Healing Path, Inc.

Finding Balance
Chapter 2.29 - Hyper & Hypo Thyroid

In this chapter, Dr. Donache presents Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the prevention and treatment of thyroid disease, inlcuding hyper thyroidism, hypo thyrodism, Hashimoto's disease, and Grave's Disease.

The chapter includes an overview of the disease's symptoms, conventional treatment methods, and alternative therapies, including Bio-Energetic therapies, Bodywork and Movement therapies, and Mental / Emotional treatments.

This chapter is taken from Dr. Donache's upcoming book, Finding Balance - Integrating Complementary/Alternative Medical (C.A.M.) Therapies for the Prevention of the Top 30 Diseases in America. Each section of chapter 2, which describes alternative treatments for each of the top diseases, is available for download on this website.

Table of Contents
Chapter Excerpt
Glossary of Terms Used in this Chapter
Additional Disease Descriptions and Treatments Available for Download

Table of Contents

      • Treating Hyperthyroidism
      • Treating Hypothyroidism
      • Follow-up Care
      • Issues and Answers
      • Nutrition and Supplements
        • Nutrition
          • Thyroid Self-Test
          • Hyperthyroidism: Emphasize the Following Foods
          • General Considerations
          • Hypothyroidism: Emphasize the Following Foods
        • Supplements
          • Hyperthyroidism Supplements
          • Hypothyroidism Supplements
        • Enzymatic Therapies
      • Rainforest and Western Herbs
        • Rainforest Herbs
        • Western Herbs
      • Homeopathic Remedies
      • Essential Oils
      • Therapeutic Bodywork and Massage
      • Traditional Chinese Medicine
      • Hatha Yoga Postures
      • Meditation
      • Visualization
      • Affirmation

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Chapter Excerpt

The two most common thyroid problems are thyroid overactivity (hyperthyroidism) and thyroid underactivity (hypothyroidism). Hypothyroidism affects about 5 million people in the U.S., about 90 percent of which are women. Thyroid problems can cause many recurring illnesses and fatigue.

Both Graves' disease, the most common form of hyperthyroidism, and Hashimoto's disease, the most common type of hypothyroidism, are diagnosed more often in women than in men. Hashimoto's disease generally affects people over age 50.

Along with sex and age, other risk factors may include:

  • Genetics: heredity plays a role, although thyroid disorders within a family can skip generations;

  • Stress: Graves' disease sometimes appears after a time of stress, although no direct link has been proved;

  • Smoking: an association between smoking and hyperthyroidism has been established, but it's uncertain exactly what role tobacco plays in triggering the disorder. In people with hypothyroidism, smoking has been found to reduce thyroid activity.

Common signs of hyperthyroidism include nervousness, rapid heart rate, palpitations, sweating, irritability, insomnia, diarrhea and weight loss. The eyes may bulge, a condition called exophthalmos. Symptoms may include:

  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • A constant feeling of being hot
  • Increased perspiration
  • Insomnia and Fatigue
  • Increased frequency of Bowel Movements
  • Less Frequent Menstruation and Decreased Menstrual Flow
  • Weakness
  • Hair and Weight Loss
  • Change in Skin Thickness
  • Separation of Nails from the Nail Bed
  • Hand Tremors
  • Intolerance of Heat
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Goiter
  • Protruding Eyeballs
Hypothyroidism is often marked by sluggishness, fatigue, and weight gain. Other symptoms include:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inability to tolerate cold
  • A slow heart rate
  • Painful premenstrual periods
  • Milky discharge from the breasts
  • Fertility problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dry and Scaly skin
  • Yellow-orange coloration in the Skin

A goiter may be present in either condition. The thyroid gland produces a hormone that is essential to our health. Thyroid hormone helps control the rate of metabolism, the body's internal chemistry. It helps burn fat, enhance mental function, and maintain healthy hair, skin, bones and teeth.

The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly, consisting of two halves, or lobes. Inside the thyroid gland are tiny structures (follicles) which produce and store thyroid hormone. Blood vessels carry iodine to and thyroid hormone from the gland. Iodine, absorbed from food, is carried to the follicles by blood vessels. Cells in the follicles produce the protein thyroglobulin. Thyroglobulin binds to the iodine to create thyroid hormone, also called thyroxine. The pituitary gland monitors the level of thyroid hormone in the blood and regulates the amount available to the body by releasing thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). The TSH prompts the thyroid to make thyroid hormone. If thyroid hormone levels are high, the pituitary releases less TSH. After docking at sites on the follicles, TSH signals the thyroid to increase hormone production and release it in to the bloodstream. In Graves' disease, a malfunction causes the body's immune system to react against the thyroid. Thyroid stimulating antibodies (TSAs) attack the gland. The TSAs dock at TSH sites on the follicles. This stimulates the thyroid to produce more hormone. In response, the pituitary releases less TSH. But hormone production can't be slowed because the TSAs are still docked at the TSH sites on the follicles. In Hashimoto's disease, antibodies and white blood cells attack and damage the thyroid. Over time, less thyroid hormone is produced.

Thyroid function can be measured through blood tests or hormone levels. Your doctor will review your history, conduct an exam, and additionally may recommend other tests.

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Glossary of Terms

Substances produced by the immune system usually in response to foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses.
Beta Blocker
A medication, such as propranolol, wht slows heart rate; often prescribed for hyperthyroid patients for temporary relief of cardiac symptoms.
Bulging of the eyes that may occur in people with Graves' disease; also called proptosis.
An enlarged thyroid gland, appearing as a swelling in the neck.
Graves' Disease
The most common from of overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism; believed to be caused by a malfunction of the immune system.
Hashimoto's Disease
The most common form of underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism; caused by a malfunction of the immune system.
A substance produced by a gland or tissue and released into the bloodstream to have a specific effect elsewhere within the body.
A small gland located at the base of the brain that performs many functions, including regulating production of thyroid hormone.
Radioiodine Uptake Test
A test that measures thyroid function by gauging how much iodine the thyroid gland absorbs in a 24-hour period.
A protein in the thyroid that combines with iodine to produce thyroid hormone.
Thyroid Hormone
Thyroxine; a naturally occurring or synthetic hormone that helps control the body's metabolism; produced by the thyroid gland.
Thyroid Scan
A test that uses a small amount of mildly radioactive iodine to create a picture of the thyroid gland.
Thyroid Stimulating Antibodies (TSAs)
Immune system proteins that attach to thyroid cells and stimulate the gland to produce more hormone.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that increases activity of the thyroid.
Surgical removal of some or all of the thyroid gland.

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