The people closest to me have seen my struggle with thyroid and adrenal problems, and know just how hard it has been for me. They’ve seen me at my lowest, mentally and physically, and they’ve endured many conversations about the struggles I have been having. Yet, they seem to be the people who think they’re most immune (pardon the pun) from having these problems themselves.
I have quite a few close friends who complain to me about feeling tired all the time, feeling achey and depressed. Yet when I throw it out there that they could be suffering from an underactive or overactive thyroid, adrenal fatigue, or even vitamin deficiencies, they bat it off like I’m just using this as another opportunity to preach about my own health conditions.
No, I am wanting to help you. Don’t you see that I am trying to stop other people from going through what I went though? Stop others from feeling what I did? Experiencing what I unfortunately had to? That’s why I’m bringing it up.
It is estimated that 200 million people in the world have some form of thyroid disease, including 1 in 20 people in the UK. As many as 60% are undiagnosed, and of those diagnosed, most are not adequately treated.
So don’t assume you’re not one of them. World respected Dr Barry Durrant-Peatfield expects it’s closer to 1 in 3 people having thyroid problems. I believe this to be true, when I look at the people around me, and they have similar symptoms to what I have experienced.
If you read my blog, it’ll be no surprise to you that I am less than thrilled with the NHS’ attempt (if you can even call it that) at treating my hypothyroidism adequately, and I won’t stop trying to prevent that from happening to other people.
No one should be made to feel like it’s all in their head, like their views and opinions do not matter, and like they do not know their own body better than anyone else. This is a fundamental problem in the care, diagnosis and treatment of thyroid and adrenal problems.
And when you tell me that you’ve already been checked by the doctor, and told your thyroid is fine, don’t get offended when I ask you what tests they actually did. Don’t think I’m being righteous when I explain that your doctor probably only ran one test, TSH, and you need Free T3 and Free T4 doing too. Don’t think I’m being pedantic. I’m being thorough. I’m sharing with you what I learnt about my bad experience. It got me better to monitor all three levels, so why can’t it help you, too?
When I bring up adrenal fatigue, and you’ve never even heard of the adrenal glands, don’t think it therefore can’t be important. Yes, they’re tiny, but they are very important.
Part of the same system as the thyroid gland, the adrenals should work in harmony with the thyroid, but they can go wrong, too. With or without good thyroid function. Even if your thyroid is fine, your adrenals could well be struggling, and according Dr James Wilson most people in their lives experience adrenal fatigue/problems at some point, without even knowing.
Trust me when I say that a doctor won’t test the adrenals, and if they do, the urine and blood test they’ll offer isn’t accurate. Does it make sense to you that the adrenals have a 24 hour cycle throughout any given day, where the cortisol they produce rises and falls? Yes? Then a blood or urine test isn’t accurate because it takes one sample of that day. How does that test the cycle? A 24 hour saliva test takes four samples from that day, so it shows us how that cycle of it rising and falling, is working in you. And that is what determines our adrenal output.
Don’t brush off my ideas, think I just love talking about myself and my own problems, or assume that it couldn’t be you because you don’t feel ‘as bad’ as I once did. Because at the end of the day, I didn’t think that tiny butterfly shaped gland in my neck could almost kill me. But it did almost, and it would have done if I hadn’t have stepped in. And this could be you too.
You’re not immune.
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.
Please remember that if you’re a thyroid patient living with poor mental health or lingering physical symptoms, that you don’t have to live this way. To address why you may still be feeling unwell (often despite being on thyroid medication too), please see this article and go through each suggestion, putting your thyroid jigsaw back together.
Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism
Rachel is a Thyroid Patient Advocate and Expert with Six WEGO Award Nominations, a highly ranked writer appearing in the Top Hypothyroidism Websites and Top Thyroid Websites 2018. Currently studying to become a Life Coach, she has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Dr. Hedberg, Thyroid UK and ThyroidChange, to name just a few. She is well recognised as a trusted and useful contributor to the thyroid community and has relevant qualifications and certificates in Diet and Nutrition, Reflexology, Motivational Speaking and Positive Thinking.