The Women's Journal

Thyroid Disease – Management & More!

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By Bernadette Thomas, DNP, APRN, FNP-C

Owner of Monarch Wellness Center 

Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner 

Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgetown University

My Story

In 2012, I was suffering from Thyroid Toxicosis as a result of Graves’ Disease, and I did not respond well to Levothyroxine after radioactive iodine treatment. Although I felt awful, my healthcare provider told me “everything was fine” and I was referred to mental health. In fact, I was not fine, my body had a terrible time converting Levothyroxine into a useable form. I was struggling and frustrated with my symptoms for months and couldn’t live my life as a mother, a wife, or a nurse practitioner. Consequently, I drove hours into nearby states searching for a provider who would listen to me and help me feel better. Finally, after months of searching, I found someone who explained why I was feeling so bad. Unfortunately, as a healthcare provider my baseline knowledge of thyroid illness was not nearly enough, and so, my new provider listened to me and taught me a great deal about thyroid disease, and the way my body used Levothyroxine. This information was life-changing. This person helped me start to feel better again and this experience fueled my interest in thyroid disease treatment.

“Normal Range”

Thyroid disease is not a one-size-fits-all disease, and many patients are becoming frustrated by the one-size-fits-all management method. Typically, when healthcare providers assess for thyroid function, they order the standard Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test and maybe a Free T4 test. If labs are found to be “within normal range,” often patients will remain symptomatic and leave their appointment feeling just as terrible as when they walked in, because very little or nothing has changed in their care. When TSH is “within normal range” that may not be what is normal for the patient, and care should be adjusted primarily based on symptoms. At Monarch Wellness Center we offer on-site Phlebotomy for your convenience.

Individualized Care

The management of thyroid disease leaves many patients feeling unheard and frustrated. The primary focus of appointments should be on how the patient feels, while keeping a close eye on many lab values, more often than once or twice a year. If a patient does not feel well, we must consider the source of their symptoms since thyroid hormone affects every cell in the body. This means that symptoms of thyroid disease may present in many body systems. At Monarch Wellness Center we listen very closely to our patients to ensure we have the whole story because, every detail is important, no matter how insignificant it may seem. We ask health questions and thoroughly assess our patients to confirm their health status and create an individualized treatment plan to meet their specific needs. 

Food Choices

Many foods can affect the way our body makes and uses thyroid hormones. Some foods even drive-up thyroid antibodies and should certainly be avoided. Finding out what foods should be avoided may require a comprehensive food sensitivity test. This test identifies the culprits causing inflammation which can lead to fatigue, headaches, insomnia, joint/muscle pain, IBS, skin eruptions, and more. At Monarch Wellness Center we use a Non-IgE mediated food and food-chemical hypersensitivity test (drawn in our office) to find the underlying causes of these symptoms. 

Thyroid Medications

Thyroid disease often requires prescription medication management. Today there are several types of medication available to help manage thyroid disease, and providers like myself, will prescribe these medications based on individual needs after extensive conversations and comprehensive exams. Therefore, to monitor how well medications are working, patients will require more frequent symptom checks, laboratory tests, and dose adjustments, to reduce thyroid symptoms and optimize their well being.  

Supplements Are Important

In addition to thyroid medications, there are several supplements that can be taken to enhance thyroid function. Many vitamins and minerals are helpful in making and using thyroid hormone. Therefore, a clear treatment plan must be established with a healthcare provider like me to decide what supplements are best to correct any nutrition deficiencies, like vitamin D, iron, zinc, selenium, and more. At Monarch Wellness Center we have an on-site inventory of pharmaceutical grade supplements, or we will gladly direct you to higher quality over the counter products because correcting these deficiencies is an important part of thyroid health. 

For More Information call (302) 482-2289

www.monarchwellnesscenterdelaware.com

2601 Annand Drive Suite 17, Wilmington Delaware 19808