The Center for Natural and Integrative medicine is happy to share information recently published on the Huffington Post. They carried the story of our own Dr. Romila “Dr. Romie” Mushtaq, MD .Granted she is a very busy person, since she is “a Neurologist with expertise in mind-body medicine, professional speaker, certified life coach,” but even after a good night’s sleep, she was experiencing excessive and debilitating fatigue. In the article spoke out about the many issues that cloak traditional medical testing of the thyroid gland.
The Center For Natural and Integrative Medicine Reveals: Dark Secrets of Thyroid Testing and Treatment!
Over the years, lab tests done through Dr. Romie’s primary care physician revealed that her “thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels always came back in the upper limit of normal range (around 10 mIU/L) so therefore no other tests were done.” . She said, “This is the problem. Often, to screen potential thyroid issues, physicians only check this one hormone level, which is created in the brain.” In addition to her symptom of unacceptable exhaustion, she was also experiencing dramatic hair loss
Simple Fact: These Symptoms Sometimes Require More Tests:
She explained, “The serum TSH has a wide range of normal (from 4-10 IU/L), and your own TSH level’s range of normal may be less than a calculated average for the entire population. Knowing this, she deduced, “Checking a serum TSH level is a screening test only, and not truly designed to diagnose a thyroid problem or monitor therapy.” She also pointed out that the 2012 American Association of Clinical Endocrinology Guidelines recommend that if a patient is symptomatic, the additional two main thyroid hormones should also be checked: thyroxine (T4) and tridoothyronine (T3) or FT4 and FT3 levels.
Keep in mind that subclinical hypothyroidism can look “normal” to many doctors. However, there is statistical proof that approximately one in 10 people with subclinical hypothyroidism “may test positive for antithyroid antibodies.”
“Elevated antibody levels occur in autoimmune, which may lead to a gradual loss of your thyroid gland function.” Without more testing, you will never know.
Because subclinical hypothyroidism and its treatment is disagreed upon and much disputed by some doctors, Dr. Romie Mushtaq needed some one who would look at her as a whole person, not a single lab test. She turned to an integrative medicine specialist at the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine here in Orlando, Florida, Dr. Moraczewski.
Thomas Moraczewski, M.D., AFCOG is a board-certified gynecologist with additional fellowship training in hormone management from the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine.
His findings bore out Dr. Romie’s suspicions; she has been enduring the symptoms of undiagnosed Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Integrative Medicine and Thyroid Testing and Treatment:
Dr. Moraczewski stated, “As an integrative medicine practitioner we look for root causes of hypothyroid disease. It’s not enough to merely point out a low-level to begin replacement hormone. We assess a patient’s symptoms and rule out other hormones that can affect thyroid hormone production.”
With an integrated medicine approach, nutrition is also considered. “Though not as common in the Western world, we still see mild to severe iodine levels as measured in a simple urine test. Other important nutritional factors include zinc, vitamin D, Vitamin A, and selenium,” says Moraczewski.
What Other Experts Say:
Wendy Warner, M.D., FACOG, ABIHM is a board-certified physician in gynecology and integrative holistic medicine. According to the Huffington Post article, she explained the delicate art of the integrative medicine specialist this way. “In treating patients, we don’t just stop at giving them thyroid hormone replacement and some nutrients to support the thyroid. If the issue is autoimmune in nature (which it usually is), we also work to modulate the immune function in order to avoid further inflammatory damage to the thyroid gland,” says Warner.
She added, “Integrative medicine physicians also focus on the patient as a whole, not just the one disease process they are diagnosed with.” Dr. Warner explains, “Ultimately, working with a holistic practitioner is about seeing the patient for who they are as an individual.”
Dr. Warner’s philosophy reflects much of the feeling in our mission at the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine. We agree with her statement that, “We put each treatment plan into the context of a person’s life, a person’s goals, and the person’s spirit.”
One of the take-aways from Dr. Romie’s sharing of her long misdiagnosed case of subclinical hypothyroidism is also well phrased by Dr. Warner.
Dr. Warner stated, “Integrative medicine physicians keep in mind that it is the connection with our patient that will also help with the healing. We also teach our patients that their own mind-body connection will stimulate the innate healing response of which we are all capable.”
A second take-away from Dr. Romie’s experience is that, if subclinical hypothyroidism is suspected, you and your physician might want to involve a physician who specializes in hormones on your team. When it comes to balancing hormones, you might need one of the specialists below:
1. A fellowship-trained endocrinologist,
2. An integrative medicine physician,
3. or a physician who has completed fellowship in age-management medicine.
Once your thyroid imbalance is corrected, your symptoms will abate. At the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine, we educate our patients to stop telling themselves they should feel normal, just because one test puts them in a normal range. At the Center for Natural and Integrative Medicine, you might have heard us say this before: “Next To Love, Balance is the most important thing.”