Today, I’d like to talk to you about thyroid disease. It’s estimated that 59 million Americans have thyroid disease being either hypo (too low) or hyper (too high). They are opposites on the thyroid functioning spectrum with treatment of one sometimes resulting in the other. Iodine can improve your thyroid function, which can help improve your weight loss efforts. Without sufficient iodine in your system your thyroid cannot produce T4. This causes your pituitary gland to increase its output of TSH, which can lead to an enlarged thyroid gland, or goiter. A goiter is often a symptom of hypothyroidism. You can increase the amount of iodine present in your diet by adding seafood such as salmon, haddock and shrimp. Eggs are also rich sources of iodine. Vegetables that provide significant amounts of iodine include mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, lima beans and garlic. Iodine is also available in supplemental form, but talk with your doctor before you begin use.
In this procedure, a single injection of radioactive Iodine-131 is given to your cat subcutaneously or intravenously. Occasionally, a second dose is required. Because iodine migrates to the cat’s thyroid gland, the concentration of this special iodine there becomes great enough to kill the overactive hypothyroidism cells that utilize iodine to produce thyroid hormone. Usually, enough normal and dormant cells are left to make all the thyroid hormone your cat will need in the future. But about 5% of the cats will need daily, life-long supplemental thyroid hormone in pill form after the procedure.
If you suffer from hypothyroidism then all junk food and refined and processed foods – including processed milk and milk products – must be eliminated. Also avoid coffee and switch to green tea instead (green tea is incredibly good for you!). And definitely no carbonated drinks or soft drinks (they leach minerals from the body at a rapid rate) and be sure to drink lots of filtered water every day. Finally, you must avoid all soy products and goitrogens (cruciferous vegetables), along with all polyunsaturated oils and vegetable oils. These are some of the main causes and culprits that exacerbate hypothyroidism and it’s symptoms. As an alternative for the oils, use coconut oil in your cooking instead.
Now, if the serum T4 is below normal and the TSH is clearly high at 3 or 6 months (or later), then the cat has overt hypothyroidism (no longer subclinical) and I would definitely supplement with L-T4 (2-4). Many of these treat hypothyroidism cats are still not very symptomatic, but that may simply be a matter of time. If left untreated for 1 to 2 years, most of those cats will develop classical signs of hypothyroidism (eg, lethargy, hair loss, etc).
Radioactive what? A common treatment for hyperthyroid, is radioactive iodine. YES, the call in the hazmat squad” kind of radioactive material. The thyroid absorbs the radiation which kills all or most of the gland. Each patient receives the same amount of radioactive iodine in spite of sex, age or weight. In some cases they will maintain some thyroid function and continue producing the hormone; but in most cases, like with Marne, all or most of the gland will be destroyed and the patient will go the opposite direction and become hypothyroid where not enough hormone is secreted.
In order to do this, they not only will look at the standard thyroid blood tests that most doctors look at (TSH, T3, T4, etc.), but many also recommend additional tests. For example, many natural doctors will recommend an adrenal stress index test (ASI), which will help to evaluate the function of your adrenal glands. Or they might recommend a male or female hormone panel to determine if there are any hormonal imbalances. Other doctors might want to perform tests to determine if you have any nutritional deficiencies.