When Normal Isn’t

An article in the Washington Post a couple years ago (see library, Mountjoy) reports on studies from two different groups, one in the UK and one in the US, about the relationship between fibromyalgia and thyroid, coming up with kind of a different definition of fibromyalgia:  patients who have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism with normal levels of thyroid on TSH tests have fibro.  Essentially, they are saying that people who have fibromyalgia symptoms (which usually mirror low thyroid symptoms), should be treated with thyroid replacement therapy even if their thyroid levels are normal.  Fibromyalgia is caused by “inadequate thyroid hormone regulation,” apparently.

While the Washington Post article is from 2014, it looks like Dr. John Lowe’s research (Fibromyalgia Research Institute in the UK) has been ongoing since the late 1990s.  The other research the article cites comes from Dr. Elizabeth Vliet from All Saints Hospital in Fort Worth, TX.  Dr. Vliet has written several books related to this topic and some articles, most from around the turn of the century (although I need to look further).

This theory is one I admit I’m partial to, but it does raise a few questions.  First, what is the root cause for inadequate thyroid hormone regulation?  Is it possible that it’s more than thyroid that creates the fibromyalgia storm?  Could different hormones (and the inadequate regulation thereof) be the cause for different symptoms, especially since there has been plenty of evidence that there are multiple chemicals/hormones, etc, that are deficient in fibro patients?  I’ll read a bit more of Dr. Lowe’s research and find more about Dr. Vliet’s and see what I can figure out.

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