Reasons for Thyroid Patients to Be Thankful
Mary Shomon | Nov 15, 2017
You don’t need to wait for Thanksgiving to feel thankful. Regular expressions of gratitude have many proven health benefits, including better sleep, greater resilience, and improved mood, all positive effects for people with chronic thyroid disease. Here are some thyroid-related reasons to be grateful any time of the year.
Newborn thyroid screening
In the past, when babies were born hypothyroid, the results were tragic: stunted physical and mental development, low IQ and even mental retardation. Now, it’s the law in the United States that all newborn babies must have the “heel-stick” test for a variety of congenital issues, including hypothyroidism. When hypothyroidism is detected, treatment starts right away, the negative effects of the hypothyroidism can usually be avoided. That’s a reason to give thanks!
The standard hypothyroidism treatment is levothyroxine, a synthetic version of thyroxine (T4), like Synthroid. Research now shows that genetic changes make it hard for some people to convert T4 into the active hormone, triiodothyronine (T3), leaving them symptomatic. These people benefit from treatment that includes T3, found in the synthetic drug liothyronine (Cytomel), and in natural desiccated thyroid drugs like Nature-throid and Armour Thyroid. T3 can be life-changing!
Thyroid-friendly foods and vitamins
Sometimes it seems like the list of things thyroid patients should not eat or take is endless. This is why patients are grateful that there are some foods ― like seaweed, yogurt, eggs, and salmon ― that we know are powerhouses for thyroid health. And three cheers for thyroid-friendly vitamins and supplements that help us feel well, including iodine, vitamin D, selenium, and probiotics, among others.
They listen, they have an open mind, and they are committed to helping you feel well. They are persistently looking for solutions. They are MDs, osteopaths, naturopaths, nurse practitioners, and physician’s assistants. Some work at large medical centers in cities, others in small-town private practice. If you have one of these practitioners, you have a reason to be grateful. If you haven’t found him or her yet, what’s stopping you?
Three cheers of gratitude for the smartphone. It can remind you to take your medications, keep you organized, and wake you up on sleepy mornings. You can order prescription refills, look up drug interactions, keep a symptom, and even access your medical records at your fingertips. And on those days when you’re feeling frustrated, you can post on social media, and within minutes, other thyroid patients are there with sympathy, ideas, and support.
When it comes to endocrinology research, much of the excitement — and funding — goes to diabetes. Thyroid patients should be grateful that there are top-notch physicians who have also made cutting-edge thyroid research a priority. Just a few standouts include John C. Morris, MD of Mayo Clinic; Jacqueline Jonklaas, MD at Georgetown University; Anthony Bianco, MD at Chicago’s Rush University; and Douglas S. Ross, MD at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Good quality sleep is like oxygen for thyroid patients. Getting refreshing sleep every night helps you lose weight; replenish hormones, such as cortisol, growth hormone, and thyroid hormone; strengthen your immune system and fight illness; improve your mood and concentration. As a thyroid patient, if you are able to regularly sleep well — and enough — this is a major reason to be thankful.
A clinical trial is defined by the National Institutes of Health as a “research study that explores whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans, and may show which medical approaches work best for certain illnesses or groups. Clinical trials produce the best data available for health care decision-making.” Thyroid patients should be grateful that this important research is taking place. Still struggling? Look into joining in a clinical trial yourself.
The outspoken pioneers
Thyroid disease is often overlooked and even mocked in popular culture and the media. So when someone goes above and beyond to create thyroid awareness, they deserve our gratitude. This is the case with award-winning documentary film director Maggie Hadleigh-West. Her documentary film Sick to Death beautifully and powerfully chronicles her own saga in trying to get her Hashimoto’s disease properly diagnosed and treated. Check out a trailer for the film.
Before the internet, thyroid patients had little information about their condition, treatments, or research. Now, we have it at our fingertips. Whether it’s the online Thyroid Manager textbook, a blog like HypothyroidMom, or a podcast like Thyroid Nation, a wealth of information is online to help thyroid patients live well. Don’t forget the benefit of a support community, like the Thyroid Cancer Survivor’s Association (ThyCa), the Thyroid Support Group and the Thyroid Diet Support Group.
Finally, who isn’t grateful for a pair of warm, fuzzy slippers? No matter what the season, many thyroid patients complain of cold feet. There’s nothing like changing into a pair of cozy slippers to warm up even the coldest feet and toes!