Patient Profile–Thyroid Health

Patient Profile                                                                                                                                                   by Kameron Hodges, RN

In December 2011, a young, single mom came to the clinic saying that she felt like “her body was shutting down.” She was suffering with severe fatigue, irritability and mood swings, as well as anxiety, depression, and lack of concentration. She had difficulty sleeping at night, yet struggled to stay awake at her job.

Her weight gain was so sudden and noticeable; she said, “it felt like someone was airing up a balloon inside me.”  In addition to these symptoms, she complained of painfully achy joints and muscles, irregular menstrual cycles, itchy skin, dizziness and lightheadedness. What concerned her the most, however, was the numbness and tingling in her arms and legs. Her primary care physician, concerned she had early signs of multiple sclerosis (MS), prescribed an expensive and uncomfortable MRI scan.

Once at the Riordan Clinic, a thorough medical history, focused assessment, and series of laboratory tests were completed.  It was determined she was suffering from a low functioning thyroid, or hypothyroidism. Lab results revealed that although she had a normal Free Triiodothyronine (T3) level and her Free Thyroxine (T4) was moderately low, her Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) was 20 times that of a normal level. Results like this indicate that the pituitary gland has recognized that the thyroid function is compromised. After this recognition, the pituitary gland then attempts to boost the thyroid by secreting excessive amounts of TSH.

Once the problem was identified, treatment could begin.  The patient was placed on Armour Thyroid, a desiccated (dried) porcine thyroid, which is a natural alternative to commonly prescribed synthetic thyroid replacement therapies. Shortly after beginning treatment, all of her symptoms improved, some disappearing all together. Over the months following her visit to the Riordan Clinic, the weight she gained has come off with little effort. Overall, she reports a better quality of life, for herself and her family.