Thyroid Case Study

It started with frustration

Meet Janet, a successful 52 year old female, who came to our office with significant fatigue, brain-fog, weight gain, lower back pain, and chronic digestive issues. Frustration was mounting because she had already been to several practitioners at this point, both natural and allopathic.

Janet heard about our office after doing some online research about functional medicine. She had just finished reading a fantastic book by Dr. Datis Kharrazian called, “Why do I have thyroid symptoms when my lab work is normal?”.

Physical signs and symptoms

I could tell from a quick glance that Janet was struggling with hair loss, weight gain around the midsection, dry skin, and puffiness in her face. Her skin appeared to have no color to it but her eyes were filled with hope.

A deeper look

Once we evaluated her paperwork, we quickly realized that her stress levels were through the roof and that her job was killing her. She also noted digestive issues that started after a trip to Mexico a few years back. She reported taking thyroid medications but they did not seem to help her and the weight gain continued to spiral out of control.

Much to her disappointment, her other providers did not really address these issues but instead became hyper-focused on her thyroid numbers (which were perfect on paper).

After carefully probing her, we were able to trace back many of her health issues to failing personal relationships, high stress work, and her stomach bug from Mexico. Janet had a pleasant attitude and was excited to finally find some answers to her nagging health challenges.

What was missed

Her previous practitioners had not evaluated her gut health or her stress levels very closely. She quickly acknowledged that they were simply managing symptoms instead of looking at her overall health and function. We both got excited at the possibility of uncovering and addressing her root causes.

Janet pointed out that she is had given up gluten a few weeks ago and that seemed to really help her stomach feel more settled and lifted some of her brain-fog, but she did not report any weight loss (which was annoying). Janet also had a hard time skipping meals and would become really irritable, sure signs of adrenal fatigue and glycemic dysregulation.

Prior to coming to our office, Janet had countless labs tests done on her thyroid. After probing her doctor more, she was able to convince her to order a thyroid antibody test (TPO Ab and TGB Ab). These tests revealed that her thyroid issues were actually related to autoimmunity. Janet had also done testing that showed an elevated immune response to gluten. The puzzle was starting to come together!

Markers of thyroid autoimmunity

Markers of gluten reactivity

As we do with every patient, we began to evaluate the 6 pillars of health and uncovered that she issues with her mitochondrial function, brain-based inflammation, stress hormone imbalances, and poor digestive function.

Markers of poor mitochondrial function

Markers of brain based inflammation

Markers of poor carbohydrate metabolism

Small but powerful changes

We started off by getting Janet to make some modifications to her daily routine and sleep hygiene in order to restore her circadian rhythm and allow her brain to heal better. We had her start going for light walks in the morning and doing some deep breathing in the evening and before meals to help her calm down and digest her healthy diet more effectively. She stopped watching TV in the evening and instead started reading again. We also encouraged her to stop checking her emails in the evening and to minimize blue light exposure as much as she could.

Janet enjoyed the outdoors and was a great sport. She noticed some immediate improvements in her mood, weight, and digestion. Even her brain fog was getting better with time.

The straw that fixed the camel’s back

One area in Janet’s health that did not improve immediately was her low back pain. She sought help from many providers but none seemed to help. At our first encounter, I had suggested that she quit her job and do something that she was more passionate about at a business that actually appreciated her work. She did not listen immediately but developed an exit strategy. A week after leaving her job, her back pain completely disappeared!

Sometimes it’s the simple but hard decisions that make the biggest difference!

After leaving her high-stress role and sticking to her lifestyle, diet, and supplement plan, her health continued to improve and she started to feel like herself again.

It was only through a careful evaluation of her six pillars and an honest set of recommendations that Janet was able to regain her health.

Ready for change?

If this sounds like you, we would love to find out if/how we can help you feel yourself again. Set up a free phone consultation and we will be happy to evaluate your case and steer you in the right direction.

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