This is my ARE YOU chapter. There are so many symptoms out there that can be linked to various states of body imbalance that it is important that we are able to identify where the imbalance lies. The problem with a thyroid imbalance is that it can be an underlying cause for so many other conditions. These include fibromyalgia, in fertility, PCOS, endometriosis, depression, constipation, diabetes, high cholesterol, low iron and even vision problems. The Endocrine system is sending so many messengers to our body all the time that if even one of these messages is disrupted the fall out will be an imbalance within the body and this, over time can lead to the above-mentioned issues and many others.
Although modern medicine works in a reductionist manner, where all parts of the body are treated as separate from each other, in holistic medicine and true wellness everything is linked and the most important thing we can do for our health and wellbeing is to find the underlying cause of whatever is going on. Otherwise we may address one symptoms only to find ourselves dealing with another one down the track.
The aim of this chapter and this book is to put you, the reader, in touch with your body, to begin to listen to the messages it is sending you. All symptoms are signposts to where the problem lies, and your best hope of find this destination is to know your body and read the signs.
Now to the questionnaire. I have deliberately placed these questions in a random order as I don’t want you to think I already answered that and give the same answer. Under each question is some more information to give you an opportunity to really think about and give the best possible answer you can. I don’t have this questionnaire on a website a I want you to take the time and listen into your body when you read each question. Take the time to hear what your body is saying and get to know it better. You are the voice for your body and the best chance it has for achieving optimum health.
1 Are you experiencing weight gain YES NO
Over the recent past have you noticed weight creeping up and no matter what you do it feels like you only have to look at food to gain weight
2 Are you suffering from fatigue YES NO
This is not just tired from doing too much, but really struggling to get through the day, needing to have a hit from your secret new best friends with and sugar to help you through.
3 Are you anaemic YES NO
You can identify this by pulling down the lid of your eye and having a look. If it is pale then chances are your may be. Also notice your nails, are they light pink or normal pink. Press hard on your nails and see how quickly they return to been pink. Physical signs of Anaemia include foggy head, low mood, depression, feeling of heaviness in your limbs, the ‘dragging yourself around’ feeling. Heavier periods can also contribute to anaemia.
4 Are you waking in the morning and thinking it can’t be time to get up already.
Just not feeling refreshed and rested and ready to start the day. Not exactly jumping out of bed before the alarm goes off.
5 Are you sleeping in Saturdays and Sundays and still feeling like you could have slept more.
Again just not getting that feeling of been rested and refreshed and ready to take on the world.
6 Are you loosing more hair than usual, noticing it in the drain of your shower, your hairbrush, is your scalp itchy. YES NO
Losing some hair is normal but if you find that there is an increased amount in your hairbrush it could be a signpost form your body that all is not 100% with your thyroid.
7 Are you filling in your eyebrows more than usual, particularly the outer third
Take a long hard look at your eyebrows before you take to them with the dye and pencil. If you have had them tattooed try and see which ones are yours.
8 Are you experiencing thickened skin on the soles of your feet, when you look do that seem a bit yellow. YES NO
Direct thyroid hormone action on skin is mediated through the thyroid hormone receptor (TR). Any disruption to these receptors will be noticed by changes to the skin. All parts of our endocrine system which is impacted on by endocrine disruptors.
9 Are your elbows becoming rough and patchy and darker than the rest of your arm
Thyroid hormone is an important regulator of epidermal homeostasis. Elements of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid hormone axis are also involved in maintenance of human skin.
10 Are the soles of your feet and palms of your hands a bit yellow YES NO
As with other skin changes increased dermal carotene may appear as a prominent yellow hue on the palms, soles and nasolabial folds.
11 Are you noticing that your skin needs more moisturising as it seems drier than normal
The impact of thyroid hormones on the skin extends to all aspects of skin, when replying to this question consider your skin before your moisturise
12 Are you more grey than the rest of your friends YES NO
Human hair follicles are direct targets of thyroid hormones The T3, T4s impact on the development and growth cycle of the hair follicles including pigmentation
13 Are you having to spend more time buffing your nails to make them smooth, noticing that you have more vertical ridges on your nails, they are becoming thick, brittle
One of the earliest signs of hypothyroidism is brittle nails. The growth rate of your nails may slow down and the nails beds become pale. You may also notice ridges in your nails and the white, crescent at the base of the nails can become lighter or disappear.
14 Are you considering an eyelid lift for your outer drooping eyelids YES NO
You may not need to eye lift you think is inevitable, drooping of the upper lids has been attributed to decreased sympathetic stimulation of the superior palpebral muscle.
15 Are you more sensitive than usual to temperature changes, hot or cold
Do you find yourself asking is anyone hot/cold and getting blank stares as a response
16 Are you feeling the cold more and needing more clothes to stay warm
When you look around are you still in you warm jumper and considering another layer while others seem oblivious to how cold it is.
17 Are you forgetful, feeling foggy in the head, repeating yourself, absent minded
Arriving home with only half what you went to the shops for, doubting if you have locked the door, turned off the oven or hearing the response “you already told me that, and again for the fourth time I won’t forget to pick up the !!!!!!”
18 Are you having difficulty with maths YES NO
I wouldn’t worry too much about this question as everyone in my family would answer yes to this but it would have nothing to do with their thyroid, it is about how your brain is functioning. If you were never good at maths then you can’t blame your thyroid but if you were once sharp and able to add up things without using the calculator or counting on your fingers then the answer to this one is yes.
19 Are you experiencing mental confusion and needing more time to figure things out that normally were automatic for you YES NO
Is there a delayed response to things, where once you were quick witted and sharp as a tack, do you not find yourself walking yourself through the steps to figure it all out.
20 Are you feeling a loss of joy and engagement in your life YES NO
Has the everyday life become something that you just have to get through. Do you watch others and wonder where they get the energy for things and dread when you hear someone start a sentence with the words “Lets got to ….” Or “Lets do ………”.
21 Are you wondering if you are depressed YES NO
Do you feel you have so much to be grateful for but somehow you just can’t connect with it all.
22 Are you experiencing feelings of been overwhelmed and panic attacks
Your thyroid function is directly related to the function of your adrenal glands, remember our endocrine disruptors. The adrenal glands are hugely affected by stress, and adrenal symptoms can present in a similar manner to thyroid symptoms.
23 Are you running to the bathroom to pee more than usual YES NO
Here were looking at a narrowing of adaptive responses in your system. This usually occurs a few months after other presenting symptoms and is often dismissed as been due to pelvic floor weakness because of age or pregnancy (1)
24 Are you noticing you spend more time in the bathroom and when you do go for number 2 it can be strained and difficult. YES NO
Is the normal flow more blocked than before and instead of it been a daily visit to empty your bowels is this extending out further into the week.
25 Are your rings difficult to wear due to puffiness in your hands, is there any puffiness around you face or feet YES NO
Noticing that your rings seem a bit tighter, ankles not looking as slim as they once did, and the sharp cheek bones and jaw line fading somewhat.
26 Are you noticing any numbness or tingling in your hands and feet YES NO
Intermittent sense of having been in the one position for too long. On and off tingling.
27 Are your muscles and joints aching as if you had exercised really hard but you actually haven’t been to the gym for years a while YES NO
Taking a bit longer to get yourself moving easily and straightening up. Have you become more aware of your joints lately.
28 Are you feeling experiencing cramps & soreness in your muscles YES NO
Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) are conditions frequently associated with hypothyroidism. Studies suggest that up to 15% of people diagnosed with thyroid problems will end up with fibromyalgia
29 Are you having salt cravings YES NO
Cravings salt is an indicator that your adrenal glands needs a boost. The thyroid and adrenals are part of the endocrine system and work together, if the thyroid is not doing its job the adrenals will be under more stress leading to a possible depletion there. Salt cravings are an early sign of adrenal fatigue. Don’t rush for the chips or put more table salt on your food, the request here is for an increased mineral intake. A proper salt like Celtic sea salt Himalayan salt will deliver the correct mineral balance your body may need.
30 Are you having sugar cravings YES NO
Sugar cravings are common with thyroid issues. When the thyroid is not doing its job, the pancreas, another part of our endocrine system, is unable to regulate insulin leading to hypoglycaemia, this leaves the cells starved of glucose and sending out signals for sugar to bring some energy into a starved body. The body is also unable to burn any fat stores because of the dysregulated insulin. The message of insulin is store fat, making it hard for the cells to access the fuel storage.
31 Are you experiencing digestive complaints, bloating, burping, feeling of fullness for a long time, certain foods just not agreeing with you anymore YES NO
Reaching for the quickeze to relieve indigestion, feeling full for much longer than usual, loosening your belts to feel more comfortable, and just generally blah when you eat.
32 Are you eating lots of green food like broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, mustard & mustard greens, radishes, turnips YES NO
Good food that is good for you, one would think. Not if you have a problem with your thyroid. Rich in goitrogens, they inhibit thyroid activity. Less so when cooked.
33 Are you having ‘healthy’ raw juices with kale to get you going YES NO
Determined to be healthy and get back to normal, reaching for healthy raw juice full of nutrient dense greens is easier than ever now. But if your juice is full of vibrant green Kale and other goitrogenic foods then you are doing yourself more harm than good. These juices should come with a warning, do not consume if you suffer from hypothyroidism.
34 Are you eating soy products, these include tofu, tempeh, soy milk, soy beans
There are mixed views on the use of soy. Soy falls into the goitrogenic category of foods, and also contains isoflavones which have shown eoxicity in both estrogen sensitive tissue and thyroid. Isoflavones inhibit the precursor for T3 and T4. GMO soy is considered to be a bigger issue than natural and fermented soy products such as tofu, tempeh and miso. It is important to be aware of where there is soy in your food as it is a common additive to many foods. If you are concerned about your thyroid then stay away from it for a while and see what happens.
35 Are you eating gluten foods these include YES NO
Many thyroid problems will fall within the auto-immune spectrum. In a case of mistaken identity when gluten, the protein found in wheat and other grains, passes through the gut lining and into your blood stream, your immune system acting in defence of your body will then tag this foreign invader (gluten) with antibodies alerting the body to destroy it. The problem is that your immune system can mistake your thyroid for gluten, causing it to come under attackby your own bodies defence mechanism, setting up auto antibodies and an auto-immune disorder.
36 Are you consuming iodine rich foods YES NO
More than 50% of women and school age children have been found deficient in Iodine in Australia. Iodine. The body needs iodine to make thyroid hormones. The body needs to take Iodine in the diet as it cannot make it in the body. Foods rich in iodine include fish, seaweed, dairy products, eggs. Problems with vegetables and fruit grown in iodine deficient soils, so add seaweed as a fertiliser to your vegie patch out the back. Iodine levels can be checked via a urine test.
37 Are you drinking filtered water YES NO
Even the water you drink can affect your thyroid. Think about it, if you are continually using unfiltered water, in your cooking, tea and coffee making, drinking it straight then there is an accumulative amount of chemicals entering your body, including fluoride, chlorine, lead and other toxins. Everything we do on a constant basis impacts on the function of our body and in particular will impact on the delicate balance of our endocrine system. Just the basic Britta filter system makes a difference.
38 Are you drinking from plastic bottles that are not BPA friendly YES NO
The phthalates found in plastics and water bottles or BPAs have been found to cause problems within the human body and create disruption of our hormone system. A recent study published in the Environmental Health Perspectivesdiscovered that those tested who had higher levels of these substance, particularly phthalates in their urine were more likely to have abnormal thyroid hormones, thyroglobulin or thyroid stimulating hormone in their blood stream.
39 Are you drinking enough water YES NO
How much water is enough water, hydration is essential for the proper function of the human body, including our thyroid. Between 1.2 – 2 litres of filtered water will keep you hydrated. The body loses water via breathing, sweating and elimination. It is important to understand that all liquids are not equal, coffee is in fact dehydrating you. Water is the best, I also like to put a pinch of sea salt into the water to increase its mineral content and increase its uptake within the body.
40 Are your Vitamin D levels sufficient YES NO
The level for healthy Vit D is considered to be 25nmol/l blood, however ongoing studies are suggesting that this may not be enough. Insufficient levels of Vit D are linked to several auto immune disorders. Vit D is absorbed in our intestines and any disruption occurring there will impact on the levels the body is able to absorb. Vit D is crucial for thyroid health it influences Th3 cells f you have low thyroid function, you might be experiencing vitamin D deficiency even if your blood levels of vitamin D are normal.
41 Are you eating foods rich in selenium YES NO
Our soil is depleted in the several micro nutrients, among them selenium. Selinium is considered a very important co fact for the healthy functioning of the thyroid. Foods rich in Selenium include 6-8 brazil nuts a day will give you more than enough selenium, also found in yellow fin tuna, eggs, turkey, grass fed beef and spinach.
42 Are you eating foods rich in tyrosine YES NO
Tyrosine is an essential amino acid and is needed for the proper functioning of your adrenal, thyroid and pituitary glands. Foods rich in Tyrosine include spirulina, soy products, eggs, parmesan, cottage cheese, fish, lentils, chick peas, kidney beans, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, flaxseed.
43 Are your zinc levels good YES NO
Zinc is an essential element required to produce hundreds of enzymes that control functions as diverse as your eyesight, the health of your skin, hair, nails, connective tissue, hearing, sexual functions, digestion, immune response, protein synthesis and healthy thyroid function and more. Without sufficient zinc, good health is impossible. A simple way to test your zinc status is with a Zinc Tally test. This involves swishing a teaspoon of zinc tally in your mouth for 10-15 seconds. Gustin is the major zinc protein of the human parotid saliva and is important to our sense of taste. It contains zinc and the concentration of gustin changes in proportion to the concentration of zinc present in our body. If you zinc levels are low your response to the Zinc tally test will be delayed. As you swish the liquid zinc in your mouth pay attention to your response and count the seconds. In most cases, if you are going to taste some sort of “flavour”, it will happen within 5 – 10 seconds. So, any taste that develops after 10 – 15 seconds would be considered a deficiency.
- No flavour (water-like) = typical zinc deficiency
- No flavour to start with, but a “mineral” type flavour starts to appear = zinc deficiency
- Strong flavour, but not enough to make you want to spit it out = minimal zinc deficiency
- Extremely unpleasant flavour that you taste immediately = zinc status is good, no zinc deficiency
44 Are you experiencing stress YES NO
Don’t think that stress needs to be a major trauma or event. If your body is experiencing any of the above symptoms changes are it is under stress and will respond accordingly, increasing cortisol levels to cope and eventually becoming depleted. You will notice this by how long it takes you to get going in the morning and when you feel tired in the afternoon and need to reach for the pick me up and carry me over the line snack.
45 Are you on medication from your doctor or self-medicating to deal with symptoms.
This includes any supplements and natural supplements you may be using. As we now know drinking fabulous raw juices rich in Kale and Spinach that should be leaving us feeling like we can run a marathon may be doing a lot more harm than good. It is important that what you are taking is supporting your body. By the way the contraceptive pill is a medication and use of any spermicides and lubricants are also considered medication here as we are also looking at exposure to endocrine System Disruptors.
46 Are you experiencing pain or swelling in your neck, is it difficult to swallow
Know where your thyroid gland is and what it feels like, so you can check it on a regular basis.
47 Are you suffering from a goiter or chronic sore throat YES NO
48 Are you speaking in a sexier tone than before YES NO
Have you noticed that your voice has become a little bit deeper and you are not suffering from a cold
49 Are you exercising YES NO
Exercise offers a natural antidote to hypothyroid symptoms, such as weight gain, depression, loss of muscle and low energy levels. Exercise will increase your metabolism and your lean muscle mass, it also boosts mood energy levels and reduce sleeplessness and low energy levels.
50 Are you getting light headed on one drink YES NO
Thyroid is responsible for metabolism within the body, a reduced metabolism often leads to a reduced tolerance of alcohol. There are also other factors including the liver and the impact of alcohol on thyroid health and we will look at that in other chapters.
51 Are you drinking more than three nights a week YES NO
Huge impact here on liver function and thyroid wellness, will cover this in other chapters.
52 Are you wondering how you have high cholesterol levels YES NO
When thyroid hormone levels are low (hypothyroidism), your body doesn’t break down and remove LDL cholesterol as efficiently as usual. LDL cholesterol can then build up in your blood.
53 Are you aware of any family history of thyroid? YES NO
If this is an area the family hasn’t talked about look for relatives who were unable to have children, are overweight and always on a diet and just can’t shift the weight no matter what. Not active and always tired and tend to stay home, might seem a bit withdrawn depressed.
54 Are you sensitive to noise, experiencing tinnitus or vertigo every now and then
Because our thyroid is linked to so many functions within our body there are many seemingly unrelated and obscure symptoms that can be linked back to it. Holistic medicine pays attention to the body and not separate parts of one thing. Many seemingly unrelated symptoms resolve when the underlying cause is addressed.
55 Are your eyes dry, achy, blurry, sensitive to light YES NO
Early symptoms of thyroid eye disease are itching, watering or dry eyes and a feeling of grittiness of the eyes. Some people may notice a swelling around the eyelids and sometimes the front of the eye becomes swollen.
56 Are you avoiding driving at night due to diminished vision and poor night vision
57 Are you irritable, teary, experiencing mood swings YES NO
The impact of our thyroid on our hormones is huge and we will consider this in greater depth throughout this book. For now if you are having any PMT symptoms, noticing that they are becoming a bit worse or you just feel overwhelmed tick yes.
58 Are you noticing a change in your health since you were pregnant YES NO
Pregnancy causes major changes in the levels of hormones made by the thyroid gland. This can lead to an exacerbation of thyroid issues during pregnancy. Because the symptoms mimic pregnancy, tiredness and weight they can go unchecked. About 7% of women can suffer from postpartum thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid) in the first 12 months after giving birth. The symptoms again will be similar to the general symptoms of having a new baby.
59 Are you having heavier or lighter periods, or have they gone away altogether
Changes in the menstrual cycle are a symptom of a disrupted endocrine system and if you are not on the OCP (oral contraceptive pill) should be investigated immediately.
60 Are you having difficulty getting pregnant or have your experienced a miscarriage
This is our endocrine system again, if you are noticing that you think you are pregnant and then have a ‘late’ period changes are your levels of progesterone are insufficient. Thyroid plays a huge role in fertility and in the health of the foetus as pregnancy progresses.
61 Are you not that interested in sex anymore, can you take it or leave it but would actually prefer to leave it YES NO
More endocrine disruption leading to bedroom disruption.
62 Are you menopausal YES NO
The shift in our hormonal balance impacts on our endocrine system and can also be a time when the additional stress placed on the body triggers an auto immune response. Many menopausal ‘symptoms’ can be the exact same as hypothyroid symptoms.
63 Have you had a ‘normal’ TSH blood test result YES NO
I’ve saved the biggest question until last. This is the one that you really need to pay attention. The number of time I have clients tell me that their doctor said everything was normal or it was just slightly out of range but it was ok astounds me. Despite the symptoms they are experiencing the magic phrase “the tests came back normal” means the symptoms will go away. Unfortunately that is not what happens, many carry on still exhausted and suffering from hypothyroid symptoms, thinking it is all in their head or if they just take a supplement it will pick them up. Please do not do this to yourself. If you are tired and don’t know why then there is a problem. Listen to your body as it gives you small signs, act on the small signs and hopefully you will never need to deal with any big signs. The range for the thyroid blood tests are wrong, and woefully inadequate to maintain optimal thyroid function within the body. There are a steady stream of articles and many doctors who are now looking more closely at the tests and how they marry up with the symptoms of their patients. Below I have listed where your tests should sit in a healthy thyroid gland. I have also listed the tests that NEED TO BE DONE TO ACCURATELY ASSESS YOUR FULL THYROID HEALTH in this book and you can compare your figures to the figures that are those of a healthy functioning thyroid.
Congratulations you have finished the questionnaire, now what. This is not an exercise in do I have it don’t I have it, it is an exercise in knowing your body and more specifically your thyroid. If you have answered yes to any of these questions then get your thyroid tested. If you think there were an lot of questions for such a small organ in the body I have listed below other possible symptoms that are also associated with hypothyroid.
The unbelievably long list of hypothyroid symptoms.
- Fatigue or Excessive Tiredness
- Weight Gain or Inability to Lose Weight
- Excessive Weight Loss
- Cold Extremities
- Swollen Neck or Goiter
- Loss of Stamina
- Afternoon Energy Crash
- Low Morning Temperature
- Difficulty Breathing
- Dry and/or Gritty Eyes
- Slow Recovery
- Inability to Exercise
- Trembling, Jittery, or Shivering Feeling
- Hoarse Voice
- Cold Sweats
- Lack of Coordination
- Heavy Eyelids
- Poor Sleep Quality
- Waking Up Feeling Unrested
- Difficulty Getting Out of Bed in the Morning
- Frequent Nightmares
- Sleep Apnea
- Excessive Snoring
- Night Sweats
- Inability to Concentrate
- Slowed Reflexes and Reaction Time
- Sensitivity to Light and/or Sun
- Sensitivity to Hot and Cold
- Sensitivity to Strong Odors
- Sensitivity to Loud Noises
- Blurred Vision
HAIR, SKIN, AND NAIL RELATED
- Puffiness or Swelling of Eyes, Face, Hands, Feet, and/or Ankles
- Hair Loss
- Brittle Hair
- Loss of Eyelashes
- Loss of Eyebrow Hair (outer portion)
- Brittle, Flaky, or Peeling Nails
- Dry, Flaky, or Course Skin
- Pale and/or Yellowish Skin Pigment
- Dark Circles Under Eyes
- Orange Calluses
- Bruise Easily
- Rashes and Various Skin Conditions
- Loss of Appetite
- Food Allergies and Sensitivities
- Difficulty Swallowing
- Swollen Tongue or Ridges on Tongue
- Dry Mouth
- Alcohol Intolerance
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Abdominal Distention
- Excessive Gas
- Bad Breath
- Liver/Gallbladder Issues
- Salt Cravings
- Sweet Cravings
- High Cholesterol
- High Blood Pressure
- Low Blood Pressure
- Slow/Weak Pulse (under 60 bpm)
- Fast Pulse (over 90 bpm at rest)
- Heart Palpitations
- Heart Disease
- Bleeding/Clotting Issues
- Recurring Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
- Recurring Upper Respiratory Infections
- Fungal and Candida Infections
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Autoimmune Disease
- Panic attacks
- Poor Memory
- Mental Sluggishness
- Slowed Speech
- Difficulty Learning New Things
- Poor Concentration
- Loss of Motivation
- Light Headedness
- Vertigo or Dizziness
- Postpartum Depression
- Epilepsy or Seizures
- Nervousness and Anxiety
- Easily Upset
- Antisocial Behavior
- Mood Swings
- Lack of Confidence
- Bipolar Tendencies
- Pressure Headaches
- Muscle Cramps
- Muscle Spasms
- Back Pain
- Wrist Pain
- Foot Pain
- Joint Pain or Stiffness
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
WOMEN’S HEALTH RELATED
- Irregular, Longer, Lighter, or Heavier Menstrual Cycles
- Severe Menstrual Cramps
- History of Miscarriage
- Loss of Libido
MEN’S HEALTH RELATED
- Loss of Libido
- Erectile Dysfunction
|BASAL BODY TEMPERATURE
Clock with second hand/stopwatch
Iodine patch test
Paint a twenty cent size of coloured iodine onto clean dry skin. This can be on the inside of your forearm. You are watching how quickly the body will absorb the iodine. The faster the uptake the more deficient your body is. Take a photo every hour on your smart phone and observe the changes in colour over the time. Over a period of 24 hours if the colour has completely disappeared you have a low level of iodine in your body. You can also get a urine iodine test, this is just a simple test you can do at home for a benchmark of iodine in your body.
The body’s deficiency is proportionate – the faster the iodine is absorbed by your body, the more deficient you are.