Epilepsy Talk

Your Thyroid…What Everyone with Epilepsy Should Know… | September 28, 2018

Touch your neck, right above your collarbone, and you’ll find a little gland called your thyroid.  It only weighs an ounce, yet this thyroid’s hormones control your metabolism.

When those hormones are balanced, everything is fine.

But if your thyroid makes just a little less or more than you need…it could cause havoc, both with how you function and the effectiveness of your AEDs.

Hypothyroidism – or an underactive thyroid – is the real baddy.  It can result in fatigue, weight gain, constipation, fuzzy thinking, low blood pressure, fluid retention, depression, body pain, slow reflexes, and much more.

On the other hand, hyperthyroidism – an overactive thyroid — can result in a rapid metabolism and symptoms like: anxiety, insomnia, rapid weight loss, diarrhea, high heart rate, high blood pressure, eye sensitivity/bulging eyes, vision disturbances, and many other concerns.

Although any kind of hormone irregularity is cause for concern, endocrinologists, generally consider hypothyroidism the worse of the two.

Which leads us to the bad news…

In a new study, when researchers at the American Academy of Neurology called for hormone testing…

The team found that about 32% of epilepsy patients who were taking anti-epileptic drugs (both in mono or polytherapy) had thyroid hormone abnormalities.

The most relevant finding was in patients who were taking Depakote (Valproate) as a  monotherapy.

Previous studied had shown that Depakote increased the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormones which, in turn, can lead to hyperthyroidism.

However, when recent research compared anti-epileptic drugs, they found that the following drugs actually encouraged hypothyroidism.  (The no-no.)

These drugs were:

Depakote — Valproate (61.5% greater incidence of hypothyroidism)

Tegretol — Carbamaepine (47.9% greater incidence of hypothyroidism)

Dilantin — Phenytoin (17% greater incidence of hypothyroidism)

Although both thyroid irregularities can be successfully treated, you have to know they exist, in order to alter the situation.

If you have hypothyroidism, researchers suggest large doses of selenium — a common over-the-counter supplement — to bring your thyroid levels back up. You can probably get enough selenium by taking a good multi-vitamin and mineral product.  Just make sure you’re getting 200 mcg per day of selenium.

Hyperthyroidism is relatively rare and can be treated successfully with anti-thyroid drugs, prescribed by your doctor.

However, the bottom line is that thyroid illness is more common than you think.

That’s why we need to be pro-active about thyroid testing.

When you go to your internist, insist on running a full thyroid panel of T4, T3 and TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone).

Most docs will only test your TSH and tell you everything is ducky if you don’t spell out the full panel requested.

(Believe me, I speak from experience.)

Also, please take the initiative to ask for your results and check them against the norms, before you decide to take any action.

If you think you do have hypothyroidism, it’s as easy as taking selenium or a thyroid supplement.

And if your testing shows you to have hyperthyroidism, it’s just a matter of taking an anti-thyroid medication.  And in a little time, it will probably “fix” itself.

But make sure of your results first!

Your thyroid might be the last thing on your mind. But please, if you’re on any kind of AED, ask your doctor to run a full thyroid test panel once a year.

It could make a world of difference in how you feel.

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Resources:

http://www.netwellness.org/healthtopics/thyroid/thyroidtreatment.cfm

http://thyroid.about.com/od/symptomsrisks/a/symptomsrisks.htm

http://www.womentowomen.com/hypothyroidism/thyroidandmenopause.aspx#factors

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4966235/

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/720736

https://www.empr.com/news/for-patients-on-aeds-clinicians-should-pay-attention-to-thyroid-function/article/481824/

 


11 Comments »

  1. I do not know what percent of IODINE really needs to be at for good brain health. I know IODINE is important to have for a strong immune system, and the thyroid helps to do that. The THYMUS gland to also activates different energies or lack there of, based on the lack or great amounts the IODINE levels are in the body. Anyone can tap the THYMUS gland which is that little hump in the upper chest below the throat area. IODINE has been a mineral where it is getting depleted from the uses of all drugs & radiated foods from all RED meats in our diets among other foods where we now have people than ever living with weak immune systems, plus the facts that flu shots & other drugs & foods that FDA & USDA approves to be safe, are from from it, & we keep on having worse health for it all. So I say study on how much IODINE a healthy brain needs, compared to a brain which seems to be immune to have seizures of any kind, based from how lack of IODINE may be a real reason / root cause among few or many more why a seizure happens. MSG & ASPARTAME abundances can & do affect all brain health & much more. http://www.msgnews.com has a story how MSG affects the liver. The brain can be affected by an unhealthy liver.

    Like

    Comment by CD — September 28, 2018 @ 1:43 PM

  2. I use Prolamine Iodine supplement for my hypothyroidism. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in 7th grade, it was by accident when I went to see a Pediatric Endocrinologist and Nephrologist up at Mayo Clinic. I was there getting my kidney disorder (Nephrotic Syndrome) in control at the time, as I was at risk of being on dialysis for life or ,God-forbid, I had the possibility of not even being alive. It’s been in remission since. I take it once a day like you would Synthroid.

    Like

    Comment by trekkie80sgirl — September 29, 2018 @ 7:01 PM

    • I’ve heard there are lots of alternatives to synthroid, such as a prescription thyroid medication that is derived from the dried thyroid gland of pigs.

      Glad you were diagnosed sooner rather than later!

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 29, 2018 @ 8:26 PM

      • Standard Process Prolamine Iodine has Calcium Lactate, Magnesium Citrate, Cellulose, Prolamine Iodine (Zein), and Calcium Sterate. I don’t really know what Zein is, but they are all organic and gluten-free.

        Like

        Comment by trekkie80sgirl — September 30, 2018 @ 1:50 PM

      • Thanks so much.

        You’re always such a good resource!

        Like

        Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 30, 2018 @ 1:59 PM

  3. Thanks Phyllis for the Info! Makes me even More Thankful that I’m not taking either of those medications anymore!

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by David Jensen — September 30, 2018 @ 11:38 AM

  4. Well, that’s good news.

    What’s the secret to your success?

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 30, 2018 @ 11:45 AM

  5. Thank you Phyllis for the information. I’ve been having hypothyroidism for quite some time. I thought it was stress related, I never thought my tegertol played a part in it. Sadly, it’s the only thing that keeps me seizure free.

    Like

    Comment by Natalie — October 2, 2018 @ 10:55 PM


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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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