Why I Love Running Comprehensive Labs
I saw a patient today at Acubalance who has me really excited about the comprehensive lab testing we do here! I wanted to share this story to let you know why.
This patient has been dealing with symptoms of low thyroid function for the past few years – hair falling out, dry skin, constipation, extreme fatigue and (most importantly in her eyes) abdominal weight gain that is extremely stubborn. In the past this patient was diagnosed with “low thyroid” and given support in the form of Synthroid, a synthetic thyroid hormone. She felt better for a few months, but when she came to see me a month ago, the symptoms had started to return.
We decided together that we wanted to dig further - sure her thyroid has been under-functioning. But why?
At our follow-up visit today, the patient and I went over her comprehensive lab testing results - we were able to diagnose her with Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, which had been missed by her doctors in the past. Her comprehensive hormone panel revealed that her estrogen dominant symptoms were actually the result of her progesterone levels being too low – she doesn’t have high estrogen, as we had suspected based on her symptoms, but we need to support her body’s production of progesterone to balance things out. Her 4-point adrenal cortisol test showed her levels of cortisol at four different times during the day as being low-normal, pointing to the glands beginning to fatigue and become burnt-out. And last, her high DHEA and testosterone levels suggest that she is in the beginning stages of insulin resistance – a source of stress for the body, especially impacting the adrenal glands and the thyroid.
The best part? She knew her body was “trying to tell [her] something” based on her symptom picture, but now we have a concrete answer as to why. We need to rebalance her body from the bottom up – starting with blood sugar balancing and digestive health, and eliminating gluten-containing grains. Balancing these things will quell the irritated immune system (reducing its attack on the thyroid gland), will support the adrenal glands and the thyroid (that get stressed by blood sugar swings) and will allow her body to produce more progesterone.
I can’t wait to see how much better she feels with these small tweaks to diet and lifestyle.
Dr. Kali MacIsaac HBSc, ND