Friday, May 25, 2007

The "Mini Me" Thyroid And MS Lecture...Just When You Thought I Couldn't Lull You To Sleep!..

Well, as promised, because I am NOT one to go back on a “promise” (oh, sure…I’ll LIE my arse off, but NEVER break a promise!), I give you the Mini Me Thyroid lecture. And, as usual, this post is comprised of a pinch of medical knowledge, a touch of research, and an ounce of black magic! LOL

I suppose I should first start out talking about the ever-popular thyroid…or as I like to refer to it, “that lump in my throat”. The thyroid gland IS located in the neck region of the body just below the larynx (otherwise known as the ”Adam’s Apple”) or the “voice box”. This highly popular gland sits just below the protruding neck bulge in males (women have a “voice box”, too…it just doesn’t protrude like it does in men). One of the thyroid’s primary responsibilities is to squirt out a hormone called Thyroxine. Thyroxine controls and regulates body metabolism. But the production of Thyroxine is dependent upon an appropriate intake of protein and iodine AND another little gland, called the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is an entirely different and complicated gland, but trust me when I say it works in tandem with the thyroid by releasing yet ANOTHER important hormone called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH, for all you peeps who wondered what those abbreviations were on your lab reports). TSH stimulates the thyroid to release the Thyroxine, thus stimulating your metabolism…is anyone LOST yet?!?

Thyroxine production from the thyroid can also be dependent upon a number of other environmental factors, such as psychological stress, prolonged exposure to the cold or excessive heat, ingestion of certain drugs, and I believe also the planetary alignments (that planetary suggestion is where the black magic comes in…LOL).

There are three, main types of thyroid dysfunction: 1. An enlarged thyroid (goiter), 2. hyperthyroidism (Grave’s Disease), or 3. hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s Disease). You can also get thyroid cancer and an inflammation of the thyroid gland, but why bring up THOSE subjects here when there are soooo many other interesting topics to discuss?!?

There are a whole bunch of lab/blood tests doctors can look at to determine how well your thyroid is functioning. The most common labs you’ll get BILLED for are testing your T3, T4, and TSH levels. I’m not going to go into a long and drawn out discussion of what each of these “levels” are measuring…basically, because I went to school like a hundred years ago and I can’t really recall! But the “biggie” is the TSH level. Doctors LOVE to test your TSH level…and the funny thing is, unless they are an endocrinologist, THEY probably don’t remember what T3 and T4 stand for either! But I digress…

The MAJOR and BIG connection you should remember (because there WILL be a test on this after class…LOL) is, both Grave’s Disease and Hashimoto’s Disease are thought to be AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS…now, doesn’t THAT little fact ring a bell??? Uhhh…Multiple Sclerosis anyone? Remember MS is an autoimmune disorder as well??? And there is some belief out there (and even current studies being done) that people with MS will OFTEN have a clustering of autoimmune disorders or quite often at LEAST have more than one autoimmune disorder going on.

Now I CAN’T possibly pass up this opportunity to give you a LIST of some of the more common clustering of autoimmune disorders seen with MS…I’ll get back to the thyroid in a minute, so hold your horses! Autoimmune diseases that are reported to occur more frequently than expected in patients with MS include:

• inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)

• type 1 diabetes mellitus

• pernicious anemia (vitamin B12 deficiency)

• thyroid disease (Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis)

• uveitis (inflammation of the eye)

• seronegative spondyloarthropathies (diseases that cause inflammation in specific areas of the body, particularly in parts of the spine and at other joints where tendons attach to bones)

• myasthenia gravis (disorder of neuromuscular transmission)

• rheumatoid arthritis

• psoriasis

Dammit, Jim! And I thought having MS was enough!

So, back to the exciting thyroid. LOL Let’s start with hyperthyroidism. When the “roid” begins to over react/activate, it’s never a “good thing” even by Martha Stewart’s standards. The gland goes out of control and secrets TOO MUCH thyroid hormone and people feel like crap…but they’re usually to “sped up” to stop long enough to care! Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism (or Grave’s Disease, if it’s really bad) are:

**Nervousness, agitation, irritability, ravenous appetite (but often still with weight loss because the metabolism is running on over time), diarrhea, heat intolerance, major sweating, rapid heart rate, tremors and uncoordinated movement, and a VERY CYCLIC MOOD (see, I promised you some psych information here, Have Myelin!)…one tends to look a bit psychotic over time with hyperthyroidism…”one” could find themselves locked up in a psychiatric hospital before it is discovered it is a thyroid problem, too! LOL And let me not forget to mention a fancy term here called, “Exophthalmos”, otherwise known as “Marty Feldman” eyes.**

When experiencing HYPOthyroidism, there is not ENOUGH Thyroxine floating around in the system. It tends to look and manifest almost exactly opposite as hyperthyroidism (Grave’s Disease). The worst forms of hypothyroidism are called, “Hashimoto’s Disease” or “Myxedema”. This is most commonly what we middle-aged women might develop, but in a milder form than Hashimoto’s or Myxedema. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

**Fatigue, lethargy, mild sensitivity to cold, dry skin and hair, constipation, forgetfulness, depression, apathy (there’s the psych issue again), mild to moderate weight gain, and a generalized feeling like a “slug” disorder. Now don’t THESE symptoms sound an awful like some associated with that “other” autoimmune disease (MS)?**

If you are into making mountains out of mole hills (and God knows, I am), there was a study done in 2005 and published in the Journal of Autoimmune Diseases that suggests there really IS a significant co-occurrence of thyroid disorders and MS. Here’s a link: . That is, if you are INTO reading this sort of medical mush. LOL

I hope this answers some of those questions all y’all were commenting on here at “Cheese”…I don’t claim to know much at all about thyroid disorders…frankly, I don’t claim to know much at all about ANYTHING! I suggest if you think you ARE having some kind of problem with your own “roid”, you consult your doctor or go see an endocrinologist. And if THAT fails, may I suggest seeing a priest…LOL…


Anonymous said...

Now that is quite a lot about the thyroid! But putting my roid rage aside, I'm writing in a rare quiet moment to tell you that you are the Queen of Cubano, the Siren of Smoke, the Czarina of Cigars, the Titania of Tobacco, the Fuhrer of Fumes, the Sultana of Stogies. Haven't tried it yet but the anticipation is delightful in itself. You rock! And, of course, I don't mean that you are a rock. You're just the best. R.

harkoo said...

Thank you for taking the time to investigate the MS/Thyroid link--your article was very interesting. I remember enjoying learning about these things when i studied nursing in college. The only difficulty came when i had to apply it to real people and deal with them! I would rather be alone thank you. The MS/thyroid difficulties occuring in my body just made a delightful mix for me to be a psych nurse!!!! lol



Oh, you are SO NOT "anonymous" here on CHEESE anymore! Are you just sitting around sniffing that ceegar or what?!? Fidel would probably prefer you SMOKE it! LOL

The Siren of Smoke...I like that one...


mdmhvonpa said...

Hmmmm ... whenever I start talking about 'Mini-Me' and glands ... well, it is typically reserved for 'romantic' moments. About 7.5 minutes worth.



Investigating??? You mean I was supposed to "investigate" what I wrote and NOT just make it all up??? Oops...

**Trying to delete said article now** LOL




I WILL ban you from leaving comments here if YOU DO NOT write a post on your own blog...

You big tease...7.5 minutes! LOL


Miss Chris said...

My doctor once told me I had Hashimoto's thyroiditis because my level was soooooooooo high. She retested me a month later and it was normal so she chalked it up to a lab error and that I was fine after all. This was about 10 years before my MS diagnosis. Kind of makes me wonder if it was some freak autoimmune response after all. Hmmm.



I think ALL autoimmune disorders are cause for "freakdom"...let's face it...our bodies are attacking us! How friggin' freaky is THAT?!?


harkoo said...

I want to assure everyone that I realized i was on the wrong path, and saved some patients a terrible fate by becoming a portrait artist--i was able to spend my time alone in my studio which was good for me--i was there drawing a little dog's nose (lol)on the day i had my first thyroid attack when my heart rate went to 180 in one hour. Scary stuff because there was nothing stressful happening at all to cause it to flare.

Have myelin? said...

Thyroid is a dirty word in my book on any day. I so hate those glands!

I see uveitis on your list. I had that once when I was 38. Huh. Another MySterious connection.

My mom has RA. My father has diabetes. Alright, so everything's contagious, passed down and there's no escaping! LOL...



With YOUR genetic history, it looks like you're screwed! LOL

Ah, such is life with MS...


angel said...

cheese or no cheese, keep on eating
all that is some more cheese, doctors haven`t had enough
training to find most of the cheese.
so my advice is go and find all the cheese and ram it down your doctors - well you know what i mean.

Melissa said...

Very informative!! The best way I can describe it is by comparing it to having a massive shot of caffeine at 5am every day. Thyroid Disorders San Antonio TX

Aussie Michelle said...

Thanks, that's very interesting in light of my current thyroid issues, recent muscle spasms, ongoing psoriasis and apparently MS too. I have a friend who is an alternative doctor. He was telling me of a theory which involves healthfulness by way of cutting grains out of one's diet. I am exploring all options since my brain seems to think that my body is invading itself and needs to be thwarted.