Thursday, December 4, 2008

Stephanie is getting old.

For the last few months I have been struggling with some health issues. The headaches and nausea that went on for days on end were the worst. Multiple chiropractic visits did nothing to alleviate the pain when usually this is all it would take. My energy was almost non existent and I was sleeping a lot. The house is in a shambles and my mood was depressed. After trying to get into the doctor, any doctor, for weeks. I finally saw my GYN.

Blood Pressure

At the time of my appointment my blood pressure was 189/110. Yowsa! Heart attack, here I come! The doctor put me on a diuretic which she doubles a couple weeks later to better manage the blood pressure.
Diuretics lower blood pressure by causing the body to rid itself of excess fluids and sodium through urination. If the desired effects aren't achieved with diuretics alone, in combination they may enhance the effect of other blood pressure medications.

Many people have high blood pressure and do not even know it until their major organs start feeling the effects, i.e. heart. This is why high blood pressure is called the silent killer. Symptoms include:

blurred vision
water retention

If you want to know where your blood pressure lies on in relationship to the AHA's grid here is some information for you.

American Heart Association recommended blood pressure levels

Blood Pressure Category Systolic
(mm Hg)

(mm Hg)
Normal less than 120 and less than 80
Prehypertension 120–139 or 80–89


Stage 1 140–159 or 90–99
Stage 2 160 or higher or 100 or higher

I returned to my doctor for a follow up 2 weeks ago and received the results of my blood tests.


It seems my thyroid is not being managed with the synthroid I am taking. My T4 was only .41 and they like to see it at 1.50. I have an underactive thyroid which was diagnosed after 2 miscarriages in 2002.

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body lacks sufficient thyroid hormone. Since the main purpose of thyroid hormone is to "run the body's metabolism", it is understandable that people with this condition will have symptoms associated with a slow metabolism. In my case, the cause is inflammation of the thyroid gland which leaves a large percentage of the cells of the thyroid damaged (or dead) and incapable of producing sufficient hormone. The most common cause of thyroid gland failure is called autoimmune thyroiditis or Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

The function of the thyroid gland is to take iodine, found in many foods, and convert it into thyroid hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Thyroid cells are the only cells in the body which can absorb iodine. These cells combine iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to make T3 and T4. T3 and T4 are then released into the blood stream and are transported throughout the body where they control metabolism (conversion of oxygen and calories to energy). Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of their metabolism. The normal thyroid gland produces about 80% T4 and about 20% T3, however, T3 possesses about four times the hormone "strength" as T4.

These are symptoms of Hypothyroidism:
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight
  • Coarse, dry hair
  • Dry, rough pale skin
  • Hair loss
  • Cold intolerance (can't tolerate the cold like those around you)
  • Muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Decreased libido
Carbohydrate intolerance/insulin resistance

When I told my doctor that even with the diuretic I was still getting headaches and nausea we continued to talk until she suspected that I am having issues with simple sugars. She referred to this as insulin intolerance. Here is what I found on the web to clarify what she was saying.

Carbohydrate intolerance/insulin resistance is a term used to signify that the body's cells have become resistant to the insulin produced by the pancreas due to too much stress. In a normal person, about 40% of consumed carbohydrates are converted to fat. In a person with CI, that number increases to 50-60%. The excess insulin can cause blood sugar to drop too quickly, and then the adrenal glands must kick in to get the blood sugar back up. Not only will this cause more stress on the adrenal glands, but usually too much glucose is released, further causing the pancreas to produce more insulin. Around and around it goes. Eventually, the body must produce more and insulin to metabolize the same amount of glucose. CI is caused by a number of factors; some of the more common reasons are increased stress hormones, a diet containing hydrogenated fats, a food allergy (milk is the most common as it has been shown to attack the beta cells of the pancreas - this is why children under 1 year old are advised not to consume dairy), too high of a carbohydrate intake, and caffeine. Insulin resistance can cause the following:
  • Block major hormones including DHEA and the conversion of T4 to T3 ( this related to hypothyroidism.) as well as lowering growth hormones.
  • Elevates blood pressure
  • Elevates Triglucerides and LDL, the "BAD" cholesterol.
  • Causes an increased chance to gain weight int he upper body.
  • Cause PMS and Polycystic ovaries in women
  • Decreases energy output, especially after eating.
  • Gives a craving for sugar - A "sweet tooth"
  • Cuases the hands to go numb and "fall asleep" at night, or induce a "pins and needles" feeling" down the hands, especially during exercise.
  • Causes irritability

My Treatments

Weight loss - blood pressure
Exercise - all
Diuretic - blood pressure
Increase synthroid from .125 to .150 - thyroid
Limit intake of simple carbs - carbohydrate intolerance

**If a symptom pertains to me I have put it in brown.


Elysa said...


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