Success: Thyroid Disorders
Patient #1 - A New
Perspective On Thyroid Disorders
The current practice of conventional medicine involves
laboratory “tests”. Often the
decision of what and how to treat is based more on the lab report on a piece of
paper and less on the body on whom the tests were done. In a practice like ours where the person’s symptoms and story are
usually the most important information, time is dedicated to developing a
thorough history. The
recommendations regarding treatment try to include the whole picture (i.e., the
history AND the tests).
The thyroid gland is primarily responsible for
regulating the general body metabolism and, if not functioning properly, can be
a factor in numerous health disorders. The
primary tool for evaluating thyroid function in conventional practices are the
standard thyroid blood tests. No
treatment is usually initiated without abnormal tests. complementary practices, it is customary to use information in
addition to the tests to determine whether or not to treat.
After this rather lengthy introduction, I will now share one woman’s
response to the evaluation and treatment of thyroid disorder based on symptoms
and body temperature.
This 39-year-old woman presented with numerous
symptoms suggestive of an underactive thyroid: weight gain, fatigue, difficulty with memory and concentration (such that
she had interrupted further studies in her profession a year earlier),
diminished sex drive, cold intolerance, subnormal body temperatures, headaches,
joint and muscle aches, and fluid retention.
Her thyroid blood tests were normal. However, in keeping with the philosophy of treating the whole patient and
not the paper, it was decided to give her a therapeutic trial of thyroid
medication. We first checked her
EKG to assess heart status. Thyroid
medication has a stimulating effect on the body and can be a potential problem
if there is an underlying heart condition; also she was complaining of some
chest pain with exertion. However, the
cardiologist determined there was no underlying heart disease and we began
treating her with medication.
Her response to the prescription was
dramatic. Within a short period of
time, she began to lose some weight, her aches and pains diminished, she resumed
her studies, her energy improved, she felt warmer and her body temperatures
improved, her sex drive began to improve, and her headaches resolved…and her
blood tests did not change!
In this particular case the medication used
was a special form of T3 (thyroid hormone) based on Wilson’s Syndrome
however we have also used a natural combination of T3 and T4 with similar
results. But, no matter which
avenue of treatment is pursued, the underlying philosophy is one in which we
treat the whole story/patient, not just the test results. (1/25/02)
Patient #2 - History, Documentation, Relationship:
Keys In This Success Story
This 52-year old woman returned to us after
an 11-year absence. She was experiencing palpitations, extreme fatigue,
unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms, muscular aches and pains, throat burning,
an irregular menstrual period, hair loss, and weight fluctuations. These
were similar to the symptoms she had experienced 11 years earlier when she was
diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
At that time, her endocrinologist
had prescribed thyroid medication (synthroid) and many of her symptoms greatly
improved. She'd also had benefits with a nutritional program that our
office suggested. She had remained on the medication until about a year
ago. She did okay for about six to eight months without the synthroid, but
some stressful events triggered the onset of her symptoms.
She sought our
treatment before returning to her own primary care doctor. We had all her
previous records and with updating we were able to quite readily diagnose her
problem by her history, symptoms, and laboratory data and we began treatment
immediately with the medication as well as oral and intravenous nutrients.
Because she also had elevated blood sugar and
cholesterol along with the weight
gain, she began to work with a licensed nutritionist and has found that to be
At her most recent office visit, about five
weeks after her initial visit, she said she felt "like a rejuvenated
person." Her digestion was much better, her energy improved, the
burning in her mouth was gone, and her weight was down by six pounds. She
was feelIng so well she said she wanted to change her whole life and work in
areas related to assertiveness and spirituality. What a benefit it is to
know our patients -- and to continue to write their stories. (3/11/02).
Patient #3 - Finally, Help for Hypothyroidism
Patient F., a 41 year old
woman, was referred by another patient. She'd been previously diagnosed
with hypothyroidism. She experienced
an enlarged thyroid as a teenager and complained of poor
cognitive function, cold sensitivity, fatigue, and weight gain,
having gained more than 20 pounds the last couple of years.
She consulted with her primary
physician who prescribed medications for anxiety
and insomnia. She tried the anxiety medication, but this made
her too sleepy, so she discontinued it. Her thyroid function testing was
abnormal and her physician then prescribed Synthroid for her. Her
laboratory tests then normalized, but her symptoms persisted. Despite
this, her physician made no changes in her prescription.
We recommended dietary changes
for her and added nutritional supplements to her program. She began to
feel better, but we judged that she could make even more progress.
Therefore, the Synthroid was discontinued and Armour thyroid
with slowly increasing doses.
Four months later, she
returned to the office. She had lost weight and her cognitive function and
energy had improved significantly. She was now able to get all of her work
done throughout the day, and found that her stamina had improved quite a
bit. She was able to exercise without feeling so fatigued afterwards. Her
menstrual cycle also improved.
We decided to increase her
thyroid dosage slightly, and we are awaiting her return to the Center,
expecting her to be feeling even better.
Dr. Kopelson comments:
We see a lot of hypothyroidism at our Center. It tends to affect women
more than men, although we are now seeing more and more men and even
adolescents who are hypothyroid. Often, their thyroid function tests are
normal so they don't get treated by their physicians, but these patients
are still clinically hyperthyroid. In the above case, the patient was
hypothyroid clinically and according to her laboratory testing, but found
that Synthroid was not very effective for her condition.
In these cases, natural
thyroid will usually be more effective. Synthroid only provides the
thyroid hormone T4 (inactive). It is only when T4 is converted to T3 that
it becomes active - in usable form. Some people aren't able to convert T4
to T3 well, thus using a natural form of thyroid containing both T3 and T4
is usually more effective than using T4 alone.
Jeffrey C. Kopelson,
Patient also followed by Sally
Minniefield, R.N., P.A. -C
Patient #4 - Help for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
Patient S. came to our office
in March of 2013. This 59 year old woman reported that despite a history
of being a very hard worker, she was now feeling unusually fatigued.
Prior to her visit, she had an
ultrasound of the thyroid that revealed the presence of nodules
and calcifications. Dr. Kopelson discussed the results of the
ultrasound with the radiologist who indicated that the picture was wholly
consistent with Hashimoto's thyroiditis
(an autoimmune inflammation of the thyroid).
In addition to the fatigue,
she had other symptoms of hypothyroidism
including weight gain, cold intolerance, brittle
nails and dry skin and hair.
At the time of her second
visit we made dietary recommendations and prescribed nutritional
supplements that focused on thyroid function. We agreed to consider
thyroid medication at the next visit.
Six weeks later, after making
the dietary changes and supplement additions that had been recommended,
she reported that her energy level had improved substantially, she was
sleeping more soundly and awoke feeling rested. Being that she'd made so
much progress on her own, we agreed that thyroid medication was probably
not warranted. We will follow the thyroid nodules closely with ultrasound
Dr. Kopelson comments: This
case is very satisfying in that prescription medication was not necessary
(in addition to supplementation) to correct this patient's problems.
Often, the smallest interventions are the best. Nutritional supplements
and dietary changes will often be the only therapy that a patient
Jeffrey C. Kopelson,
Patient also followed by John
J. Reynolds, P.A. -C, CCN
Patient #5 - I Feel Like a New Person
Patient M. describes her own
story as follows:
I was a patient at the Schachter
Center for several years where I had been treated for hypothyroidism with
Armour Thyroid extract. Then I went to an endocrinologist to get
evaluated for irregular menstrual periods. In the course of that assessment
the endocrinologist took me off the Armour Thyroid and prescribed Synthroid.
Even though her lab tests
indicated I was on the correct "dosage" of Synthroid, clinically I
was feeling very bad with low body temperature, body aches, dry skin,
inability to sleep, heart palpitations, brain fog, hair loss and very low
stamina. That's when I
returned to the Schachter Center and met with Sally Minniefield, R.N., P.A. -C
in October of 2013. I told her that I was
experiencing all these symptoms while on Synthroid. Sally took me off Synthroid and
put me back on an equivalent dose of Armour Thyroid.
After a couple of days on the
Armour Thyroid, my body aches, dry skin, inability to sleep, heart
palpitations, brain fog and hair falling out all stopped. I felt like a new
person. Thank you, Schachter Center and Sally Minniefield, R.N., P.A. -C..