“Doc, I’m frustrated. I am tired all the time, I can’t lose this weight, I’m cold, my skin is dry…I have all the symptoms that support what I read about hypothyroidism, yet they [their doctors] keep telling me my thyroid is fine. How could that be?” I hear this and similar questions quite frequently.
So how can that be? I call it the “grey area” – It’s not black (diseased), nor white (perfectly healthy). There is a big gap between perfectly healthy and diseased. You’re not white one day and black the next. It’s no different from having a perfect blood sugar handling mechanism one day and waking up the next day diabetic. Or having perfect heart function one day and a heart attack the next. You simply became aware of the problem one day. You can be in the grey area for many, many years before you have lab-determined hypothyroidism.
Conventional medical doctors are trained to help in a state of crisis. If you come to them before your organ has reduced to a state of crisis, and because their tests don’t show a crash yet, they will tell you everything is fine. You know everything is not fine because you don’t feel well, but you are told otherwise. All too many of them also tell you that you are depressed and recommend depression medications. In fact, much of so-called depression is actually fatigue without lab-supported proof.
The thyroid, like many systems in the body, will adapt and adapt and adapt to the weakening function before you show up hypothyroid in a lab test. One source states that the thyroid is so adept at acclimating to deteriorating function that it has to lose as much as 85% of its function before the lab test shows it. Thank God for adaptation! Whether that is accurate or not, the fact remains that there is a lot of room in there for grey-area functioning. Most people suffering with fatigue today have sub-optimal thyroid function.
There are many things that we do that lessen the thyroid’s ability to function normally, and many things we can be doing to support it. When iodized salt was introduced, we thought all problems of hypothyroidism would be resolved. However, we have traded goiter (iodine deficiency) with auto-immune hypothyroidism. Which came first: a poorly functioning thyroid or an immune system gone haywire? Generally we don’t know, however, we have been given tools to support the thyroid, the immune system, and the other organs and glands that comprise the complex system called the endocrine system – of which the thyroid is a member of. Together, they must all be handled to turn around a lab-determined hypothyroid or a “grey area” hypothyroid.
© 2009 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.