Thyroid Disease Treatments
Millions of Americans have thyroid disease and do not know it. Are you one of them?
Dr. Feng Liang has been treating women and men with thyroid disease in New York City for the last 20+ years. Her synthesis of acupuncture, Chinese herbs, diet and lifestyle modifications have been extremely effective. These treatments have helped people:
- to completely stop taking Synthroid and other medications (or at least reduce the dosage)
- to avoid radiation therapy and removal of their thyroid
- to regain the energies that they haven’t had for years
- to improve their moods
- to lose weight
Thyroid disease, which includes hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiters and nodules, can cause serious health issues including cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, congestive heart failure, osteoporosis, and diabetes. The tiny butterfly shaped thyroid gland located at the base of our throat produces hormones that control every function of our body. Thyroid hormone affects the mood, energy, skin, hair, nails, sex drive, heart function, cholesterol, body temperature, joint pain, muscle aches, infertility, and metabolism.
Read a review in Yelp from “EZ” who writes about How Dr. Liang’s treatment saved her thyroid from radiation therapy.
You can also read testimonials submitted by Dr. Liang’s patients.
Types of Thyroid Disease
Hypothyroidism: This is the most common of thyroid diseases where the thyroid function is under active which means that the thyroid gland cannot create the normal amount of thyroid hormone. The treatment for this condition includes a prescribed medication named “Synthroid”, radiation therapy, and when necessary, surgical removal of the thyroid.
The most frequent cause is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, damages the thyroid cells and compromises their ability to make thyroid hormone. Symptoms include weight gain, fatigue, drowsiness, forgetfulness, muscle weakness or soreness, joint pain, increase sensitivity to cold, difficulty concentrating, dry and brittle hair and nail, loss of hair, dry and itchy skin, puffy face, water retention in the hand and feet, low sex drive, high cholesterol, excessive menstrual bleeding.
Hyperthyroidism: This is when the thyroid is over active, producing too much thyroid hormone. The common cause is the autoimmune disorder Graves’ disease. Symptoms include weight loss, increased appetite, rapid or irregular heartbeat, palpitation, bulging eyes, eye irritation, anxiety, mood swings, insomnia, trembling in the hands and fingers, increased sweating, muscle weakness, diarrhea and light menstrual flow.
Nodules: This is marked by a swelling in one part of thyroid gland. It is very common in woman around the age of 50. Most people have no symptoms.
Goiters: This is marked by an enlargement of the thyroid gland. Goiters can be a symptom in both Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s disease.
Testing for Thyroid Disease
Hyperthyroidism-Free T3 and Free T4: The normal T3 level is between 240 and 450 pictogram per deciliter. The normal T4 level is between 0.9 and 1.8 nanogram per deciliter. If the T3 or T4 level is too high above these ranges, it indicates the thyroid gland is over active.
Hypothyroidism-Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH): Increased TSH level in the blood is the most accurate indicator pf hypothyroidism. TSH is produced by the pituitary gland which is located in the center of the head behind the nose. When the thyroid gland is too sluggish to produce the hormone, the TSH will rise dramatically. The normal range is from 0.3 to 3 according to American Academy of Clinical Endocrinologists. But some doctors think any score higher than 2 indicates hypothyroidism.
Free T3 and Free T4-Two Active Thyroid Hormone In The Blood Stream. The normal range of T4 and T3 is listed above. A low level of T4 and T3 is considered deficient thyroid hormone. However, Free T4 or T3 in the normal range may actually appear in a patient who has thyroid hormone deficiency since a high level of TSH stimulation may keep the Free T4 and Free T3 levels in “normal range” for many years.
Test Your Body Temperature
Take the temperature first thing in the morning. If it is lower than 97.6 degree 5 days in a row, you may want to consider visiting your doctor or an endocrinologist to have your thyroid function checked.
Medications Used to Treat Thyroid Disease
For Hypothyroidism: Levoxyl, Synthroid, Levothroid, and Unithroid.
For Hyperthyroidism: Propylthiouracil and Methimazole (Tapazole)
Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment of Thyroid Disease
The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system which starts from the pituitary gland in the brain to the adrenal glands on the kidney. Too much mental stress or physical stress will increase the cortisol production in our body which leads to the thyroid gland slowing down the production of thyroid hormone.
According to Traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is the organ in charge of stress. If our body is overloaded with stress (mental, physical, environmental), and/or the medicine we take for certain health issues, the organ affected is the involved is liver. The liver is responsible for detoxification and caused liver Qi depression that leads to the creation of heat toxins in the body. If the toxins are not eliminated properly, it can make the immune system (which is designed to protect the body against invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances) mistakenly recognize the thyroid cells as foreign tissue. The immune system produces the antibodies that may destroy the thyroid cells. As a result, hypothyroidism occurs.
At the Fifth Avenue Acupuncture & Herbs Center, we see patients with hypothyroidism with many symptoms described at the beginning of this article. They appear with a swollen tongue that is pale and purple in color. The tongue appears thick with a greasy coating on the tongue. These patients also have a deep and taut pulse with a weakened kidney pulse. These conditions indicate a disorder in the liver, spleen and kidney. The treatment for these conditions is to detoxify the liver, strengthen the kidney and spleen.
Dr. Feng Liang has used acupuncture for hypothyroidism for many patients and had remarkable results. Most patients respond very quickly with acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedy treatment. A blood test from a patient receiving Dr. Liang’s care will show an improvement in their levels in 2 to 4 months. When the treatment continues, patient eventually can taper off the medication that their doctor(s) have prescribed and maintain normal thyroid function with a much improved quality of life.
If you have hypothyroidism and do not want to take synthetic medicine for the rest of your life, Chinese medicine could be your best choice. It may take a few months to one year to see optimal results. However, once your condition starts to improve, you are on the path of healing and will remain in a healthy condition. It is your choice to stay in a healthy condition and it is Dr. Liang’s job to assist you to get there.
According to Traditional Chinese medicine, hyperthyroidism is due to liver Qi depression. This leads to liver fire that can cause serious elevations in heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. The fire will make a person overeat but rapidly loss weight.
Dr. Liang recommends that patients immediately take conventional medicine that their doctor/endocrinologist prescribes to treat hyperthyroidism after they have been diagnosed. However, Dr. Liang will then prescribe Chinese medicine including acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs will help detoxify the liver and reduce the fire, balance and support the body, and reduce the side effect that are caused by the conventional drugs (including liver damage and immune system damage). Combining both western and Chinese medicine is the most efficient and safe way to treat hyperthyroidism.
Dr. Liang does not recommend radiation treatment to destroy the thyroid gland first because once the thyroid gland is destroyed by the radiation, the thyroid’s function will be lost forever. Dr. Liang further recommends that you carefully consult with an endocrinologist about the treatment plan. She will be very happy to help and support you through the conventional drug therapy for hyperthyroidism.
Food- For hypothyroidism
Sea vegetables such as kelp and sea weed are good source of iodine which is important to keep the thyroid function normal. Foods that contain omega 3 fatty acids including walnuts, flaxseeds and fatty fish like sardine and salmon help produce thyroid hormone, Brazil nuts are an excellent source of selenium which can help with thyroid hormone production. String bean is very beneficial for thyroid gland.
Food- Not for hypothyroidism
Soy products has an estrogen effect. Soy may increase levels of estrogen which can interfere with the production of thyroid hormone. But once a week to take fermented food like tempeh is considered OK.
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peaches, strawberries, peanut, radishes, spinach, and millet are considered goitrogenic food, meaning they can low the production of thyroid hormone by reducing the amount of iodine in the body. But after cook them – heat destroy the goitrogen or eat small amount can avoid this impact.
Caffeine can affect absorption of thyroid medicine, please wait an hour after taking any thyroid medication before drinking coffee or tea.
Vitamins and Minerals
For hyperthyroidism, take copper 6mg to 8 mg a day helps limit thyroid hormone.
For hypothyroidism, take selenium 200mcg to 3oomcg a day to help the thyroid hormone production, Vitamin A 2500IU to 5000IU a day , D3 2000IU to 5000IU a day, B – vitamin complex 50 a day help manufacture the thyroid hormone.
Regular aerobic exercise and weight training can burn off excessive adrenal hormone and keep the thyroid hormone produce normally. But do not overdo which means more than one hour, five days a week, it can over stress the adrenal gland to produce too much cortisol hormone that can slow down the thyroid hormone production. Some experts think yoga poses can stimulate thyroid gland and increase thyroid hormone circulation and production such as Shoulder stand, camel, fish and bridge.
Reduce Mental Stress
Meditation, yoga or 30 minutes quick walking exercise every day is the best way to reduce mental stress, Make sure you can sleep 6 to 7 hours at night to keep the stress hormone in check. The best sleep time is from 10 :30PM to 6 AM , According to TCM, from 11PM to 3 AM is the liver and gall bladder time which is the most critical time to sleep out the stress and let the Qi and blood recovery. So please try to avoid or limit “night life” or do not overwork through the night.
Heavy metals such as lead and mercury, and environmental toxins-chemicals we use daily , pesticides contain in food, and pollutants in air and water-can interfere with thyroid hormone production. A two weeks liver detoxification therapy with Chinese medicine at least 3 times a year is recommended to clean out your system. Heavy metal and other toxin also can be sweat out in a sauna, or steam bath a few times per week. Started with 10 minutes per session, and increase by 5 minutes more each session up to 30 minutes per session. You can also take a hot bath with 2 cups of Epsom salt to help draw impurities out of the body.
When it comes to sweating, I personally like to do aerobic exercise like cardio-gym, kickboxing or boots-camp, those one hour exercise will make me soaking sweat and make the muscles, joints and ligaments thoroughly worked out. Just have to make sure you take enough water when you do vigorous exercise like this.
If you have a thyroid disease or suspicious have one, I hope this article will give you the knowledge of thyroid disease and guide you to make a right decision from the treatment to lifestyle and dietary choice. I highly recommend you to use Traditional Chinese medicine to solve this problem and stay healthy. I will be here to help and assist you to get there.