Common Causes -- Toxins
We believe that more and more people are realizing that there is a connection between their various symptoms and illnesses, and this is the theory that is followed by most health specialists studying autoimmune disorders. Unfortunately, many medical professionals still treat the body like it is a conglomeration of separate symptoms, which is not working out too well for many autoimmune disease patients. We are not saying this to criticize the medical community; we are simply stating a fact. We strongly believe that the symptoms of any autoimmune disease affect the whole body, and consequently the body needs to be treated as a whole.
My opinion is that all chronic health patients should be tested for autoimmune disease. If the testing reveals such an attack, the battle is to figure out a way to dampen their immune activity. That is why it’s necessary to do all the testing and select the most sensitive tests. “My doctor already tested me for gluten and he said it’s not positive…” “But I had a H. pylori test already…” The blood test for gluten and H pylori are highly unreliable and reveal a lot of false negatives. You need to do the Enterlab stool and gene profile for gluten and the Urea Breathe Test for H. Pylori. New, more sensitive testing is being developed all the time; find a functional medicine doctor who is spending the time it takes to keep up on current trends. Immune panels need to be run with their Th1/Th2 cytokine breakdowns, a complete CBC with 1, 25 Vitamin D and 25 Vitamin D testing; get Homocystene levels, B-12 and a lipid panel. Always keep on digging and search for every possible antigen – there is often more than one!
“My mother died at age 56 from cancer. She had Cushing’s disease as a young woman and had surgery on her adrenal gland. Later she developed hypothyroidism and was on replacement hormones for that since I was a little girl. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she tried everything to get better; she had surgery to remove the tumor and at the same time they removed several lymph nodes. She did just as her doctor said; she was always that way. She went through chemotherapy and radiation and just got sicker and sicker. It wasn’t until about two weeks before she passed that she told me that she thinks she probably made a mistake. ‘I should have followed my own intuition,’ she said. You see, she became convinced that they were all connected, the cancer and the hormonal problems. The more I learn about autoimmune disorders, I am sure that her intuition was right. When I was diagnosed with hypothyroid at age 34, it was after my mother’s death and I made the decision there that I was NOT going to go the same route she did. I’ll admit, it took a lot of searching to find a doctor to treat me differently but it was worth the effort. I don’t want to get cancer; I don’t want the same fate as my mom, and I feel that I’m on exactly the right path. Autoimmune diseases can run in families but how you treat them makes all the difference in the results you will experience.”
For a doctor to rely on TSH alone or TSH with T4 and T3 alone in diagnosing and monitoring thyroid treatment is just mismanagement. TSH levels can vary greatly from day-to-day making it completely unreliable for treatment plan assessment; and this variation in TSH levels can happen without any treatment whatsoever.
So, in people with Hashimoto’s, their TSH will go up and down, up and down, up and down, unrelated to any treatment because when the immune cells are attacking the thyroid, there’s the release of thyroid hormones in their bloodstream and that release of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream then suppresses their TSH. So, depending on which day you test the patient, they may look like they have a normal thyroid.
This is how improper testing leaves a patient misdiagnosed, mismanaged, and just plain miserable! YOU have to take responsibility for your own health and find a doctor who will work with you until the answers are discovered. There is always a cause to an effect, always a reason for a symptom; there is always a reason ‘why’, you just haven’t yet found someone to help you figure it out.
Rick was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in Spring 2005 at 39 years old after many years of doctor visits with different symptoms, mainly joint pain that moved from joint to joint with some episodes lasting weeks, others months. He was very confused and angry, being an athlete in high school and college; this pain was now interfering with life goals. What he had learned was heartbreaking enough for him. The three words he noticed to be associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis in whatever he read about it at that point were “incurable”, “deformation”, and “progressive”.
Like many men, Rick went into denial and kept his diagnosis to himself. He quietly started on the medication his Rheumatologist prescribed but it made him feel nauseous and he slowly weaned himself off of them without returning to his specialist. He lived his life avoiding some of the things he loved most until one day in 2006 when his right knee swelled up to the size of a grapefruit. It was then that he decided to figure out an answer that would defy those three nasty words that rang through his head. Rick was driven by fear. He was a successful businessman and convinced that he was the one who cared most about HIS disease and if there was to be an answer found, then HE was the one to find it.
After finding a naturopathic practitioner who listed Rheumatoid Arthritis in her website with the immune system’s mechanism laid out in clear language, Rick started to ‘see the light’. He was on a plane the following week to start a process that would change his future for the better.
For Rick, it was, “Just common sense, I was between a rock and a hard place, I was really in a catch 22. I worked my whole life to enjoy golf, tennis, and living in my retirement years and all I could see was progressive, deforming arthritis or horrible side effects of drugs that didn’t even help very much. I mean… maybe they work for some people but I just felt stuck. It forced me to do my own search.”