Living Well with Hypothyroidism, Revised Edition: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You...that

Living Well with Hypothyroidism, Revised Edition: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You...that

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by Mary J. Shomon

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The Most Comprehensive Resource Available on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Hypothyroidism

For millions of Americans, hypothyroidism often goes untreated ... or is treated improperly. This book, thoroughly researched by the nation's top thyroid patient advocate—a hypothyroidism patient herself—provides you with answers to


The Most Comprehensive Resource Available on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Hypothyroidism

For millions of Americans, hypothyroidism often goes untreated ... or is treated improperly. This book, thoroughly researched by the nation's top thyroid patient advocate—a hypothyroidism patient herself—provides you with answers to all your questions, including:

  • What is hypothyroidism?
  • What are the warning signs, symptoms, and risk factors?
  • Why is getting diagnosed often a challenge, and how can you overcome the obstacles?
  • What treatments are available (including those your doctor hasn't told you about)?
  • Which alternative and holistic therapies, nutritional changes, and supplements may help treat hypothyroidism?

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Living Well with Hypothyroidism Rev Ed

What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You... That You Need to Know
By Shomon, Mary J.


ISBN: 0060740957

Chapter 1

What is Hypothyroidism?

They do certainly give very strange, and newfangled,
names to diseases.

The thyroid is not a particularly well-known or well-understood organ in the body. Some people have a vague idea of the thyroid as something in the neck that, when malfunctioning, makes you gain weight or develop a goiter. That's about all the information marry people can muster.

The thyroid gland, however, is an essential organ, governing basic aspects of nearly every facet of your health. In the long term, you can't live without the hormones produced by your thyroid. Those hormones regulate the body's use of energy, an essential function to life and health.

What Is The Thyroid?

The thyroid gland is shaped a little like a butterfly, and is located in the lower part of your neck, in front of your windpipe. You'll know generally where the thyroid is located if you think of it as sitting behind the Adam's apple, which usually sticks out farther from a man's neck than from a woman's.

The name "thyroid" comes from the Greek word, thyreoeides, meaning "shield-shaped." The two "wings" of the butterfly are known as the lobes of the thyroid, and the areaconnecting the two lobes is known as the isthmus. It's a small gland, and normally weighs only about an ounce.

Roughly speaking, a gland is a discrete and separate soft body made up of a large number of vessels that produce, store, and release-or secrete-some substance. Your thyroid is one of these glands.

Some glands secrete their products outside the body, some inside. Those that secrete their products on the inside of the body and, more specifically, secrete hormonal and metabolic substances, are known as endocrine glands. The thyroid is an endocrine gland, as are the parathyroids, the adrenal gland, the pancreas, and the pituitary gland. Diabetes, like thyroid disease, is considered an endocrine disorder. A doctor who specializes in treating patients with endocrine problems is called an endocrinologist.

Hormones are internal secretions carried in the blood to various organs. The thyroid's main purpose is to produce, store, and release two key thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Thyroid cells are the only body cells that are able to absorb iodine. The thyroid takes in iodine, obtained through food, iodized salt, or supplements, and combines that iodine with the amino acid tyrosine, converting the iodine/tyrosine combination into T3 and T4. The "3" and the "4" refer to the number of iodine molecules in each thyroid hormone molecule. A healthy, functioning thyroid produces about 80 percent T4 and 20 percent T3. T3 is considered the biologically active hormone and is several times stronger than T4.

The T3 and T4 thyroid hormones travel through the bloodstream throughout the body helping cells to convert oxygen and calories into energy. Thyroid hormones control metabolism-the process by which oxygen and calories are converted to energy for use by cells and organs. There's not a single cell in your body that doesn't depend on thyroid hormone for regulation and for energy in some form.

The thyroid produces some T3, but the rest of the T3 needed by the body is actually formed from the mostly inactive T4 by the removal of one iodine molecule, a process sometimes referred to as T4 to T3 conversion, or by the more scientific term mono-deiodination. This conversion of T4 to T3 can take place in some organs other than the thyroid, including the hypothalamus, a part of your brain.

Now that you have some idea of what the thyroid is and its location and function, let's look in more detail at how it fits into the overall functioning of the body.

The Thyroid Gland: Setting the Pace

When the thyroid works normally, it produces and secretes the amount of T4 and T3 necessary to keep many bodily functions at their proper pace. However, the thyroid does not do this alone. It works instead as part of a system that also includes the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. The pituitary gland is another endocrine gland, located at the base of your brain.

Here's how the system works. The hypothalamus constantly monitors the pace of many of the body's functions. It also monitors and reacts to a number of other factors, including outside environmental factors such as heat, cold, and stress. If the hypothalamus senses that certain adjustments are needed to react to any of these factors, then it produces thyrotropin-releasing hormone, (TRH).TRH is sent from the hypothalamus to the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland then produces a substance called thyrotropin, which is also known as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). The pituitary gland also monitors the body and can release TSH based on the thyroid hormones in the blood. TSH is sent to the thyroid gland, where it causes production, storage, and release of more T3 and T4.

Released thyroid hormones move into the bloodstream, carried by a plasma protein known as thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG).

Now in the bloodstream, the thyroid hormone travels throughout the body, carrying orders to the various bodily organs. Upon arriving at a particular tissue in the body, thyroid hormones interact with receptors located inside the nucleus of the cells. Interaction of the -hormone and the receptor will trigger a certain function, giving directions to that tissue regarding the rate at which it should operate.

When the hypothalamus senses that the need for increased thyroid hormone production has ended, it reduces production of TRH, the pituitary decreases production of TSH, and production of the thyroid hormone, in turn, decreases. By this system, many of the body's organs are kept working at the proper pace. Continues...

Excerpted from Living Well with Hypothyroidism Rev Ed by Shomon, Mary J. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Diagnosed with a thyroid disease in 1995, Mary J. Shomon has transformed her health challenges into a mission as an internationally known patient advocate. She is the founder and editor in chief of several thyroid, autoimmune, and nutrition newsletters, as well as the Internet’s most popular thyroid disease website, She lives in Kensington, Maryland.

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Living Well with Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You.... That You Need to Know 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There's an epidemic of hypothyroidism in this country, affecting at least 13 million men, women and children. Many of these patients have been frustrated by their doctors' failure to properly diagnose or effectively treat them. Mary Shomon is the ideal patient advocate -- a hypothyroid patient who has not only been there and done that but also been motivated to thoroughly research this subject and present health-saving information in plain English. Shomon is also one of the few thyroid experts who has clearly identified soyfoods, soy milk and soy infant formula as contributors to the epidemic of thyroid problems experienced in this country. This is the #1 book I recommend to clients with thyroid disease or thyroid-related health problems such as infertility, fatigue, brain fog and weight gain.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think I have read every thyroid book on the market and didn't expect this one to contain any life-changing information... I was VERY pleasantly surprised! I not only learned a great deal (Mary Shomon writes from a patient's standpoint and gives a wonderful perspective on the subject), but I enjoyed simply reading the book. I especially appreciated the suggestions provided by others who, like me, are suffering from Hypothyroidism. The resource section at the end of the book is outstanding - absolutely one of the best compilations you'll find. I have frequented Mary's website often, and this book is another extension of her work. Thank you, Mary - we appreciate you!
TamiJane More than 1 year ago
Too many people are affected by misdiagnosed illnesses out there, that could have been corrected with their thyroid being treated for hypothyroidism. I am one of them. Dozens of specialists from different fields, too many pills, doctors wanting to do surgery, when all I needed was for ONE to LISTEN to what was going on with my body, REALLY LOOK at indepth bloodwork, and say everything points to HYPOTHYROIDISM.Finally one says, "No one has put you on thyroid medicine?!" Nope. With in a few days my body was responding!!! This doctor thinks we might be able to take me off those other meds ( for high cholestrol, migraines, & fibromyalgia ) in 3 months. The way I feel after just 1 month, I think she just might be right! If not you, it can be a loved one or a friend that is being affected by hypothyroidism. People do not understand what the thyroid is much less how much it effects your body and its functions! I lost several years to it. Too many Doctors do not understand it and its symptoms! But they will act like they do! Mary Shomon's book is a gift of knowlege that I wish doctors would read. You can use this knowledge to give yourself a fighting change in the " practicing art of medicine" and please, keep searching for a doctor who will LISTEN to you!! This book can help you to finally be able to have a life that is "Living Well With Hypothyroidism" Ms. Shomon relieves you, that you are not crazy, not alone,and that there are just TOO MANY doctors out there that do NOT understand the thyroid!! THANK YOU!!! Those crazy symptoms and complaints, that list that seems endless, can all be from hypothyroidism. Her information is clear, and not heavily full of medical jargon, so the average person stays involved reading gaining valuble knowledge. Getting this book is well worth the investment!
tburns01 More than 1 year ago
I have almost read this entire book cover to cover and I have learned so much about hypothyroidism. I have been living with this condition for several years, popping my Synthroid pill every morning and never giving it much thought. Mary Shomon presents a comprehensive look into hypothyroidism - the potential causes, symptoms, medications, etc. She puts everything right out there. She understands that every person is different and does not push a single viewpoint. I am experiencing some side effects from synthroid and from what I learned from this book, I am ready to make a switch (I didn't know I had options before I read this book). It is a must read for anyone who wants to learn more about this condition.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great book to get started with. I know very little about thyroid disorders and 'Living Well with Hypothyroidism' helped me learn the basics of thyroid related problems and what I should expect throughout my treatment. I knew something was wrong with my body but my doctors dismissed my symptoms as being something else. It was my thyroid all along! Shomon's book is extremely helpful especially since she is a thyroid patient herself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book helped me in ways I would not have thought possible, and with this new insight gave me the courage to request the much needed referral to an endocrinologist I should have been seeing 2+ years ago!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a Thyroid Patient and would like to rate this book. The book includes everything you need to know to be knowledgeable about Thyroid Disease, from symptoms to how to feel well. Information is provided in a well organized format. If you're new to Thyroid Disease this book is an excellent introduction. If you're more experienced with Thyroid Disease, this is a great book to have because it provides a lot of information that your doctor doesn't tell you. And in plain English that you can understand! A worthwhile book to read for anyone with Thyroid Disease.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the must read book for people with any type of thyroid disease, but especially those of us who are hypothyroid. It is the single, most comprehensive source I have seen in my 43 years of struggling with this illness. No doctor, no single web site, no article, nor any other book so simply and easily provides the solid, researched information as is found here. The author herself is a thyroid patient. This woman knows what she's talking about, and she fairly presents all sides to various aspects of treatment. I can't recommend this outstanding book enough.
JoannaU17 More than 1 year ago
A relief book Loved this book was really helpful it gave me knowledge about my condition help me be confident at doctors office and know what kind of questions to ask and what to relate and find out other symptoms I had and other conditions due to my thyroid. I really recommend this book..
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EdieDew More than 1 year ago
This is an important book for anyone who has Hypothyroidism.
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