43: How to Get a Correct Thyroid Diagnosis

How to Get a Correct Thyroid Diagnoses Transcript

We’re in the midst of a podcast series all about thyroid health. In this episode, I’m excited to introduce you to thyroid specialist Dr. Izabella Wentz. Dr. Wentz’s expertise has been spurred on by her own personal struggle with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Through extensive research as well as trial and error on herself, Dr. Wentz has greatly improved her condition. And she will be sharing her knowledge with us on the podcast for the next three episodes!

Getting a Correct Diagnoses for Thyroid Disease

Dr. Wentz and I have had similar journeys with thyroid disease. Both of us experienced the frustration of recurring symptoms while receiving “normal” test results from doctors. For me specifically, stress, lack of sleep, unhealthy eating and pregnancy all acted as triggers for thyroid disease symptoms. I felt cold all of the time, experienced hair loss, and I had trouble losing weight after the baby was born. I actually went through 8 doctors before I was able to get a correct diagnoses for thyroid disease.

The primary way doctors will check thyroid function in a person is with a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test. This test is ideal in advanced stages of thyroid disease, but can actually vary in accuracy for someone in their first 5-10 years of thyroid disease symptoms because of the fluctuation of thyroid hormone levels.

There are alternative tests that Dr. Wentz recommends, however. She first mentions testing thyroid peroxidase antibodies, which are elevated in people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Another valuable test is a thyroid ultrasound, for people who may have seronegative Hashimoto’s. So even if your TSH levels appear normal, it is worth taking additional tests if you’re experiencing the symptoms of thyroid disease.

If you’re looking for a doctor who will test your properly for thyroid disease, Dr. Wentz recommends asking the following questions:

  1. Does the doctor test for thyroid antibodies?
  2. What kind of thyroid medications do they prescribe?
  3. Does the doctor have a root cause approach?

If the doctor’s office only gives one type of test and one type of medication, that is a red flag, because there is such a diversity of causes and corresponding effective treatments.

Different Types of Thyroid Disease

Understanding the different types of thyroid disease will help you get a correct diagnoses. These types include Hashimoto’s, hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is a state of not having enough thyroid hormone. Symptoms include hair loss, fatigue, cold intolerance, eyebrow loss, difficulty losing weight, and depression. This condition can be cause by an iodine deficiency, or as is common in the Western part of the world, hypothyroidism is actually caused by Hashimoto’s.

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition that results in the breakdown of thyroid tissue to the point where the person can no longer produce thyroid hormone.

Hyperthyroidism, also known as overactive thyroid, is a condition of having too much thyroid hormone. Common symptoms include palpitations, excess sweating, excess anxiety, tremors, excess weight gain, and protrusion of the eyes. The primary cause of hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune condition called Graves disease, which essentially causes the thyroid gland to lose control of hormone production.

Resources I Mention

Get the Overcoming Thyroid Fatigue Guide!

If you struggle with thyroid disease or symptoms, get a free copy of Dr. Izabella Wentz’s “Overcoming Thyroid Fatigue Guide” by clicking here.

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Reader Comments

  1. Wow! I thought I knew about thyroid disease, both hypo- and hyper-, but I wasn’t sure what the Hashimotos was. It actually causes hypothyroidism? This was news to me. I also appreciate knowing the different tests that can be done besides the TSH, which is what I am always required to get, as well as taking the “standard” med. I am on 75 mg, and I still have the symptoms. My annual physical is this month, and a blood test is always done a week before. I will be asking my doctor about these alternative tests. Thanks so much for providing this free interview to help shine more light on our health issues.

  2. This is a great explanation. I have had the antibody testing and been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, but I’m blessed to not have the extremes that she mentioned. I try to keep my thyroid in check with my diet and natural supplements. Thank you for doing this!

  3. Thank you for the vital information. I have a lot of thyroid history of mostly women who have had goiters. I have some vague symptoms but am not sure if I have anything specific. My TSA goes up and down and now last year they found a nodule on my thyroid. I am still confused about my symptoms being under or over active, but I suppose time will tell. I really appreciate both of you taking the time to clarify some symptoms for me.

  4. Such an excellent podcast with valuable information. I’m going through–what I’ll call–my own personal h*ll trying to discover what on earth is going on with my enlarged/messed up/confused thyroid, and this helped me so much. Throughout the entire discussion I could hear my inner voice saying “yep, have that; yep, that’s me; yep, that’s how I’ve felt” and “holy moly–yes! I think I’m among those who were misdiagnosed and treated with the wrong medications for over a decade!” I feel adequately equipped to face the several doctors I’ve been seeing, and I will not be one bit shy to ask these questions so that I can get to the bottom of this. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  5. I found your information very helpful. How would you go about finding a good doctor in my area who would test properly for thyroid issues? Thanks for your help.

  6. What range on a TPOAB bloodwork is indicative of Hashimotos? I have been on armour thyroid for at least 3 years, but no one ever tested my antibodies. My OB actually does the bloodwork, she was basically operating under the belief that I have Hashimotos and that is why I’m hypothyroid. My TPOAB came back as 48 ( they have reference range as 0-34), would that indicate Hashimotos, or is it not high enough? I can’t find anything anywhere that answers that.

  7. The issue with Hashimoto’s is that your TSH can normalize while your body is slowly and quietly destroying your thyroid gland and your doctor has no clue because the level of destruction hasn’t yet triggered an abnormal TSH reading .Your TPOAB would return to normal either because your thyroid gland has been destroyed or because the disease is in remission.

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