Low thyroid function creates a lot of controversy, both with patients and health care providers. Many of the symptoms of thyroid disease mimic other diseases including fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Ok, great! So, how do you know what you are dealing with? Unfortunately, that’s where the problems really start.
Fatigue, lethargy, mental sluggishness, difficulty tolerating heat and cold, depression, joint pain, headaches, morning stiffness…the list goes on and on. It’s almost a perfect match for chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) or fibromyalgia (FM) but it’s not either – it’s hypothyroidism, one of the trickiest conditions that people with either disease have to deal with.
If a hypothyroid diagnosis was done purely symptomatically, most if not all people with ME/CFS and FM would be considered hypothyroid.
Most perplexing for the patient is the considerable disagreement among doctors regarding what constitutes low thyroid and how to treat it. The problem is that giving thyroid hormone to someone who doesn’t need it is can cause their thyroid gland to shut down, leaving them dependent upon thyroid medication for life. Plus, other factors such as low cellular energy production or autonomic nervous system problems can cause similar symptoms.
MDs with an holistic health slant argue that flawed thyroid tests vastly underestimate the amount of hypothyroidism present, and by doing so, keep patients from potentially helpful drugs.
Low thyroid function or hypothyroidism is “horribly under-diagnosed.” One doctor believes that undiagnosed or poorly treated thyroid problems contribute to unnecessary disability in millions of people with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and chronic pain.
Most doctors, however, probably believe hypothyroidism is rare in ME/CFS and thyroid supplementation is unnecessary and possibly harmful.
Here is how several holistic health doctors view the treatment of hypothyroidism when combined with FM or CFS:
Here is a story linking elevated TSH to coronary heart disease and heart failure. They state that if your TSH is 10 mIU/L or greater you have an increased risk for coronary heart disease, but you are also classified as having sub-clinical hypothyroidism. I don’t know about anyone else, but if my TSH is 10 or over, I am not the only one in danger of dying. My mood swings when my TSH is that high are awful and I am mean and nasty.
You can read the full story here: