Erin Van Veldhuizen, DC, DACNB, CCCN, CCTT specializes in treating the symptoms of fatigue and thyroid dysfunction. However, sometimes it’s helpful to read a typical patient story to see exactly the types of issues our practice can treat. So here’s the story of Julie.
Julie first noticed she had a problem when she found herself waking up exhausted every day, despite getting a full night of sleep. No matter how much tea or coffee she drank, she could not shake the persistent feeling of fatigue that stayed with her throughout the day. Worried that something might be seriously wrong, she turned to the internet and, after a few Google searches, discovered that she had been experiencing a host of other symptoms that she didn’t realize were all connected.
Out of all her friends and coworkers, Julie was always the coldest person in the room; no matter what, she always wore a sweater or jacket, even in the summer. Her joints and muscles had also been bothering her, and her face was a bit puffier and a little paler than normal. Her nails and hair weren’t as strong as they used to be either, and she was really struggling to lose weight.
On their own, each of these symptoms could be explained away as having different causes, but together they painted the picture of one core health issue: hypothyroidism – a condition that occurs when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones, causing all of a person’s bodily functions to slow down.
Such a discovery, while troubling, wasn’t too surprising – both Julie’s grandmother and aunt had thyroid issues. To confirm her self-diagnosis, she scheduled an appointment to see a specialist; however, her lab results were normal. Julie continued to suffer and did not understand why she felt so bad. She did finally get put on thyroid medication to help her symptoms – and the meds helped her for a few months – but then all of her symptoms came flooding back. She went through an entire year of doctors changing her medications with no relief and the symptoms continued to get worse.
Julie finally received answers when she talked to Innovative Health and Wellness Group (IHWG). She did have hypothyroidism, just as she suspected, but it was caused by an even deeper medical condition: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (also known as Hashimoto’s disease).
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Julie found out, is an autoimmune disease that causes a person’s immune system to attack their thyroid cells and/or enzymes, resulting in a damaged, underactive thyroid. Thankfully, Julie hadn’t experienced any major thyroid attacks, which is why she thought she simply had hypothyroidism, but dealing with Hashimoto’s disease is a much bigger deal than just an underactive thyroid. If left untreated, Julie’s immune system would continue to attack the thyroid, meaning her symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, etc. would persist. But an untreated underactive thyroid can cause even worse problems, such as and high cholesterol, infertility, miscarriage, and even birth defects for pregnant women.
There are a variety of options Julie could take to treat her autoimmune disease, the most common of which is taking a thyroid replacement medication like Synthroid (also known as levothyroxine), which restores the proper amount of thyroid hormone to a person’s system and keeps those levels balanced. Unfortunately, the problem with using medication alone is that it is often a type of “Band-Aid solution.”
That’s not to say prescription medication cannot be effective – it can be extremely effective for some patients, and sometimes even necessary – but it shouldn’t be used exclusively without evaluating a person’s entire system for other causes or contributing factors. Otherwise, the medication is only able to place a mask on top of a more serious health condition that requires further care.
That is why IHWG is more than just a medical practice; it is a health and wellness practice. Their goal is to restore their patients back to full health. For example, the doctors would help a patient like Julie by addressing precisely where the immune system is breaking down educate her as to how to prevent future autoimmune attacks. They do this using a variety of supports, ranging from natural supplements to prescription medication.
Another option IHWG uses with their patients is a customized or compound method, which can help patients with thyroid disorders that might be reacting and creating immunological attack to common medications like Synthroid. They also offer specialized IV supports for patients who have autoimmune attacks, which can help the immune system reorganize instead of attacking the patient’s own tissues.
Innovative Health and Wellness Group have these different thyroid treatment options available to patients like Julia because she aims to restore health and to optimize the health that they do have so that they can live fuller, happier lives. That’s what makes IHWG different from other medical offices. Most doctors are happy with simply masking symptoms and making numbers look better. IHWG wants to actually find the problem, solve the problem, and be as corrective as possible.