Medical Uses of Thyroid Hormone Pt I: Hypothyroidism
In the last article, I discussed thyroid function and disorders. For this article, the topic of medication is a natural follow-up.
When a patient is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, they are generally given one of two medications. The first is levothyroxine, the most commonly used synthetic thyroid hormone. It is derived from the physiological form of thyroid hormone T3 and T4, but because it is metabolized slower, it can be administered only once a day. Because T3 and T4 are easily absorbed by the gut, levothyroxine, (aka Synthroid can be taken orally. Synthetic thyroid hormone was first successfully produced in 1926 by Drs. Charles Harington and George Barger.
The other medication is natural desiccated thyroid hormone, better known as Armour Thyroid; it is derived from pig thyroid hormone. One can also take beef thyroid supplements, though the Armour is more commonly known. Armour contains 20% T3 and traces of T2 and T1 and calcitonin, a hormone that regulates calcium levels in the body. (More on this later, because calcitonin has very important roles other than its effects on calcium levels.)
Thyronamines, the result of decarboxylated and deiodinated
thyroid hormone have no major medical use yet, though it has been suggested
that thyronamines be used in controlled hypothermic stages, used to protect the
brain in occurrences of ischemic shock.
(Personal Note: In past conversations with those who have taken Armour, such patients Ive talked with were either under the care of an open-minded endocrinologist or a naturopath. Most mainstream RNPs or MDs I know have preferred to stick with the levothyroxine, given that medical science has long shunned natural helpers, even when synthetic medications might not work quite as well as those coming strictly from a natural source. Granted, this scene is slowly changing, fortunately, and integrated medicine is coming into vogue because mainstream science is catching up with the naturopathic practitioners.)
Tune in next week for further adventures in learning about the thyroid!
Blessings and Good Health,
i have been diagnosed with atypical Graves disease following the birth of my son. it took several years to diagnose me because my lab work-up for thyroid was normal. however, i experienced excuriating eye pain and inflamation of the medial rectus muscle of the left globe. l I received numerous steroid injections directly into the medial rectus muscle, however the inflamation and pain would always flair up. i was also calcium deficient and had to take courses of high doses of calcium and vitamin D. Unfortunelty after i was done with the course of calcium and some time has past the deficientcy had always come back. I learned later on that I tested very high on thyroid anti-bodies and was told that there is a possibility for me to develop Hishimoto thyroid condition. No medicatioins were perscribed at the time because i was told that my blood levels for thyroid are with in normal limits, despite the constant symptoms that became more and more barible to manage. I felt sick flu-like symptoms, experienced mood swings, eye pain that made things very hard to concentrate, horsness, chronic reoccuring throat infections, i developed a lisp brain fog, forgetfullness, joints stifness pain, neck pain, swollen lymph nodes, felt constant fluids draining in the middle ear worst felt when i was in the upright position and better when laying down. the pain continued in my eye, now causing blurriness and loss of vision in the parithial visiual fields of the left eye. I also received radiation therapy everyday for two weeks. This procedure prolonged the time between flair-ups and i had about 8 months of pain-free, symptom free functioning. Doctors were optimistic that after the radiation procedure inflamatory process would not reoccur and would not spread to a systemic infamitory disfunction. Unfortunetly, the inflamation and pain came back. Mri scans showed that now despite the significant diference between the right and left globes, there was now indication of chronic inflamation with haziness and vision loss. At this point i was scheduled to have a medial rectus biopsy. the biopsy showed inflamation and some abnormal cells, however there was no sign of a tumor or cancer. At the time of the biopsy i was not experiencing one of the flair ups and the eye wasnt as inflamed as it usually is when i do experience a flair up. I was told that during surgry the doctor will explore areas surrounding the affected eye muscle as well as observe for any other explanation for this type of inflamitory disfunction. To my suprise since the biopsy of the affected muscle only showed minimal infalmation the doctor decided to go against exploritory surgery. In the end I did not get any anwsers to why I get to feeling so sick. No one at this point made the connection between my sx and thyroid disfunction. I was refered to another doctor. My family health practicioner looked as though she had lost faith in me. until the biopsy she was a real advocate for me and seemed to understand the pain that I was experiencing. She prescribed pain medication to manage my pain as well as other anti-inflamitory drugs to reduce the inflamation that seamed to manifest itself in other areas of my body not just the eye. Soon after the biopsy i started to experience new more severe sx. Back pain, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, skin thinning, weight loss, knee pain, feeling like the whole body is out of alinment and not correctly allined, visable vains, more frequent throat infections, more of a noticable lisp, flat feet, visable, hips, elbos, wrists, ancles, feet have poor circulation and are painful, bumps in the throat with inflamation of the left tonsil, severe SCM muscle and jaw pain, feeling sluggish and having no energy, flu-like symptoms as well as skin changes including sudded appearance and spreading of brown spots some which were flat and some raised, rashes on the face and neck occuring during a flair up as well as many other things that were observed. Despite of the increased symptoms and the result of the biopsy to my suprise the doctor that has been advocating for me changed her deminor drastically and requested psychiatric evaluation. I did have a psychological evaluation later on and it was concluded that there were no signs of a mental illness except for some symptoms of adjustment disorder due to having to stress and anxiety of adjusting to being constantly ill and not healthy as I was used to living my entire life. I was fortunate enough to find a open-minded doctor who treated patients from a medical and holistic stand point. He evaluated my symptoms as well as ordered new lab tests as well as evaluated past history. He acknowledged that my sx corralated with the tests that he conducted and agreed that some of the symptoms may be related to a thyroid condition. I was perscribed synthetic thyroid medication, however the symptoms and the flair-ups did not go away. Other tests have concluded that I have a goiter that is located close to the thyroid gland but not directly on the thyroid gland. This nodule gets infalmed causing me to have trouble swallowing, Iam horse all of the time now, i have trouble swallowing, i feel a very uncomforatble tightening in the neck and esophagues and tightniong and pressure in the chest which makes it hard to breathe. Because of the tightness in my chest i have fluid/muchus that gets lodged in my chest causing for a gag reflex due to the extra build up of fluids/muchus. At times i feel nauseated and also go through the motions as if im going to throw up. sometimes i cant stop the gaging and i vomit. I wanna know what i can do or who I should see in my case. what can be done with the patients like me who have all of the thyroid symptoms, have high thyroid anti-bodies, feel sick most of the time, take medications for thyroid that does not seam to help??