STICKING OUT OUR NECKS -- November/December 2006
Thyroid News for People Who Want to Live Well -- "We're Patients...Not Lab Values!"
from Patient Advocate Mary J. Shomon
Author of "Thyroid Hormone Breakthrough: Overcoming Sexual and Hormonal Problems at Every Age," "Living Well With Hypothyroidism," "The Thyroid Diet: Manage Your Metabolism for Lasting Weight Loss," "Living Well With Autoimmune Disease," "Living Well with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia," and "Living Well With Graves' Disease & Hyperthyroidism"
WHY IS THERE STILL CONTROVERSY ABOUT THE TSH NORMAL RANGE, AND WHAT CAN YOU DO?
For almost four years now, I've been reporting on the TSH test controversy. The story is that the endocrinologists and clinical laboratory experts have said for years that the TSH "normal range" of .5 to 5.0 is simply too wide -- it allows people with thyroid disease to be diagnosed as "normal." They recommended narrowing the range to .3 to 3.0. But at the same time, the majority of doctors and labs are still using the old range. Since many doctors say that the TSH test is the so-called "gold standard" thyroid test, why is there disagree about something as fundamental as what's "normal?" To try to get to the bottom of the issue, I spoke with a leading endocrinologist, Dr. Jeffrey Garber, who was speaking on behalf of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. My objective: to find out why there is still a controversy, and why everyone hasn't just adopted the new range. The answer: it's not as simple as we think. Don't miss this exclusive look at the controversy, straight from the eye of the storm!
10 SECRETS FOR HOLIDAY DIET SUCCESS: HOW THYROID PATIENTS CAN SURVIVE THROUGH THE NEW YEAR WITHOUT GAINING WEIGHT
Weight is a constant battle for many of us, myself included. Here are 10 tips -- things that I'm going to do -- EVERY SINGLE DAY between now and New Year's -- to help keep myself healthy, and start the New Year, if not a little lighter, than at least not any heavier. I've also included a free Ebook that you can download and print out, featuring handy worksheets for every day between now and New Year's Day.
AND, as a special holiday gift to you, I'm making a Ebook Holiday Thyroid Diet Guide available. You can download it -- FREE -- and use this handy guide to help stay on track this season.
WINTERIZE YOUR THYROID: 10 TIPS FOR SURVIVING THE WINTER COLD
BRRRRR... I think the high today here in Washington was about 39 degrees. Even my bones are cold!! So it's that time of year when more and more of us are up to our necks in cold weather...even snow! Surviving the cold weather season means it's time to pay attention to some very specific tips for thyroid patients that can help you "winterize" your thyroid, and enjoy better health during these colder months.
SPECIFIC TYPES OF EXERCISE REDUCE FATIGUE IN AUTOIMMUNE CONDITIONS
Fatigue is one of the most common complaints of autoimmune patients, including people with thyroid disease. Exercise often seems like the last thing we feel like doing, but now researchers are saying that specific types of exercise can reduce fatigue in autoimmune patients. Find out more in the special report featured in Sticking Out Our Necks Print Newsletter -- November/December 2006 issue.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR THYROID DRUG HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED?
Recently, I heard from a thyroid patient who was worried because her pharmacist was saying that her prescribed thyroid medication was no longer available -- even going so far as to say "It's off the market!" (I bet you can guess which thyroid medication she was talking about..) If you guessed Armour, you'd be correct. And try this: True or false...Armour is going off the market? If you're taking Armour Thyroid, it's likely that you've been wrongly told it's discontinued, off the market, or otherwise not available at various points along the way. When yet another pharmacist or doctor tells you this, what can and should you do?
CAN YOUR HYPOTHYROIDISM BE TREATED NATURALLY?
I am often asked if there is a "natural" way to treat hypothyroidism. And the answer really depends on what is meant by "natural." Are you talking about natural prescription drugs, or seeing an herbalist, or going it on your own with supplements and herbs?
SUBCLINICAL HYPOTHYROIDISM AND INSULIN RESISTANCE, PRE-DIABETES AND METABOLIC SYNDROME Researchers now have evidence that even subclinical hypothyroidism is associated with increased incidence of insulin resistance. This means that your risk of pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome are increased. What does this all mean? How can you tell if you have insulin resistance or pre-diabetes? What tests should you ask for? If you are insulin resistant, can it be reversed or treated? A special 5-page in-depth report is featured in the November/December 2006 issue of Sticking Out Our Necks: Print Edition.
EVALUATING YOUR THYROID/ADRENAL/REPRODUCTIVE HORMONES: THE CONSUMER MOVEMENT FOR THYROID TESTS
Drs. Richard and Karilee Shames, authors of Fat, Fuzzy and Frazzled?, are nationally known advocates for thyroid patients, and doing great work to raise the standards of thyroid care for patients. The Shames are particularly concerned about the "tyranny of thyroid lab tests" -- the medical establishment's overreliance on the TSH test. To help counteract that imbalance, the Shames have some advice on how patients can order their own thyroid and endocrine testing.
PREGNANCY NEWS UPDATES HOUSEHOLD ITEMS MAY POSE DANGER DURING PREGNANCY
What do popcorn bags, frying pans and mattresses have in common? And why are they of particular concern to pregnant women? What we know is that chemicals in household items such as non-stick cookware and flame-retardant furnishings may actually affect maternal thyroid function, and lead to impaired fetal brain development.
SHOULD ALL PREGNANT WOMEN HAVE THYROID TESTING IN EARLY PREGNANCY?
Even low-level or subclinical hypothyroidism during pregnancy can cause problems for the baby, both before and after birth. Recent guidelines, however, do not advocate universal thyroid function testing during pregnancy -- only testing of "high-risk pregnant women." If only high-risk women are tested, are pregnant women with thyroid conditions being missed?
These pregnancy-related stories are featured in the November/December 2006 issue of Sticking Out Our Necks: Print Edition.
RHEUMATIC DISEASES IN PATIENTS WITH AUTOIMMUNE THYROID DISEASE
Have you suspected that rheumatic diseases -- everything from arthritis to fibromyalgia, to dry eyes -- might be more common in thyroid patients? If so, you're right, and researchers have now shown a definite connection. Find out more in this special 2-page report in the November/December 2006 issue of Sticking Out Our Necks: Print Edition, which discusses the autoimmune thyroid linkage to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, scleroderma, and other rheumatic diseases.
GREAT GIFT IDEAS FOR FRIENDS, FAMILY...AND YOURSELF!
When you, your friends or family need help with thyroid disease and related health issues, one of my books may be a good starting point for the journey back toward living well. Most of my books are available at your favorite local bookstores. Or, if you'd like to order with just a point and click, you can get all of my books online -- some of them are even available at fantastic discounts!
Thyroid Hormone Breakthrough: Overcoming Sexual and Hormonal Problems at Every Age -- specialized help for women who suffer from (but may not even realize it ) thyroid-related menstrual problems, low sex drive, infertility, pregnancy problems, postpartum depression, breastfeeding problems, and perimenopause/menopause symptoms. Order from Amazon
The Thyroid Diet: Manage Your Metabolism for Lasting Weight Loss -- the only book focused on helping thyroid patients determine the unique combination of diet, supplements and other factors that will help them finally start losing weight. Order from Iherb for $8 Order from Amazon for $10.17
Living Well With Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You...That You Need to Know -- Comprehensive guide to getting an underactive thyroid condition diagnosed,
properly treated, and dealing with related or persistent symptoms, including alternative
and holistic approaches. Order from Iherb for $8 Order from Amazon
Living Well With Graves' Disease and Hyperthyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell
You...That You Need to Know -- A detailed guide to help get Graves' disease and an overactive thyroid diagnosis, determine the best treatments (and radioactive iodine is NOT the only treatment!), and deal with the after-effects of treatment. Includes holistic, alternative and integrative approaches. Order from Amazon
Living Well With Autoimmune Disease: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You...That You Need to Know -- Did you know that having one autoimmune disease -- like Hashimoto's or Graves' -- puts you and family members at risk of others? Are you struggling with autoimmune symptoms like dry eyes, joint pain, and fatigue, but having trouble getting a diagnosis? Living Well With Autoimmune Disease is a comprehensive approach to getting an autoimmune diagnosis (without help or knowledge, the typical patient sees 5 doctors over 5 years before getting diagnosed!), and then working with your practitioner for effective treatment. Order from Iherb for $8 Order from Amazon
Living Well With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You...That You Need to Know -- Life-altering fatigue, chronic fever, debilitating joint and muscle aches, and exhausting sleep disturbances -- all can be signs of chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. These difficult-to-diagnose, often-overlooked conditions are more common in thyroid patients as well. This guide helps you fast-forward through the volumes of approaches -- conventional and alternative -- to get to a multidisciplinary treatment that can help. Order from Iherb for $8 Order from Amazon
NOTES FROM MARY
Ok, let's all admit it. Many of us enjoy ourselves during the holidays -- sometimes a bit too much. I happen to LOVE stuffing, and a piece of pumpkin pie has been known to cross my lips! And then there are those holiday cookies that EVERYONE seems to be offering, or giving as gifts. Argh! So January 1 comes around, if you're like me, we're ready to launch into a healthier diet and exercise program. But are you ready to tackle it, thyroid-style? It's true that for many thyroid patients, trying to lose weight can be a more frustrating and difficult process than for everyone else.
You at least owe it to yourself to even the odds. And my book, "The Thyroid Diet: Manage Your Metabolism for Lasting Weight Loss" can help. The New York Times bestselling book has all sorts of information, ideas, supplements, approaches and recipes that can help you get your metabolism headed in the right direction. (And at Iherb's amazing online price of only $8 -- the book retails for anywhere from $10 to $14 at other online retailers and local neighborhood bookstores -- it's the best weight loss bargain around!) Order it from Iherb now for $8 plus shipping or if you're an Amazon fan, you can pick it up there for just a little over $10 plus shipping.
Wondering whether Thyroid Diet will help? Here's a wonderful letter I just received out of the blue from Lisa G. This letter made my day -- no, actually, it made my WEEK!!
When at a bookstore one night and desperately seeking help for my ever growing weight, I accidentally came upon your book, the Thyroid Diet. It has been a godsend ever since and I have recommended it to all my friends. Like so many of your readers, I have been very frustrated with my doctors and their inability to offer real help, as well as their huge lack of awareness of this disease. My endocrinologist was so bad, I simply stopped going to him and begged my primarily physician, sobbing one day at his office, to take over my thyroid care. While he at least listens and offers suggestions and is quick to schedule new tests, the bottom line remained. I felt horrible most of every day and could not stop gaining weight. I ate what I would consider very healthy. I don't eat
meat, I eat primarily poultry and fish with lots of vegetables and fruits. I don't eat processed foods, cook most of my own meals and watch sweets and calories.
I have been working with a personal trainer for 3 years now and despite hard workouts, varied routines and many different nutritional diets she provided, while I was getting stronger and more fit, I was not losing an ounce. I was diagnosed with Graves disease 9 years ago and have been feeling bad about the last 7 of those 9 years. I tried Weight watchers, Atkins, South Beach and other diets with little to no success. As I began reading your book, I felt like yelling out, "Yes, this is me, finally someone knows about this and knows how to help!" I dog-eared many pages, copied others and read
the book through at least twice.
I immediately added some vitamins and minerals to my diet and I swear within 24 hours, felt so much better. Then I began following the low glycemic diet suggestions and the weight started coming off. I began this diet in June and in 5 months have lost the 20+ lbs I had gained, going from 155 to 132. I feel terrific, the awful constipation is gone and my stomach 'growls' to indicate I am hungry for the first time in many many years. (A sort of silly thing I know, but to me it's huge!) I realize other readers had larger weight swings, but for my 5'4" frame, this was huge to me.
All of my friends have noticed my weight loss and want to try the same diet suggestions, even though they do not have thyroid disease. I have one friend with Graves disease and she was also amazed with your book and the information our doctors had not told us, probably because they did not know. (And she still sees her endocrinologist.) My workouts are easier and I am making more progress faster with my trainer. She is a huge support and has always told me that food has a huge impact on weight loss, more than exercise. I've dropped nearly 3 sizes and can once again fit into my 'skinny clothes' that I kept in the far reaches of my closet, hoping and praying that one day I
could fit into them again.
I am at a comfortable weight now (pre-Graves) and don't feel I need to lose more, but of course I would be happy with a few more shed pounds! I want to be realistic about my weight and do not need to be model thin or even as thin as I was in college. I just want to eat right, feel good and not gain anymore weight. I absolutely plan to follow this diet and your suggestions for the rest of my life. . I consider this a lifelong plan to manage my weight and health.
Thank you so much!!!!!
-- Lisa G.
Thank YOU, Lisa, for your wonderful news. I'm thrilled to hear how happy and healthy you sound, and I'm glad that the Thyroid Diet worked for you!!! Keep up the wonderful work!
"Sticking Out Our Necks" email edition is published regularly by Mary Shomon. Please invite your friends to subscribe! Send them a copy with your recommendation. "Sticking Out Our Necks" is copyright 1997-2006 by Mary Shomon. All rights reserved.
P.O. Box 565
Kensington, MD 20895-0565
All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician or health practitioner before starting or changing any aspect of your medical treatment, diet or fitness regimen. Please see our full disclaimer.