Are You Treating The Cause, Or Only The Symptoms?

Are You Treating The Cause, Or Only The Symptoms?

I need to be honest with you, I hate prescription medications.  I realize that some serve a purpose and are actually helping to keep people alive and keep certain pieces of their body functioning, but there are so many out there which are only treating the symptoms of disease and not even addressing the cause.  These are the ones I hate.  It makes me angry that doctors will take five minutes to give a patient the “one-over” and then be quick to prescribe them whatever they are used to using in their arsenal of drugs.  In doing so, they won’t even touch on their patient’s lifestyle habits and what they can do to improve how they treat their bodies to help.  What irks me even more is when your doctor looks more sick than you do, but that’s another topic.

Let’s face it, our health system needs help.  Doctors and nurses get overworked and overbooked, and patients aren’t cared for like human beings as much as they are charts and numbers.  Sometimes you have to wait months just to see a doctor who specializes in your disease, and then you get five minutes with them!  I can’t even remember any appointment in recent history that hasn’t felt rushed and/or my doctor hasn’t seem distracted or flustered (ok, I take that back… my gyno is very good, but that’s also another topic, heh).  I feel like I’m putting them out when I ask questions.  I want to feel like the person caring for me actually, well, CARES for me!  I would love for them to listen to me, to hear me, and not assume that I’m an ignorant oaf.

I’ve started doing a lot of reading since diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis to find out what things I can do to alleviate it, but it hasn’t been easy.  When you don’t have a medical degree it’s hard to understand all of the pieces of the puzzle that fit together to create the condition you have.  One thing for sure, however, is that there are a lot of diet alterations suggested to help with Hashimoto’s (in the same way that Celiacs cut gluten from their diet, there are trigger foods with many autoimmune diseases).  When I brought this up at my recent endocrinologist appointment, all I basically got was an eyeroll (well, not physically, but it felt like a brush off, for sure) and a prescription for a higher dose of medication (without even doing any bloodwork!).  So, what you are saying, doctor, is that as long as I take these meds I can live a great life on cola and cheesy poofs?  Well, then…

To be fair, he gave the usual calories-in/calories-out schpeel that is likely given to all people who are assumed ignorant, but I already understand that concept.  Fitness is my career, after all.

From chatting with others who have Hashimoto’s, and other autoimmune diseases, doing simply that doesn’t work because of the trigger foods and waivering thyroid levels (when you have this disease you can bounce back and forth between hypothyroid and hyperthyroid, apparently).  I’ve been reading that gluten can also affect Hashi’s patients (which, my general medicine doctor did recommend I read Wheat Belly so I think he’s more in tune than the “specialist”), as well as dairy, other grains, soy, etc.  I also recently started reading Clean Gut, and that book is touching on so many things that I believe about today’s medical field, and also offers nutrition suggestions for helping to treat disease and the actual cause.

I know there are a lot of people out there who think of Eastern medicine as something that only “hippies” and “quacks” do, but I would have to disagree.  There’s a lot to be said about wellness, how we feed our bodies, and how we care for our bodies, that can help treat and prevent illness and disease.  More and more every day we are hearing about how the way we’ve altered our food is making us get more sick, but people still line the drive-throughs for a quick and easy “meal.”

You don’t have to believe me right now, but at least think about it… start reading!  If you have a condition (autoimmune or not) there are likely lifestyle changes you can make to start feeling better and even combat what you have!  Whether that change is a change in nutrition, exercise, meditation, getting more adequate sleep, drinking enough water, cutting out stress, trying out some herbs, acupuncture, massage, or whatever!  You don’t have to believe in all of it, but some of it (especially the nutrition side) is worth a look!  There are so many side effects to autoimmune diseases that traditional doctors won’t even touch on or think patients are “making them up.”  Things like depression, body aches, brain fog, weakness, trouble sleeping, etc.  The list could go on and on!  But those things can be helped, I truly believe it.

Yes, I’ll still take the prescription thyroid medicine that my endocrinologist gave me, because I understand thyroid functionality (even though I’m not happy with the weight gain, *grumble*).  However, I’ve read stories of people combating Hashi’s using a combination of Eastern and Western medicine… and if there’s a way I can combat something naturally, I’m going to look into it!   The best of both worlds teaming up to win!

Right now I’m trying to find specialists in certain areas of Eastern medicine in the Chicago proper or Northern Chicago area who can help with Hashimoto’s and autoimmune diseases.  Before I rule something out, I want to learn more about it.  If you have an autoimmune or thyroid condition and are seeing someone who you love, please leave a comment below so that myself and others who are dealing with this can have suggestions of where to look next!  Let me know who they are, where they practice, and what they specialize in.

As I continue my journey I’ll share my experiences in healing my body!  Stay tuned!

For more info comparing Eastern vs. Western medicine, check out this Intent Blog.


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