October is turning out to be a busy month! It started off with the nasal release technique course I went to earlier this month, a thyroid seminar I went to over the weekend, and coming up next weekend I’ll present my labor and delivery story for the Illinois Homeopathic Medical Association meeting. The weekend after that we’re celebrating my grandma’s 90th birthday!
The thyroid seminar I attended enhanced my NUHS education and knowledge on assessing thyroid function. One thing that was stressed was the connections the thyroid has with other body systems – brain, gut, and immune system (to name a few). Therefore, a comprehensive, holistic approach needs to be taken to improve all areas affected.
Conventional medicine usually looks at three thyroid markers – thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), triiodothyronine (T3), and thyroxine (T4) – and treats the findings with pharmaceuticals. For example, for hypothyroidism, synthetic thyroid hormones are given to improve lab values. On paper, this looks great, but more often than not, hypothyroid symptoms don’t drastically improve because the underlying cause was never addressed.
To get to the underlying cause, several more thyroid lab markers can be run to look at thyroid function, including auto-antibodies that would indicate an autoimmune thyroid disease, which is VERY common. Also, piecing together other aspects that can affect thyroid health like diet, stress, and blood sugar is necessary.
With naturopathic medicine, we always strive to see the body as a whole, and the information I learned at the seminar supported this philosophy.
The next step for me is to keep reviewing the information so that when patients with thyroid symptoms present to the clinic, I feel confident that I’m able to make clinical assessments and decisions to help get them on the path towards health.