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    Old 10-21-2008, 11:27 AM   #1
    osteoblast
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    The Crazy Old Woman Thing-Myth and/or Reality

    As I wade through the effects of hashimoto's and menopause and reflect on how I have changed and how hard it has been to get medical treatment to feel better. I am beginning to wonder about the so called myth of the Crazy Old Woman. The kind of angry , cranky, bats in the belfry type that you can find in literature and is just part of our cultural landscape.
    I am beginning to think that there was some reality to this myth and that a lot of these women may have been coping as best they could with untreated hypothyroid and estrogen deficiency in menopause. Even with medical treatment it has been a trip for me to cope with hypothyroid and menopause and try to get levels balanced out and right. And, when I occassionally hit the"sweet spot" things go so much better. With hashi's it is hard to hit the sweet spot because of the erratic nature of how the destruction of the thryoid proceeds.
    But, I am betting some of you out there could relate to this topic. It sort of hit me as I learned the local "crazy" woman (approx. 60 yr. old female)who is very erratic- has hashi's and --I thought well that makes sense, I think I can understand her a bit better now.And my brother recently told me about the angry old lady who lives next door to him. I said how old-he said prob. in her mid 50's. This kind of brought home to me that the crazy old woman thing may have some reality to it...maybe alot of this is older women coping as best they can through a double whammy of hypothyroid and menopause.
    To balance this out, I have to say I also know several women who are negotiating the meno and hypo just fine to all appearances. I have to say though, I haven't asked them if they are doing hrt --it seems a bit invasive to ask. It came out they had hypo when I told them my diagnosis.
    Any thoughts???

    Last edited by osteoblast; 10-21-2008 at 11:34 AM.

     
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    Old 10-21-2008, 04:08 PM   #2
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    Re: The Crazy Old Woman Thing-Myth and/or Reality

    Before my sister and I were both diagnosed with hypothyroidism we were going thru all the symptoms at the same time. She was diagnosed a year before me. We both were CONVINCE that we were losing our minds due to menopause even though we both had actually already breezed through that.

    Our paternal grandmother was one of 8 daughters and I reminded my sister how our grandmother used to tell us about how her sister our great aunt had lost her mind. She'd say "ya know Aunt Carrie lost her mind..............."

    We were afraid we were like her. Now, we both believe poor aunt Carrie really had an undiagnosed thyroid problem that drove her batty. Aunt Carrie supposedly lost her mind back in the mid 1950's. We'll never know for sure, she passed away in the early 70's.

    As far as the crankiness etc. yes I was crabby, grouchy, and everything else. Even after treatment. Finally, about 8 months ago I got on Lexapro at the insistence of my doctor and believe me it has made me feel like my old self again. It has leveled me out where I need to be emotionally and mentally.

     
    Old 10-21-2008, 08:38 PM   #3
    osteoblast
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    Re: The Crazy Old Woman Thing-Myth and/or Reality

    Barbara Ann- That is so sad about your Aunt Carrie. Your story sounds like mine though with being sort of ok with meno and then hypo added in and it is just too much. I cannot take an ssri I have osteoporosis and research has shown increased rate of fracture with ssri's. I valiantly tried to feel better with thyroid treatment , diet and exercise as well as meditation. But, have now started hrt and hope that helps. For really stressful events like thyroid biopsy I had to have a benzo. I have found clonazepam really can calm me down but it is not for a daily thing. Glad to hear though that lexapro worked for you.

     
    Old 10-22-2008, 06:23 AM   #4
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    Re: The Crazy Old Woman Thing-Myth and/or Reality

    Remember some past research findings of mine. It is a definite YES that hypothyroidism can cause mental effects. It is also a documented fact that 12.6 % of a 17700 patient study had Hashimoto's antibodies. Now that is 5 in every 40 people. We know that thyroid issues like hashimoto's are hereditary and you will see clumping as a result. Now this is just Hashimoto's NOT hypothyroid only patients. NOW I will ask you to do a mental exercise. Think of all your friends and the people you know... how many have been tested and know what state their thyroid is in? But back to the point. Crazy ladies. I am 33 and I go a bit bonkers on occasion too! My son, six, considers me OLD too! My mother's mother suffered from early onset maternal dementia. Was it truely dementia? Or was in untreated hypothyroidism. I will never know. We did get some of her later round blood work and medical records for a year prior to her passing. She had a TSH of 4.6, Range on the labs was an upper limit of 10. No one tested antibodies or Fts. I can only wonder if some of her suffering could have been eliminated. I was just entering college and was clueless. Hindsight is 20:20.

    I was asked how being hypothyroid... even mildly hypothyroid.. effects cerebral blood flow, and cognitive function brain, many weeks ago. This is PORTION of what I dug up and posted in my week 3 - thyroid care and concerns thread.

    Reference: Regional Cerebral Blood Flow in Patients with Mild Hypothyroidism, Journal of Nuclear Medicine Vol. 45 No. 10 1712-1715.

    This is a more recent study that appears to be quite thorough and took time to validate everything. The MDs and Ph.Ds in this study actually look at blood flow and brain function in comparison with a group of normal thyroid functioning patients, a group of untreated hypothyroid patients followed with evaluation of the same hypothyroid patients after receiving a course of thyroid supplementation to return them to a euthyroid state.

    What does this study prove? It shows a lot. When comparing the untreated mild hypothyroid patients with the normal control patients, the rCBF (regional cerebral blood flow) was lower in the hypothyroid patient's:
    1) right parietooccipital gyri
    2) cuneus
    3) posterior cingulate
    4) lingual gyrus
    5) fusiform
    6) insula
    7) pre- and postcentral gyri.

    When evaluating the same hypothyroid patients after treatment, perfusion did not normalize on a return to the euthyroid state. Perfusion is just a medical term that refers to fluid flow.. in the case of the brain.. blood flow. So hypothyroid flow restriction did not normalize immediately after recieving treatment. The only question I have about this finding is.. were the hypothyroid patients treated optimally or just gotten into “normal” range. We all know that magic "normal", right?

    So since "how normal" was not disclosed in this study, I am leaving a generous amount of room to doubt the finding that hypothyroid patients will not regain lost mental function. I believe it does take time and we as patients need to exercise our mind to ensure the quickest return to our NORMAL mental state.

    What the study does conclude is simple, decreased rCBF happens and affects even subacute hypothyroid patients. Hypothyroid patients with decreased rCBF in the above listed regions can have extensive cognitive effects, but that doesn't mean our MDs are allowed to treat us like idiots. The above regions, with out drawing a diagram and verbally telling quadrants and such, can be better explained through their affects. These systems work together and when deprived of sufficient cerebral fluid flow thes region's are depressed as a result of being starved, just like the rest of our body in a hypothyroid state. How does rCBF starvation affect us?

    Well one's the first thing to go seems to be the ability in mediating attention.. or focus and determination to follow points of thought and tasks to completion.

    Our neural response to react or motor speed becomes depressed and the result is an overall slower reaction time and delay in more severe cases to move and act in response to a thought command.

    The memory.. where was I.. oh yeah! Humm the ability to retrieve stored events is depressed and inhibited because we have fewer student workers trolling the shelves and archives to retrieve that thought and only the blondes are left.. I am blonde so I will slide in a bash every now and again, especially on days I catch myself running in circles.

    Last but not least, visuospatial processing. Huh? What is that? Basically hand eye body cordination, so you begin to have more issues with clumsiness as hypoT deterioration continues.

    The memory and attention paths reduced are the same ones affected in Alzheimer's and ADD. I am looking to see if there are studies using ADD and Alzheimer's medications for these issues and if they show significant improvement, or if the effect is the result of a different pathway issue. There have been cases of older hypothyroid patients being misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's who upon recieving treatment were able to return to a significant portion of their previous life capacity.

    Finally the information in this study was not long term. So they need... or someone needs to perform follow-up studies to determine the longer-term persistence of the abnormalities hypothyroidism after OPTIMAL treatment for an extended periods of time. Many can tell you it can take months to years for your body to slowly repair and come back on line after under-treated/untreated hypothyroidism for any significant duration.

    On a similar note: Brain SPECT study of common ground between hypothyroidism and depression, The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology (2007), 10: 99-106;
    Is another important study that showed, you can treat depression in patients with medication effectively. However, in hypothyroid induced depression, anti-depressants had no significant effect and in some cases added issues. The resultant hypothyroid induced depression is assumed to be mediated by neurocircuitry different from that of major depression. So it may go back to the low rCBF as well. Thus to treat and eliminate depression in a thyroid patient, the hypothyroid state should be alleviated first before going to anti-depressants. How many of us have had the MD more willing to treat our depression than our hypothyroidism? Hummm?

    Reference: Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, Volume 39 Issue 3 Page 228-230, March 1999
    Now I do not want to leave out the hyperT's because they suffer as well. The most common neurological issue is headache and visual anomalies. In many cases studies are finding a strong link between migraines and increased intracranial pressure. One target study of a Graves' disease patient (32 yrs old) showed a high CSF (cerebral spinal fluid) pressure with enlarged ventricles. The cause was determined to be hyperthyroidism. When the hyperthyroid state was corrected there was a rapid correction of symptoms. Intracranial hypertension, visual anomalies, and migraines are something to be looked for in hyperthyroid patients. In particular look at the condition, psuedotumor cerebri.

    Now imagine what is going on if you flux between hyperthyroid and hypothyroid states.. such a pain.

    Just thought I would bring out some old info for the newer members. Maybe there is an excuse for the PMSing female and Crazy Old Lady and that excuse could be thyroid/adrenal imbalance. Now is there and excuse for males lying on the coach with their hands in their pants scratching a perceived itch? Hummm... I can not think of one. I am certain it is not due to genetic dysfunction... unless we are talking dry skin.

    MG
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    Old 10-22-2008, 11:29 AM   #5
    osteoblast
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    Re: The Crazy Old Woman Thing-Myth and/or Reality

    Thanks MG-for going to the research documents once again.
    I hope too as MG said that the research study showing no difference in brain blood flow between untreated and treated hypo people would in fact show a different result if OPTIMAL TREATMENT was given ( as she said we don't know to what level they were treated) and whether LENGTH OF TIME being treated would change the result--that is, more extended treatment period would show improvement in brain blood flow.
    What can we do so we do not become the crazy old lady ????
    First, get optimal treatment
    Second, work with other factors affecting brain blood flow...
    What are these other factors.
    Exercise-----
    I have heard exercise works for increased brain blood flow. It seems though that I have read that too intense exercise will push blood to extremities and that for example a brisk walk is better for increasing brain blood flow.
    What other ways can we seek to improve blood flow to the brain?

    Last edited by osteoblast; 10-22-2008 at 11:31 AM.

     
    Old 10-23-2008, 09:40 AM   #6
    Barbara_Ann
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    Re: The Crazy Old Woman Thing-Myth and/or Reality

    Osteo........

    I try not to worry about that crazy old lady thing too much. Actually, I've always looked forward to getting old and people just having to "put up with me". lol

    Also, I've told everyone at my pharmacy if they see me roaming around out in the intersection by their store wearing a little crocheted red hat with lint balls all over it, a tweed coat in 95 degree weather and combat boots - that will be a sure sign they need to call my doctor - who's number they have on file lol.

     
    Old 10-23-2008, 09:53 AM   #7
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    Re: The Crazy Old Woman Thing-Myth and/or Reality

    Quote:
    How many of us have had the MD more willing to treat our depression than our hypothyroidism? Hmmm

    Yes MG,
    I so agree with your quote!!!
    My first primary care Dr. whom I knew for many healthy years( daughters played sports together too) just kept telling me it was " my head", put me on high doses of antidepressants - which did NOT work!!! Literally broke my heart, and my sanity, and my belief in modern medicine-
    AND I am a healthcare worker!

     
    Old 10-23-2008, 10:31 AM   #8
    osteoblast
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    Re: The Crazy Old Woman Thing-Myth and/or Reality

    Barbara Ann-Now that is a pretty vivid picture of crazy old lady!At least you have put out a warning and will get help if it comes to you in the intersection!
    Tired-Yes, that is a bummer. When you relied on your doctor and he took the easy way out(for him) by scripting the anti-depressants. I completely understand your loss of faith in the modern medical system.You did see MG's description above-- about the study that showed hypothyroid induced depression did not improve with anti-depressants and in some cases got worse.
    I think we need proper thyroid treatment by correct dosing. And, then need to do all the common sense things for health that most drs. don't even inquire about . And, perhaps we with hypothyroid even more than others need to be very serious about our exercise programs. And finally, as they learn more about meditation and how it helps the brain , maybe this would be helpful for us with hypothyroid brain effects.
    MG-if you read this would you take a quick look at the research on meditation and brain function and see if you think there really is something there that could help those of us who are feeling "brain fatigued" "brain fog" or whatever you want to call it as a result of thyroid issues. Yesterday I took a brief look at research about meditation and was surprised with what I found. I would love to hear your take on this as a possible avenue to help with brain function.

    Last edited by osteoblast; 10-23-2008 at 10:43 AM.

     
    Old 10-23-2008, 11:08 AM   #9
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    Re: The Crazy Old Woman Thing-Myth and/or Reality

    Noted your request. I will put it on my to do list. Dang that thing si getting long again and I have to clean my house. Laptop wins.

    MG

    Without doing research I know from my martial arts experience that meditation effects breathing the most. By breathing you increase oxygenation of your system and improve your quality of circulation. Even mild O2 deprivation can cause brain fog. Then if you take into account the fact most Americans are dehydrated and just drinking water instead of Sodas and other drinks you can improve cognitive abilities 5-10%....

    So I do think we are too sedentary and have acquired bad dietary habits as a whole. It can not hurt to get up and move more and make sure you drink 32-48 ounces of water versus soda a day. It may actually make you feel better.
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    Last edited by mkgb; 10-23-2008 at 11:13 AM.

     
    Old 10-23-2008, 11:55 AM   #10
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    Re: The Crazy Old Woman Thing-Myth and/or Reality

    Thanks MG for putting the meditation research and brain function on your to do list.
    I will be so interested to see how you synthesize the current research out there. I read about meditation changing brain structure in certain areas which would be of benefit to cognitive abilities. Now that they have better research tools it seems that the researchers are really looking at meditation very seriously.
    And, thanks for your observations from your martial arts experience (that is very cool). What martial arts do you practice? I have done some tai chi and love what it does for me.
    Your comments about breathing and oxygenation are probably very critical. I know they say "change the breathing and you change the mind"--the mind/body connection. Also it seems researchers think that there is something about putting our brain into a different mode--not attaching to thoughts and "just being" that causes some re-structuring.
    Your comments about sedentary life style and de-hydration are also well taken.
    Are you thinking 10-15% with just proper hydration or hydration combined with exercise??
    OK--so that brings me to my next request--I am shameless in this quest for re-gaining my brain after what I think was probably untreated hypo of quite some years duration. What about exercise and brain function research --could you add this to the to do list. I think this area is more established than the research on meditiation. But just wondering if you might add this as well to the list. You are an incredible researcher/synthesizer and it is so helpful to us. TIA
    Now I need to get up off my behind and get on the treadmill---start oxygenating the brain!

    Last edited by osteoblast; 10-23-2008 at 11:57 AM.

     
    Old 10-23-2008, 02:31 PM   #11
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    Re: The Crazy Old Woman Thing-Myth and/or Reality

    This is so true. I really believe a lot of mental health issues are thyroid related. Last year in the Fall when I first started having a bad hyper swing of Hashi's I thought I heard my Mom calling my name. My DH thought I had really gone off the deep end, and in fact I became rather worried about myself also.

    When I got antibody levels they were sky high.

    Mattie

     
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