Could it be your Thyroid?

thyroid

An estimated 27 million Americans suffer from thyroid disorders; roughly half go undiagnosed. Women are mainly affected. About half of those diagnosed have Hashimoto’s, an auto-immune condition.

Basic Thyroid Information

The thyroid, from the Greek word thyreos meaning “shield” is a small gland in front part of the neck just above the voice box.

Just because it’s tiny and weighs less than an ounce, does not mean it can’t pack a punch. This little gland is a force to be reckoned with as it can influence your other organs (and vice versa) and your overall health. The thyroid releases hormones that regulate metabolism help control the function of many of your body’s organs, including your heart, brain, liver, kidneys, reproductive system and skin.

What might amaze you is the variety of connections this little networking gland has with seemingly every part of the body. Do you have digestive issues, hair falling out, fatigue, constipation, or struggle to lose weight? Guess what, your thyroid might be the culprit.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism’s symptoms are often subtle and non-specific (mimicing symptoms associated with other conditions). Sometimes they are attributed to the aging process.

Those with milder forms of hypothyroidism may not have any signs or symptom, but they generally become more obvious as the condition deteriorates.  A slower metabolism, or inability to lose weight, is often a first complaint. Here are more:

Fatigue
Depression
Weight gain
Intolerance to Cold
Excessive sleepiness
Constipation

Dry, coarse or brittle hair
Muscle cramps
Increased cholesterol levels
Decreased mental focus and concentration
Joint or muscle aches/pain
Swelling of the legs

Morning headaches
Poor circulation
Cold hands and feet
Increased susceptibility to colds and illness
Slow wound healing
Facial swelling (edema)

Hair falls out easily
Chronic digestive issues
Excessive sleep required to function properly
Loss of outer 1/3 of eyebrows
Dry skin
Weakness

A Typical Presentation

Here’s a fairly typical example of what can happen with a client who has thyroid issues: (typically female) she will present during our initial consultation with quite a few symptoms of hypothyroidism but says “my doctor says my TSH is in the normal range.” That’s where we have take a pause and educate about how one problem with only testing TSH is that it is not telling the whole story of thyroid health. The second problem is that the lab range (often based off of sick people) for what is considered ‘normal’ is quite large; the functional range is much smaller. You may benefit from further testing, especially to rule out Hashimoto’s.

One Client’s Case

A 32-year-old female who was recently diagnosed with celiac disease has had gastro-intestinal issues for years. When ‘gluten-ed’, she suffers immobilizing joint pain making it nearly impossible to get out of bed. She works part-time and ‘muscles-through’ when feeling ill.

Her sleep is erratic, she hasn’t had a menstrual cycle in years, and she has debilitating fatigue at some times and tons of energy other times.

Guess what she was diagnosed with?

Based on her health history and symptoms, we suspected Hashimoto’s. Her doctor ran some lab tests and that’s what they found.

The client’s doctor has her on medication and she, with our work together, she is currently diligently avoiding aggravating foods as well as using addressing dietary deficiencies and lifestyle changes to ameliorate her immune system dysfunction.

Get educated on your thyroid and join about a dozen other smarties coming to tonight’s class.

Already have plans? Consider getting in touch with an Integrative & Functional Dietitian who examine your symptoms and, if necessary, suggest further testing. We will also help support you in dietary and lifestyle changes to support not only your thyroid but your overall health.

Jeni’s Ice Cream & Learn Listeria Symptoms

jenis

photo source: gobexley.com

A little over a week ago, a nationwide recall of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream started after a random sampling by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture tested positive for the presence of Listeria monocytogenes. As part of the recall, Jeni’s company is tossing 265 tons of ice cream and plans to not reopen any scoop shops or kitchens until the contamination issue has been resolved. Recent news reports that hundreds of swab samples were taken of Jeni’s production kitchen – including swabs of processing equipment, kitchen utensils, floor mats and drain pipes. Early indications from these tests have indicated the presence of Listeria monocytogenes and now a full eradication plan is in place with extensive cleaning of the production facility having started on April 26th. Jeni’s company plans to re-swab the facility in the near future and has hired expert help to implement new post-production testing procedures and to ensure this problem doesn’t occur again. Thankfully, as of yet,  there haven’t been any reports of customer illness.

If you are guilty of having enjoyed a delightful trio or pint from Jeni’s within the past month, here’s some useful information you should know about Listeria and symptoms of infection.

Where it is Found:
Listeria is commonly found in sewage, soil, birds and animals. The bacteria can be found in certain types of food such as raw meat, raw vegetables, and some processed foods. It has also been found in products such as soft cheeses, milk, coleslaw, paté and hot dogs.

Examples of High-risk Foods:

  • Unpasteurized milk or foods made with such milk
  • Soft Cheeses (i.e. brie, ricotta, feta, and camembert)
  • Pre-prepared salads (i.e. cole slaw and fruit salad)
  • Soft-serve ice cream
  • Deli meat
  • Raw seafood and ready-to-eat seafood such as smoked fish

Signs and Symptoms: Symptoms of Listeria can take anywhere from 3 to 70 days to appear after eating the contaminated food. Specific symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness

Untreated, these symptoms can develop into more severe conditions such as meningitis (brain infection) and septicemia (blood poisoning).

Treatment:
Listeria is usually treated with antibiotics. Patient stool is monitored because infected individuals can potentially excrete the bacteria for several months.

To prevent Listeria in your own home, be sure to handle all ‘at-risk foods’ with caution. Be sure to practice safe food-handling methods, and safe food-preparation methods.