Author Archives: Mary Shomon

Mary Shomon is a patient advocate and New York Times bestselling author of 13 books on health. Mary has been researching, writing and teaching about thyroid disease, hormonal health, weight loss, and autoimmune disease for two decades. In addition to her books, you can find her writing at www.Verywell.com and www.HealthCentral.com.

5 Thyroid Lies Your Endocrinologist May Try to Tell You

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It’s hard enough to be a thyroid patient without realizing that some doctors out there are very misinformed when it comes to thyroid disease. Endocrinologists, whose “specialization” is the endocrine system — which includes the thyroid gland — are sometimes the worst offenders in providing dubious information about your thyroid diagnosis and treatment. Get smart and discover the five lies that your endocrinologist may try to tell you. 1. “Your TSH is Normal.” Integrative doctors consider the Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test to be only one of many tests to diagnose and manage thyroid disease. TSH, however, is considered the “gold standard” test by many endocrinologists. Too bad they don’t even agree on the cutoff points for the reference range for this test. Some endocrinologists consider any number within the reference range (it’s around .40 to 4.0 at many US labs) “normal,” and others feel that TSH must be as high […]

7 Ways You Can Improve Your Immune System

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Originally Posted April 2016Updated March 2020 Having a healthy immune system translates into better protection from disease and an overall sense of well-being. Our immune system requires ongoing maintenance to function properly. A weakened immune system can open the way to various illnesses and infections. It can contribute to poor sleep, depression, excessive muscle pain, slow-healing wounds, fitness limitations, and a general feeling of fatigue and lethargy. What can you do to actively support a healthy immune system? Read on for ways you can improve your immune system! 1. Keep a Healthy Diet Processed foods including refined grains, sugar, excessive alcohol and fast food will always determine a weak immune system, because they don’t provide the nutrients for health and cause a high level of toxicity and inflammation in the body. Keep it simple by choosing to cook from scratch, as much as possible, with high quality, whole ingredients like organic protein, fat and […]

Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight

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Originally Posted September 2016Updated January 2020 Food is indeed a powerful medicine. You’re ingesting it a few times a day. It contains numerous nutrients, which our body processes and uses as fuel.  It has the power to heal, but also to sicken you if it’s not right for your unique metabolism, or it’s processed and toxic. How to Eat Healthy There are some basic rules you can implement to aim for healthier eating habits and a healthy weight. Oils and Fats Dietary fat is not a major determinant of body fat. Foods rich in fat (the right type of fat!) will help you feel satiated, and they won’t trigger the insulin high and crash that most processed carbs (like bakery goods and breads) do. Without insulin highs and lows, your blood sugar will be more stable and your body can access the fuel it’s storing in your fat cells. Consuming healthy fats instead of […]

Jump Start Weight Loss with These Tips

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Originally Posted April 2016Updated January 2020 Many people struggle with weight loss because they do not recognize or are unaware of the factors working against them. Pseudoscientific therapies, physiological stressors, and bodily dysfunction are just some of the most common barriers to weight loss. Fortunately, it may be possible to overcome these troubles by learning more about them and taking the appropriate steps to avoid or resolve them. In this article we will touch on a handful of weight-influencing factors that if improved, can notably boost your weight loss efforts. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Therapy Most miracle therapies that claim to provide quick and easy weight loss are shams. However, there are some approaches that have a well-documented history of success and safety. One example being Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) therapy.  For over 60 years hCG has been safely used to enhance and accelerate weight loss. HCG is a naturally occurring hormone […]

Is it Mental Illness or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

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Originally Posted November 2019Updated September 2019 Imagine having all the symptoms of a major mental illness such as manic depression, paranoid schizophrenia, psychotic depression, or even a bipolar disorder. One day you wake up with overflowing physical energy, even feeling severely anxious, with a rapid heartbeat, profuse sweating, trembling hands, and diarrhea, and you can’t stop losing weight. Then soon enough, without warning, your energy plummets. You feel like a slug, are constipated, your hair starts falling out, you gain weight no matter how little you eat, and you are severely depressed. You may have difficulty swallowing, sound hoarse, and feel like you have swallowed something that wont go down. And then, suddenly, your old symptoms return, and you feel anxious, sweaty, trembling, and panicky. This cycle can repeat itself again and again. While your symptoms resemble a mental health issue, they could be signs of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, one cause […]

What You Don’t Know About Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

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Originally Posted August 2016Updated September 2019 The reality is that without knowing what’s truly going on in your body and what are the real causes behind your symptoms, you risk undergoing the wrong health approach. An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Up to 60 percent of these people are unaware of their condition. One in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime. So it makes sense to shed some light into the matter and start with the basics. Learn more about hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s here. What Are The Symptoms Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis? It’s possible to have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis for years without experiencing a single symptom. But there are hallmark signs and symptoms and it’s important that you know what they are, because the sooner you recognize the symptoms, the sooner you can receive effective treatment. Every patient’s experience with the disorder is different. You might have preponderantly skin issues and hair loss, […]

5 Crucial Issues Many Fibromyalgia Patients Face

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Originally Posted May 2014Updated June 2019 As part of the awareness effort, it’s important to know the various criteria, including assessment of pain levels. But the changing way the pain of fibromyalgia is assessed/diagnosed is just a part of the challenges that frustrate fibromyalgia sufferers. There are actually five crucial issues that frustrate many fibromyalgia patients. 1. The Myth That Fibromyalgia is a “Somatoform Disorder” — aka, “All In Your Head” One of the key challenges fibromyalgia sufferers face is the pervasive myth among the media, some medical professionals, and some friends and family that fibromyalgia is not a “real” disease, and is instead a “somatoform disorder,” — medicalspeak for “all in your head” or psychosomatic. When some doctors assume that fibromyalgia symptoms are evidence of some sort of mental health issue, or they are ill-informed about the symptoms and diagnostic criteria, patients face an uphill battle. Without agreement among […]

Understanding Fibromyalgia: The Invisible Disorder

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Originally Posted May 2013Updated June 2019 For patients with severe symptoms, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome can be extremely debilitating and can interfere with the basic activities of daily life, even bringing psychological distress and social isolation. A Relatively New Diagnosis Fibromyalgia is not a new syndrome, but it is surprisingly not well recognized in medical practice, even though it is the most common cause of chronic musculoskeletal pain. Fibromyalgia first began to be recognized in 1990, when the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) created a set of diagnostic criteria for the disorder. According to these criteria, patients just have (1) widespread pain for at least three months in three quadrants of the body, and (2) abnormal sensitivity to light pressure in at least 11 of 18 specific tender/trigger points. People affected by fibromyalgia may not even realize they have tender/trigger points until someone familiar with the condition applies pressure […]

Is Lyme Disease is on The West Coast? The Answer to This and Other Lyme Myths

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Originally Posted April 2015Updated May 2019 Due to the numerous misconceptions surrounding Lyme disease, it can be difficult to know what is true and what is not. The misconceptions and falsehoods surrounding this disease range from its prevalence to its diagnosis and treatment. In order to better understand the truth about Lyme disease, it’s important first to have an understanding of what exactly the disease is. What is Lyme Disease? Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the spirochete (spiral-shaped bacteria) Borrelia burgdorferi. It is transmitted through the bite of an infected tick; however, some recent studies have shown that it may also be transmitted by mosquitoes. The carriers of the bacteria are the deer ticks, also known as the black-legged tick and the western black-legged ticks. The disease affects multiple areas of the body and is known as “The Great Imitator” because it mimics various other diseases such […]

What to Look for in a LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor)

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Originally Posted October 2014Updated May 2019 It’s possible you may not know you have Lyme disease because the typical diagnosis is a “bulls eye” rash — a red rash with another ring of red around it. Many people don’t remember being bit by a tick or ever getting such a rash. If you don’t have or remember the rash, don’t discount the fact that you could have Lyme disease. If you search the acronym on the Internet, you won’t see very many doctors listed, but rather a list of referral sites. These sites can be a good tool to find a doctor, but you must remember to do your own research as well. To make that process a little easier for you, we’ve listed some top things to look for in a LLMD. What are the Doctor’s Qualifications? That seems pretty easy, right? Well, yes and no. You’re still going […]

Lyme Disease: Winter is Here – Is the Threat Gone?

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Myth Busting: Winter and Lyme Disease You may have heard from physicians, government agencies, or other misinformed people that Lyme disease cannot be contracted in the winter. However, cases of winter Lyme have been recorded in at least 11 states, with Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania having the highest numbers. An average deer tick has a lifespan of two years and can survive even in cold climates. The Ixodes dammini tick, a type responsible for a large portion of Lyme disease cases, is known to still be active on winter days, particularly warmer ones. If this is all true, then where did this myth come from? Well, the rate of infection does go down overall in the winter. This is due to a few factors, such as the stage of the tick and people wearing more clothing outdoors. Ticks generally bite in their nymphal stage, which is less common in winter. […]

Bust Holiday Stress With These 5 Clinically Proven Strategies

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It’s probably not realistic to think we can eliminate all of our holiday stress. After all, things like family gatherings, traffic and crowds, and missing loved ones who are no longer with us are pretty much par for the course. The next best thing we can do is integrate stress-relieving techniques into our daily routine in order to minimize the negative effects of stress on mind and body. Don’t let stress outweigh the enjoyment of this special time of joy and celebration! Repercussions of Unchecked Stress According to the American Institute of Stress, just about every system and part of the body is negatively affected by stress including the nervous system, musculoskeletal system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, gastrointestinal system, and reproductive system. Here are just a few of the conditions that have been linked with stress: Depression and anxiety Heart attack and stroke High blood pressure Immune system disturbances Cancer […]