Medical Mystery: Thyroid Resistance in Fibromyalgia
It's not uncommon for patients to have issues with their thyroid when they have fibromyalgia. But, while it's a common symptom, there are many physicians, doctors and patients who still do not understand it. Actually, many doctors refer to this connection as a "medical mystery."
The thyroid gland measures about 2 inches and is located at the base of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple or thyroid cartilage. Its primary role in the human body is to control and regulate the metabolism. Controlling how the human body uses energy to perform, the thyroid gland is vital to most bodily functions like body weight, muscle mass and strength, body basal temperature, and even cholesterol levels. In addition to these, it is also responsible for normal body functions such as menstrual cycles for women, heart and breathing rate, and the nervous system.
The thyroid gland releases 2 hormones, namely triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). T3 and T4 is supplied to every cell in the body through the bloodstream and must remain in balance for regular metabolism. T3 and T4 work together to regulate the metabolism and energy used in the body. Too much of these 2 hormones can result in hyperthyroidism or hypermetabolism, manifested by symptoms like mood swings, hyperactivity, anxiousness, shaky hands, rise in body temperature, baldness, and irregular menstrual periods.
On the other hand, an insufficient amount of T3 and T4 in the body results in hypothyroidism or hypometabolism and is diagnosed for symptoms like insomnia, fatigue and extreme weariness, skin dryness, loss of focus, depressive episodes, drop in body temperature, heavy menstrual flow, and muscle pains.
Also, among the other hormones and enzymes secreted by the thyroid gland are iodine and calcitonin.
Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, and Fibromyalgia
But what happens generally when the thyroid gland malfunctions? Specifically, how will the human body react when the thyroid resists doing its function?
Thyroid resistance, in simpler terms, is the decreased sensitivity of targeted body cells and tissues to the hormones secreted by the thyroid. This decreased responsiveness is largely because of the changes that occur on the thyroid hormone receptors of the body or from genetic mutations directly made or affected by drugs, toxins, and immune system antibodies. Shockingly, thyroid resistance is frequently manifested as symptoms of either as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
A study conducted by Dr. John Lowe revealed that fibromyalgia is most of the time mistaken and misdiagnosed for either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. There is an evidently high risk of misdiagnosis when it comes to thyroid resistance. It is important that the physician is largely familiar with fibromyalgia in order to identify the disorder despite its non-specific symptoms and manifestations.
Normally, laboratory tests that doctors require for their patients to undergo and are complaining about usual symptoms of either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism are simple thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) check. In order to correctly identify and properly diagnose thyroid hormone resistance, a full thyroid gland panel check must be conducted.
Read on to learn more about what doctors have dubbed as a "medical mystery."