Hypothyroidism can sometimes seem intimidating, there are lots of opinions and differing recommendations. Dr. Ruscio simplifies thyroid problems into 2 categories and helps you determine which one you are.
Dr. Michael Ruscio: Hi. This is Dr. Ruscio, and welcome to the second part of our series on hypothyroidism.
In this video, we will be discussing the two types of hypothyroidism. To help you better understand what is causing your thyroid condition and how you can treat it, I’ve broken down all thyroid problems into two general categories. And we can group most thyroid conditions into one of these two (groups).
Now, these two groups are ‘Functional’ and ‘Autoimmune’. Let’s discuss each one of these briefly.
Probably the most important is autoimmune. When someone has an autoimmune thyroid condition, it means that there’s actual damage occuring to the thyroid gland itself. The most common, by far, will be Hashimoto’s, which is what causes hypothyroidism in the majority of cases.
There is also the potential for a condition known as Graves’, which cause hyperthyroidism. We will be talking mostly about hypothyroidism for the purposes of this video, but I do have a review article that I wrote on Graves’ if you need more information there. Podcast (https://drruscio.com/graves-disease-episode-11/) , video ( https://drruscio.com/possible-beat-graves-disease-thyroid-autoimmunity/ ) and article on naturally managing Graves’ disease (https://drruscio.com/natural-management-graves-disease/)
Now, in Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, or this autoimmune sort of hypothyrodism – like I mentioned, your thyroid is being damaged, and other parts of your body may be experiencing damage at the same time. This causes people not to feel well, and the conventional treatment for Graves’ is radioactive destruction of the thyroid gland or surgical removal of the thyroid gland. For Hashimoto’s hypothyroid, it is hormone replacement medication.
In my experience, many patients don’t feel optimal from this treatment. And certainly we know that the cause is not being addressed by this form of treatment.
Now, here is an example: Let’s say you came home one day, and none of the electricity in your house worked. The first thing most people would do would be to check the fuse box, check to make sure there wasn’t an outstanding bill that causes the electric company to shut off the electricity, or see if there were some downed power lines or something like that.
Giving someone with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism thyroid hormone replacement medication is like coming home and noticing that all your lights are off, and then just saying, ‘Humph, I’ll just put some battery-powered lamps all over my house so I can have light.’ It’s maybe an OK strategy in the short term so you can see, but you’re not really addressing the cause of the power outage.
The same thing applies – By just giving someone thyroid hormone replacement medication who has Hashimoto’s or this autoimmune form of hypothyroidism, you are essentially just putting battery-powered lamps in a home that no longer has any power. So, certainly (that’s) far from what one would call optimal.
Now, coming back to our second type – we have have functional (hypothyroidism). There are a number of patients out there who do not have any thyroid diagnosis; it’s also known as EUthyroid 6 syndrome, where the thyroid gland itself is OK, it’s not being damaged, but your thyroid is not making enough hormone or your body’s not using that hormone properly. And these people also experience not feeling well.
For these people, no treatment is usually rendered, and oftentimes patients are told their labs are normal, or they are told, ‘It’s all in your head.’ And, again, of course, this treatment does not address the cause either.
Coming back to our analogy here of the power in the home, in the functional case, the electricity is working. So we have power. But, the lightbulbs might be broken or the wiring maybe severed not allowing the electicity to be used properly. So this would be what a functional problem is. The electrician comes to the house and says, ‘The power is on,’ (which) is like your physician saying, ‘Well, the thyroid is OK.’
In my experience, many of these patients, when we do a little more thorough lab investigation, do have problems, but we had to dig a little deeper to find them.
The good news is, we do have lab testing available to be able to determine if you (have a) autoimmune and functional. And more importantly, we have methods that we can use to treat these causes and allow people to feel better, to regain their health, and to overcome their hypothyroidism, their Hashimoto’s, or the symptoms associated with it.
So in the next video, I will be discussing the all-important causes of hypothyroidism – What may be causing your autoimmune hypothyroidism or your functional hypothyroidism, depending upon which one of these you are.
This is Dr. Ruscio, and I hope you find this helpful. Thanks.
I care about answering your questions and sharing my knowledge with you. Leave a comment or connect with me on social media asking any health question you may have and I just might incorporate it into our next listener questions podcast episode just for you!
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