Guest post by “Sick to Death” director Maggie Hadleigh-West | I have the uncanny ability to spot thyroid disease in a heartbeat, where traditional medicine cannot. Why, you might wonder? In medical school, doctors are taught to rely on a single blood test–the TSH Test, which measures the thyroid hormone in the pituitary gland, as opposed to the circulating thyroid hormone in the rest of the body. It is estimated that the TSH test misses 85% of individuals that are hypothyroid.
Almost all thyroid disorders and/or cancers ultimately render patients hypothyroid or with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. I have been diagnosed with both Graves Disease and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis both forms of autoimmune thyroid disease, both diagnosed after decades of symptoms.
In the process of learning to advocate for myself, I learned how to test myself, was shown a medical book (now out of print) which makes very clear the symptoms of hypothyroidism and have learned the signs of thyroid disease from the most progressive thyroid advocates and experts in the country.
Some of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism can include: cold hands and /or feet, slow metabolism, low body temperature, low blood pressure, difficulty losing weight, depression and the most egregious for many of us–brain fog–the inability to think well and short term memory issues.
As a patient advocate, I have found the things that work best for my thyroid health now include: finding a doctor who gets it, taking Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT) as opposed to Levothyroxine drugs, which undertreat 90% of patients, maintaining a regular exercise routine that is not so strenuous that it negatively impacts my thyroid function, avoiding goitergens and gluten, weekly acupuncture and all kinds of other healthy, natural and holistic practices.
Although traditional medicine failed me in early diagnosis and original treatment, I now treat myself as a precious entity, and believe that everything that enters, touches or influences my mind, body and spirit, matters and proceed accordingly.
About the Author
Maggie Hadleigh-West is the Director of the film, Sick to Death! , is a social justice filmmaker with an emphasis on racism, sexism and health advocacy. Her work can be seen at www.sick2death.com and www.yomaggie.com