 41, on proper thyroid treatment my cholesterol is completely normal and healthy. Like me, if you have high cholesterol as a result of hypothyroidism learn more about thyroid symptoms, understanding thyroid lab work (even when the results say you are normal), and finding and good doctor:

 

Miss LizzyHigh Cholesterol & Hypothyroidism
Blood Pressure & Hypothyroidism

Blood Pressure & Hypothyroidism

According to the Stop the Thyroid Madness , blood pressure and Hypothyroidism can go hand-in-hand.

Apparently, it is common to have low blood pressure due to thyroid disease or being treated with T4-only medicines like Levoxyl, Synthroid, Extroxin, etc…

If untreated or treated with these T4-only medicine, low blood pressure can take an ugly turn into high blood pressure. Learn more. For some people, the root of solving blood pressure problems can be found in good thyroid treatment.

Before being treated for Hypothyroidism I had low blood pressure. On the Mayo Clinic website, the symptoms of low blood pressure can include:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Lack of concentration
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Cold, clammy, pale skin
  • Rapid, or shallow breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Depressions
  • Thirst

For years I experienced many of the symptoms noted above. Especially lightheadedness or a woozy feeling when I stood up too quickly (or inverted like a in the yoga pose downward dog, lack of concentration for everyday tasks (my brain and thinking felt soft and foggy), overall fatigue and low energy, a low grade depression.

Sometimes we become so accustomed to symptoms we believe it’s “normal”. After being treated for Hypothyroidism with Natural Dessicated Thyroid medicine (and Iodine for me personally) these symptoms all cleared up and my blood pressure became normal!!

Treatment for Blood Pressure

According to Janie Bowthorp, of Stop the Thyroid Madness, common treatment for hypothyroidism symptoms (including blood pressure) include:

  • Iodine (if one is Iodine deficient)
  • Natural Desiccated Thyroid Medicine

Symptoms are removed, lives are returned to being active, moods are improved as is one’s entire health and well-being.

 

J.CROW’S® Lugol’s Solution of Iodine 5%
Follow me on Facebook

Miss LizzyBlood Pressure & Hypothyroidism
Hypoglycemia & Hypothyroidism

Hypoglycemia & Hypothyroidism

At some point everyone has experienced Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar. You may not know the term but you probably know the feeling. You wait too long to eat or eat high carb foods (say a bagel for breakfast), then within a few hours it feels like you hit a wall.  You might feel these symptoms:

  • Energy comes crashing down
  • Weak and Shaky
  • Irritable or Cranky
  • Hot (like a hot flash) or sweaty
  • Fuzzy head, trouble thinking clearly
  • Become ravenously hungry
  • Read more about Hypoglycemia symptoms

After eating a ridiculous amount of food, or having something really sugary your energy starts to recover slowly. It takes a while to rebound from the weak, lifeless state, and muster enough energy to get off the couch.

For over twenty years I experienced this kind of high-low energy cycle with Hypoglycemia.  At one point, before getting treated for Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue, I asked a doctor about Hypoglycemia. He simply dismissed it and said: “No, nothing can be done about it. Just drink orange juice when it happens.”  The problem was, I experienced Hypoglycemia about every two hours, that’s a lot of O.J.!  I’m no doctor, but one would think having energy crashes every two hours means something else is not right.

Also worth noting, in the middle of a working-out I would often get Hypoglycemia. For me this meant with any kind of physical exertion I would get really week, start shaking and nearly collapse with exhaustion. This was totally frustrating because I wanted to exercise, and the doctors told me to “lose weight I just needed to exercise more.” But when the Hypoglycemia wall hit that was it, workout over.  At that point orange juice just isn’t going to help.  So the looming question was why was I getting Hypoglycemia and could it be prevented?

When I finally researched Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue, I was amazed to see Hypoglycemia as a symptom related to both conditions. How interesting! Finally an explanation that made sense, other than “No, nothing can be done about it…”  With Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue, there are so many odd little symptoms it’s easy to pass them off as unrelated.  But solving the root may solve the problem, as it did for me.

The solution turned out to be — you guessed it — getting on the right treatment for Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue along with diet changes. In particular, when I added the Hydrocortisone for Adrenal Fatigue, I noticed a big improvement with the Hypoglycemia.  According to Wikipedia, Glucocorticoids like Hydrocortisone may help prevent or reverse Hypoglycemia.

When I learned that carbs and simple sugars are hard for people who have Hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue, it all started to make sense.  For years I would eat a bagel or cereal for breakfast which spikes the blood sugar, then two hours later my blood sugar would come crashing down causing Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Of course, as I later learned being carb sensitive, drinking a glass of orange juice was terrible for me (and started the whole high-low cycle all over.)

On the diet side, I removed simple carbs from my diet, replaced them with protein and fat, and started eating every two hours (rather than 3 meals a day, or worse, one meal a day!).  It was pretty incredible to feel the difference in my energy and thinking.

These days I am much more stable, I rarely have Hypoglycemic crashes (even during exercise) and my weight stays in a healthy range.  Before the Hypoglycemia hits, I am now able to recognized the early signs of hunger (just the slightest stomach pang) which prompts me to eat a snack (nuts or cheese, maybe with some apple). Before exercising I always eat this kind of snack and it works great to keep me going through the workout.

I know there is so much to learn, and it can all be overwhelming.  Go easy on yourself and take it one bit of info at a time. When the energy is stable and you think clearly the rest gets so much easier!

 

Miss LizzyHypoglycemia & Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroid Before and After Video

Hypothyroid Before and After Video

Hi everyone!! Last week I found the most amazing photo of myself at age 29… before treatment for hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue!! This before photo is so hard to look at but I think it helps show my journey. About six years ago I threw away almost all my pre-treatment photos because they were so upsetting. Before treatment I was overweight, and this photo wasn’t the worst of it! I was so tired I didn’t have energy to care about work, exercise, home, doing my hair, makeup, or nails. All those fun things being a girl were just too exhausting. Watch my video to hear the whole story! Miss Lizzy!

Miss LizzyHypothyroid Before and After Video
Boost Thyroid Medicine in Winter

Boost Thyroid Medicine in Winter

Here is my new video about Hypothyroidism and the winter blues on Youtube!

REPOST FROM FEB 2011

Here it is March 2014 and I am thinking “Wow, I’ve been feeling kind of blue lately.” It’s the yearly seasonal thyroid drop, which always happens around early March and goes until May. Late winter through early spring can be hard for those of us with hypothyroidism. Even when we are on good thyroid medicine! It reminded me of my blog post from last year on this exact topic. Sheesh, even I have a hard time seeing my own symptoms!

PL0000003849_card_lg
This time of year is always tough for me. The days are getting longer, there is more light and I feel like I should be feeling great. But sure enough, I feel the low-grade depression sneaking up on me again. It usually sets in just before the forsythia bloom (so early March here in New England). When I finally got treatment for hypothyroidism I learned this depression is actually low thyroid!

Apparently thyroid function drops in the late winter/early spring months which creates a low-grade depression for many of us. It feels like SAD (seasonal affective disorder), general depression, or just a heaviness. I know it’s not SAD because I still have it even when I get plenty of sunlight. And I know it’s not traditional depression because it lasts only a few months, and it’s always around this time of year.

So this is a reminder… to help get through the winter blues many of us need to increase our thyroid medicine about 1/4 pill just for a few months. (I might add, who wants to take anti-depressants and gain weight?!) For me the depression starts around now and sometimes lasts through May. When I start to feel light and buoyant again I know I can ease back to my normal dose of thyroid medicine.

 

 

Miss LizzyBoost Thyroid Medicine in Winter
Exercise and Hypothyroidism

Exercise and Hypothyroidism

Determined? Absolutely. This is me at Crossfit where we climb ropes, run, row, lift heavy barbells. A one mile run is often just the warm up. Ten years ago, a one mile run would have landed me in bed for days. Imagine the difference in my life!

Yesterday I reached an exciting milestone. After a year at CrossFit, something I never would have imagined possible before hypothyroid and adrenal treatment, I did my very first unassisted pull-up. Hanging from the bar, full dead-weight, unassisted pull-up. It was so exciting. The most important part is what went through my head:

I WANT IT!!

These words are the single most powerful phrase in my life. Until that moment, I only kind-of wanted the pull-up. I hadn’t actually told my mind that I really wanted it. Saying these words propelled me up, giving me a deep source of power I didn’t realize was inside. Accessing this power feels incredible.

That’s what the thyroid journey has taught me. How to stay determined, persevere through the hardest of times with effort and intention. During the early days of treatment, when I had lower energy I was kind to myself. On the days when I had more energy I would tackle anything I could to help improve my health. Step by step I found my way to health and vitality.

Now I have mostly great days with endurance and energy. However, I would never try this kind of exercise until I had fully healed my thyroid and adrenal issues. First, heal the body. Be patient.

I hope my journey inspires you to keep your spirits high, celebrate every milestone especially the small ones like this, and stay determined.

 

Miss LizzyExercise and Hypothyroidism